The lily is perhaps the most diverse flower that exists. You will find lilies in different flower sizes, colors, from non-fragance (odorless) to (strong) fragance, single flowers and double flowers. All these different lilies can be divided into different types, such as: Asiatic, Oriental, Trumpet and Longiflorum. And then of course all crossbreedings. The similarity between all these different lily types are: they are all ´bulb flowers´. Wondering what the characteristics of the different lily types exactly are? You find the most common lily types below.
Asiatic lily: many different hard and clear colors. They hardly have any scents. These are perhaps the most important characteristics of the Asiatic lily. In addition, they have a large number of flowerbuds. Another important characteristic of the Asiatic is: the position of the flowers. These are upright and smaller than, for example, the Oriental. If the flower is open, then it is usually flat. This also makes it less sensible during transport or when using the flower in, for example, in an arrangement. In cultivation the Asiatic does need a lot of light. However, it is a fast grower: after planting the bulb there is a lily within 80 days.
Oriental lily: another name for the Oriental lily is: ´Japanese lily´. Oriental lilies are the most sold lilies worldwide. The most important characteristics are: Fragrance & large flowers, this gives them a luxurious appearance. These flowers will usually stand upright. Just like the Asiatic, the flowers are flat after opening with the tips of the petals sometimes pointing backwards. The colors are less diverse. Orientals are mainly available in white, pink and red tones. They have a longer growing period, up to 120 days and need less light. This makes them easy to grow all year round.
The above description is a general description of the Oriental lily. In our (Royal Van Zanten) range we have Tourega, this is an odorless Oriental lily. And the Rapid Lily Line-up. This Rapid Lily Line-up consists 5 Oriental lilies with a cultivation period around 80 days. This is a major benefit for the flower grower.
Longiflorum lily: sideways, large, fragrant flowers in the shape of a calyx, the Longiflorum. Perhaps the most characteristic is the earlier mentioned lateral growth – nowadays also more upwards – the flowers come from 1 point. This makes the Longiflorum more sensitive to transport. Because of the position of the flowers, they can break or damage them quickly.
Trumpet lily: you hardly see pure trumpet lilies. In our breeding they are used purely for crossbreeding with Oriental to come to new OT Hybrids. The most important characteristics with the trumpet are: hanging up to upright long flowers, which curls back.
Longiflorum Asiatic (LA) lily: if you cross a Longiflorum with an Asiatic, you will get a LA lily. More colors than the Longiflorum (which is mainly available in the color white) & larger flowers than the Asiatic. The colors are lighter and (slightly) less harsh compared to the Asiatic lily. The flowers usually bloom slightly calyx and can be sideways and upright during flowering. The scent of the LA lily is almost negligible.
Oriental Trumpet (OT) lily: if you cross an Oriental with a Trumpet, you will get an OT lily. These lilies have a strong frangance and available in the most flaring colors. Think yellow, red, pink, white and more. In general the OT hybrids have fewer flowers per bulb size *.
Longiflorum Oriental (LO) lily: sweeter scent, large flowers that can stand up and sideways? Then you are dealing with a cross between a Longiflorum and an Oriental. They are generally white, but nowadays also limited in pink. Disadvantage for the grower: it is not a fast grower. Advantage for the consumer: the LO often has a good vase life.
Double lily: there are double Asiatic lilies, but most double lilies originate from ´mutants´ of Oriental lilies. The double Oriental lily is a fairly new lily for the market. The characteristic of the double lily are of course the double number of petals. Because of the full nature they sometimes have the appearance of a Lotus flower. Because they are descended from the Oriental, the double lilies are not odorless, but the strength of the scent can vary from light to strong. Another point are the pollen. Due to the double petals, the stamens are only visible later in flowering and sometimes virtually invisible. The colors of the double lily are mainly white and pink.
* Bulb size: there are different bulb sizes, such as 18/20. The smallest lily bulb size = 10/12 the largest lily bulb size = 24+. As a rule you can take, the larger the bulb the more flowers on the stem.