19 Most Popular Lily Varieties

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Lilies are a fantastic way to add a stunning pop of color and fragrance to your yard without adding a bunch of extra work to your gardening to-do list. These low-maintenance plants have an incredible number of options to choose from regarding plant height, bloom color, and other characteristics like fragrance. But, all these options can be overwhelming.

To help you search for the perfect lily, let’s talk about what makes a true lily plant, how the different types are classified, and then we can get into some of the more popular varieties.

There are many different lily varieties with some being more popular than others

What Makes a True Lily?

Plants classified as “true lilies” are categorized in the genus Lilium and grow from true bulbs, not rhizomes. The flowers on all true lily plants have six anthers and six petals. Other common garden plants—case in point, daylilies and canna lilies—are not lilies at all, even though they have the term “lily” in their common name.

Different Lily Divisions

Over 90 different lily species are categorized into nine divisions based on their genetic makeup and hybridization history. These nine divisions help both home gardeners and professional horticulturists distinguish types, providing clues as to what conditions the lily will thrive in, when it blooms, and what the flowers of that variety look like.

  • Division 1: Asiatic Hybrid – Asiatic lilies are the most popular worldwide. Native to Asia, they come in almost every color but do not have a scent.
  • Division 2: Martagon Hybrid – Martagon lilies produce numerous (upwards of 40 to 50) small, dainty flowers per stem; all flowers are downward-facing and have striking coloration.
  • Division 3: Candidum Hybrids – Also known as Euro-Caucasian, this division has very few entries and comprises hybrids of species from Europe.
  • Division 4: American Hybrid – Includes hybrids of wild lilies native to North America.
  • Division 5: Longiflorum Hybrid – This division includes hybrids of L. longiflorum and L. formosanum with white, trumpet-shaped blooms.
  • Division 6: Trumpet and Aurelian Hybrids – These lilies grow tall with large, trumpet-shaped flowers and a sweet, heady fragrance.
  • Division 7: Oriental Hybrid – Known for large upright-facing flowers with a strong, enchanting fragrance. 
  • Division 8: Interdivisional Hybrids – Hybrids of Divisions 1 through 7.
  • Division 9: Species – Wild lilies that are the “parents” of all of the other classes.

Color Symbolism

  • White symbolizes innocence, modesty, purity, and grace.
  • Yellow symbolizes happiness, gratitude, healing, and good health. 
  • Orange symbolizes wealth, confidence, and encouragement.
  • Light pink symbolizes femininity, elegance, and generosity.
  • Dark pink symbolizes ambition, prosperity, and abundance.
  • Red symbolizes romance, passion, and desire.

1. Easter Lily

Division: Longiflorum
USDA Zone: 4 to 8
Sunlight Requirements: Full sun to partial shade
Height: 2 to 3’
Bloom Color: White

As one of the most well-known varieties, the Easter lily is typically purchased as a potted plant around Easter due to its symbolism in Christianity of purity and rebirth. It displays elongated, trumpet-shaped flowers in a delicate white and blooms in July and August when planted outside in a garden. The Easter lily is a parent species for numerous trumpet hybrids.

The easter lily is white and has a height of two to three feet

2. Tiger Lily

Division: American
USDA Zone: 3 to 8
Sunlight Requirements: Full sun to partial shade
Height: 4 to 7’
Bloom Color: Orange with brown freckles

If you’re looking for a great beginner plant, look no further than the infamous tiger lily. Tiger lilies are an old-fashioned variety known for their hardiness. This long-lived species of the American division is known for its large, bell-shaped recurved orange flowers dotted with brown freckles. Plants bloom in June and July and can bear up to 20 flowers per stem.

3. Stargazer

Division: Oriental
USDA Zone: 4 to 9
Sunlight Requirements: Full sun
Height: 3 to 4’
Bloom Color: Pink and white

Without a doubt, Stargazer lilies are one of the most popular mainstream varieties. Stargazer is the first Oriental lily with flowers that are upward facing, i.e., facing the heavens. In July, this highly fragrant variety blooms to display large, showy flowers in a stunning bright pink and white coloration with a potent, spicy aroma.

The magentsa stargazer has a stand out magenta color.

4. Turk’s Cap

Division: Martagon
USDA Zone: 5 to 8
Sunlight Requirements: Full sun to partial shade
Height: 3 to 6’
Bloom Color: Orange with reddish-brown spots

Turk’s cap lilies are often called martagon lilies, as they are in the martagon division. They are the most shade tolerant of all the divisions and exhibit tall spikes with many smaller flowers. Each stalk bears many layers of pagoda-shaped flowers that display sleek curved petals on the downward-facing blooms. The petals are typically orange with dark freckles.

5. Elodie

Division: Asiatic
USDA Zone: 4 to 8
Sunlight Requirements: Full sun to partial shade
Height: 3 to 4’
Bloom Color: Pale pink

Elodie lilies are unique Asiatic lilies because of their pale pink semi-double blooms with a sprinkling of tiny raspberry freckles that open from early to mid-summer. Unlike other varieties, this pastel beauty doesn’t have any pollen on the large five to six-inch blooms, so it is a fantastic choice for flower arrangements and bridal bouquets.

6. Casablanca

Division: Oriental
USDA Zone: 5 to 8
Sunlight Requirements: Full sun to partial shade
Height: 3 to 4’
Bloom Color: Snow white

A fan favorite due to its brilliant white coloration and intense fragrance, Casablanca lilies are commonly used in bridal bouquets. Many professional horticulturists deem it as the best white Oriental lily to have ever been bred. When planted in the garden, these vigorous plants bloom in mid to late summer, after the Asiatic lilies.

The casablanca variety has a creamy snow colored white flower

7. Tiny Bee

Division: Asiatic
USDA Zone: 2 to 9
Sunlight Requirements: Full sun to partial shade
Height: 1 to 2’
Bloom Color: Yellow

One of the few dwarf varieties on this list, tiny bee lilies were developed with short stature for growing on containers. Topping out at no more than two feet tall, this is an excellent cultivar for windy areas. The bold yellow trumpet-shaped flowers open in early summer ahead of many other types.

8. Lollipop

Division: Asiatic
USDA Zone: 3 to 8
Sunlight Requirements: Full sun to partial shade
Height: 2 to 3’
Bloom Color: White and pink

The stunning two-toned lollipop lilies look best when planted in masses to draw attention to their vivid coloration. A dwarf variety, 7-inch blooms of white with raspberry pink tips open in mid-summer. Plants have upward-facing flowers and petals that aren’t recurved. Over time a few plants will grow into a large planting.

9. Forever Susan

Division: Asiatic
USDA Zone: 3 to 9
Sunlight Requirements: Full sun to partial shade
Height: 2 to 3’
Bloom Color: deep burgundy with orange and gold

Similar in coloration to the infamous Black-eyed Susan, Forever Susan lilies bloom in early to mid-summer with 5” dramatic flowers. The deeply saturated colors of burgundy, orange, and gold blooms have a shiny, near-black appearance making them a beautiful standout in your garden. Flowers are highly fragrant and pollen-free. Plants perennialize well. 

10. Matrix

Division: Asiatic
USDA Zone: 4 to 8
Sunlight Requirements: Full sun to partial shade
Height: 2’
Bloom Color: Scarlet and orange

Another stunning Asiatic variety, Matrix lilies, bloom in early to mid-summer with a moderate bud count of up to seven flowers per stem. Their upward-facing flowers have vivid coloration: petals are a striking red color, accented with a lighter orange throat. The plant’s narrow leaves stay green all season for a gorgeous contrast.

The matrix bloom has an exotic scarlet and orange color

11. Madonna

Division: Candidum
USDA Zone: 6 to 9
Sunlight Requirements: Full to partial sun
Height: 4 to 6’
Bloom Color: Pure white

The Madonna lily has been cultivated by homeowners and professional growers for centuries and is a well-known, award-winning variety. It is one of the quintessential white lilies that everyone knows and recognizes. Plants produce up to twenty blossoms per stem; outward-facing trumpet-shaped flowers are pure white with bright yellow pollen. Blooms have an intense, delicious fragrance.

12. Orange Pixie

Division: Asiatic
USDA Zone: 2 to 9
Sunlight Requirements: Full sun to partial shade
Height: 16 to 20”
Bloom Color: Bright orange

The Orange Pixie lily is a fantastic choice if you’re looking for a container plant or border planting. It was bred for a compact habit and is easy to grow. The upward-facing bright orange trumpet-shaped flowers bloom in early summer and have no fragrance, so they are perfect for those sensitive to smells.

13. Cappuccino Tango

Division: Asiatic
USDA Zone: 3 to 9
Sunlight Requirements: Full sun to partial shade
Height: 4’
Bloom Color: Creamy white with dark purplish-black

Tango lilies are one of the newest developed varieties, a new kind of Asiatic hybrid. They are known for the colors of their highly unique flowers; they bloom in late spring or early summer and have been bred to have shorter, strong stems. The Cappuccino flowers are creamy-white with a contrast color area made up entirely of a spattering of dark-purple spots.

14. Luxor

Division: Asiatic
USDA Zone: 3 to 8
Sunlight Requirements: Full sun to partial shade
Height: 3’
Bloom Color: Yellow with reddish-orange interior

The stunning Luxor lily flower blooms in mid-summer, displaying wide flowers with a narrow funnel shape. Blooms are butterfly yellow with orangey-bronze overtones, and the interiors are heavily speckled and brush marked with stripes of burgundy red shades. These long-lived perennials with beautifully straight stalks make excellent cut flowers or border plants in the garden.

15. Tiny Double You

Division: Asiatic
USDA Zone: 3 to 8
Sunlight Requirements: Full sun to partial shade
Height: 1’
Bloom Color: Deep orange

The only double-flower lily variety to make the list, Tiny Double You has cheerfully orange four-inch double blooms on short, compact stems. Flowers bloom from early to mid-summer and love sunny spots. They are great for container plantings or to tuck into tight spaces or borders that need a bright pop of color.

The tiny double you lily variety has a unique deep orange color

16. Robert Swanson

Division: Interdivisional
USDA Zone: 4 to 9
Sunlight Requirements: Full sun to partial shade
Height: Up to 6’
Bloom Color: Yellow with red shades

A gorgeous cross between an Oriental hybrid and a trumpet lily, the Robert Swanson cultivar is sometimes called an “Orienpet.” Enormous seven-inch flowers of bright yellow have deep mahogany inner flames that bloom in mid to late summer. The sweetly fragranced flowers are gently recurved and slightly downward-facing. Light green stigmas add another layer of contrast.

17. Acapulco

Division: Oriental
USDA Zone: 3 to 8
Sunlight Requirements: Full sun to partial shade
Height: 3 to 4’
Bloom Color: Bright pink

Known for its exotic fragrance and bright-pink bloom color, the Acapulco lily is outstanding in floral arrangements or as a contrast flower in bouquets. The large five-inch blooms face directly outward and are one of the brightest, hot pink types of lilies available. Acapulco is also the official flower for May birthdays and the 30th wedding anniversary.

18. Regal

Division: Trumpet
USDA Zone: 4 to 8
Sunlight Requirements: Full sun to partial shade
Height: 3 to 5’
Bloom Color: White with yellow

Regal lilies are exceptionally similar to Easter lilies in coloration, but this variety grows taller in the garden. Trumpet-shaped white flowers bloom in mid-summer to display stunning yellow throats. Strong stems can bear upwards of two dozen of the six-inch-long blossoms. With an intense fragrance, Regal lilies are considered one of the ultimate types to grow.

Regal lily plants belong to the trumpet division and require full sun.

19. Gran Paradiso

Division: Asiatic
USDA Zone: 4 to 8
Sunlight Requirements: Full sun to partial sun
Height: 3 to 4’
Bloom Color: True red

Rounding out the list is the Gran Paradiso lily, prized for its ornamental qualities. Vivid, bright red blossoms sit atop deep green foliage. The bowl-shaped flowers are four to five inches across with slightly recurved tips. Flowers have no scent, and each stem producers an abundant amount of buds. These beauties make gorgeous cut flower arrangements.

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About the author: Carley Miller is a horticultural expert at TheGreenPinky. She previously owned a landscaping business for 25 years and worked at a local garden center for 10 years.

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