Lilium bulbs can be planted now and until September for a summer showing. Oriental, Asiatic and trumpet lilies are the three common types you’ll find at garden centres, but you can also buy more unusual forms from specialist growers. Asiatics are the first to flower from around late November or December, then comes the trumpet lilies around Christmas-time. Then it’s the Orientals, sometimes from December but usually January to March. Trumpets and Orientals are beautifully fragrant; sadly the Asiatics have no perfume.
Plant bulbs in a light, humus-rich soil in sun to light shade. They like moist soil, but it must be free-draining – bulbs won’t survive water-logging. Get your bulbs in the ground as soon as you buy them. The bulbs have no outer papery layer so they’re prone to drying out.
The top photo shows the Asiatic lily ‘Antique Lace’ from The Lily Garden (it’s not available in New Zealand); the middle photo is the Asiactic lily ‘Orange Lily’ and the bottom is the Oriental lily ‘Pico’. Both are available from Garden Post.