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Lilies:Everything You NeedTo Know

Lilies add a little excitement to any bouquet with their exotic vibes and 'look at me' colour palette. The flower itself is also shrouded in mystery and myth, with ties to ancient Greek stories and the era of the Egyptians. Just one of the many reasons why we love them.

Whether you're planning on sending a lush bouquet for someone's birthday or just want to enjoy the glitz and glamour of these flowers in your home, learn more about this always beautiful bloom in our guide. We have all the facts, care tips and everything you need to know about this incredible flower.

8 FASCINATING LILY FACTS

Brush up on your trivia with our range of facts about lilies that you can save for a rainy day.

1. The names Susan, Susanna and Suzette all mean lily flower

While lily itself is a popular baby name, these three fairly normal names also have ties to the Persian word that means lily flower.

2. Avoid calla lilies if the recipient is superstitious

While we can't get enough of those incredible trumpet-like blooms, those who are superstitious – aka avoid black cats, throw spilt salt over their left shoulder and refuse to walk under ladders – won't allow them through their door as they're associated with death!

3. Some varieties aren't considered to be 'true' lilies

Lilies have an exclusive insider's club (aka they're part of the flower family Lilium) and some flowers didn't make the cut. Calla lilies, peace lilies, water lilies and Peruvian lilies are not real lilies at all! Oh, and don't forget lily of the valley that uses the name but is actually part of the asparagus family. But please don't eat it, unlike asparagus that just makes your pee smell funny, lily of the valley is toxic.

4. There's a lily that has been bred to grow to 8ft tall

While we'd never abandon our love for the fantastically tall sunflower, we're pretty impressed that these delicate blooms can reach such heights. This giant plant is known as the 'Tree Lily' and stands proud with several instantly recognisable flowers blooming along the top of its stem.

5. Lilies and cats don't mix

Lilies are highly poisonous to our furry friends, leading to kidney failure if not treated in time, so it's best to avoid featuring the flower in your home if you have a curious cat. If you think your cat has eaten any part of lily or cleaned the flower's pollen from their fur, take them to the vet straight away. If you're looking for flowers that are equally as beautiful but still friendly to your fur babies, have a look at some pet friendly flowers.

6. Lilies are a symbol of healing in China

They're typically given to people suffering from loss or heartache, so if your friend's latest romantic adventure hasn't worked out a bright bunch of lilies should cheer them up.

7. Lilies are the flower for a pearl 30th wedding anniversary

For couples celebrating 30 years of marriage – now that's an achievement! – lilies are considered to be the representative flower. So if you're on a budget and pearls are off the table then lilies are the perfect alternative.

8. Lilies grow better when in groups

Lilies are socialites and thrive when planted in groups of five to seven, should you ever want to feature them in your garden.

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WHEN DO LILIES BLOOM?

Lilies are in their prime between July and August, when the flowers naturally bloom. Of course, you can get your hands on these many petaled beauties all year round, so you're not limited to the summer months.

Lilies Meaning

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Lilies are believed to symbolise femininity and fertility. #girlpower But the main reason why this flower holds this meaning is due to the tale of the Greek gods, Hera and Zeus.
The story goes that Zeus wanted his son Hercules – you know the guy, muscly, flies a winged horse in the Disney movie – to be nursed by Hera but she wasn't a fan of the idea because he technically wasn't her baby.
So, Zeus got sneaky (as he always seemed to) and while Hera was sleeping put Hercules next to her to nurse. She woke and drops of her milk fell to the floor, from which the lily flower grew.
But as well as their overarching meaning, these magical flowers also symbolise a number of other things, depending on the colour you choose.

Lily Colour Meanings

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Each lily colour is said to symbolise something completely new so whether you're a fan of bubblegum pink hues or prefer happiness inducing yellow shades, we've taken a closer look at what they mean below:

PINK LILIES

Offer a bunch of hot pink lilies when you want to let someone know you admire them, as these gorgeous blooms are believed to symbolise admiration and femininity. Pink lilies are perfect pick me up for female friends, either as a surprise or for an upcoming birthday.

WHITE LILIES

Popular at both weddings and funerals, white lilies are believed to represent rebirth and purity. For weddings, it's about celebrating a new chapter and for funerals celebrating a loved one moving onto the next place. However you choose to enjoy white lilies, they're always beautiful, always chic and always well received.

RED LILIES

Think of the colour red and what comes to mind? Romance? Love? Well, you're not far from the meaning of red lilies as these flowers are said to symbolise passion. Ideal if you're looking for an alternative to a classic bouquet of roses.

ORANGE LILIES

We love the zesty vibes of orange lilies and the colour of these flowers is considered to symbolise energy and confidence. Put some pep in someone's step with a bunch of these fiery blooms, great if they're building themselves up for a big interview or an exam.

YELLOW LILIES

You can't get more cheerful than the colour yellow and so this is why yellow lilies symbolise joy, gratitude and friendship. Butter them up with a bouquet of vibrant, sunshine inspired blooms or to say thank you.

Lily Varieties

Lilies come in all shapes, sizes and colours of the rainbow. Here are some of the most common to look out for in that next bouquet of flowers:

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Asiatic Lilies

These are a popular choice for gardeners (and florists) because they don't mind the cold and are a result of crossbreeding 12 different species of lily! Asiatics are some of the shortest growing lilies, reaching modest heights of just two or three feet. But like they say, the best things come in small packages.

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Candidum Hybrid Lilies

These lilies are some of the oldest still in existence, with the Madonna lily the most well known of the bunch. This stunning white flower has ties to Christianity and the Virgin Mary and is believed to be one of the first varieties of lily to exist.

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American Lilies

These flowers are native to North America with varieties that have been bred to create the hybrids we know and love today. This type of lily is distinguishable by its freckled petals with tiger lilies and panther lilies falling under this variety.

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Oriental Lilies

Bold and beautiful, oriental lilies also pack a punch when it comes to scent. Stargazer lilies are the most common blooms in this variety, with their vibrant pink and white tipped petals. Oriental lilies are native to Japan and grown for their long lasting qualities. That's why they're a favourite in our bouquets!

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Trumpet Lilies

We wonder where trumpet lilies got their name from. Could it be the shape of the flower head? While you can't play any tunes on these blooms, they do look pretty featured in a vase or a bouquet.

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Longiflorum Lilies

The flowers that grow within this lily variety are loud, proud and bloom big. In fact, some have petals that span across six to seven inches and are usually white in colour. Easter lilies are a longiflorum variety and are still used to decorate churches during religious events to this day.

How to care for cut lilies

So you've received a gorgeous bouquet of lilies – we're not jealous, at all – and now you want to feature them in pride of place. Follow these steps to give your flowers the best chance of lasting the usual 10 to 14 days.

  1. Remove any foliage from the flower stem that may sit below the waterline in your vase. If this is left, it can start to decompose, breeding nasty bacteria that your lilies won't enjoy.
  2. Pluck the stamens out from the middle of the flower. This avoids the mess they may cause if the vase is knocked or the flowers are brushed up against and won't affect their vase life. If you get any pollen on your clothes just grab some sticky tape and dab this off.
  3. Cut the ends of the stems diagonally. This encourages them to take in more water and avoid early wilting.
  4. Add your plant food and room temperature water to your chosen vase then arrange your flowers. We like to criss cross the stems, as this creates a fuller finish around the vase.
  5. Enjoy your lilies in a bright room, away from cold draughts. Change the water every couple of days and be sure to remove any fallen leaves or petals.

Uses for lilies

Think these flowers are just there for their good looks? Think again! Lilies offer something a little more than just beautiful petals and a pop of colour in the room. Here are just some of the other ways they can be used and enjoyed.

  • Gifts – Give lilies as a gift and choose a colour that matches your intent. Orange lilies for that friend sitting an exam, pink lilies to brighten up your sister's day or red lilies to let someone know your true feelings for them.
  • Perfume – It's no secret that lilies have a very strong scent and this has been bottled over the years and used in everything from room diffusers to body sprays for us to enjoy. The Romans were even believed to stuff their pillowcases with lilies to enjoy their scent while going to sleep. We'll stick to enjoying them in a vase.
  • Medicine – Some people use parts of the lily flower for medicinal purposes. Madonna lilies are believed to treat inflammation and can be applied to rashes and burns to calm them down while tiger lilies are said to be good at easing the symptoms of sore throats and colds. Of course, we're not recommending you skip the usual medicine for a lily flower but it's good to know!
  • Garden – Do you have green fingers or are just hoping to add a pop of colour to your outside space? Opt for lilies that can be grown in neat groups and will definitely turn heads when they bloom. Asiatic lilies are a good choice for UK gardens as they can handle the cooler weather.
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Feeling clued up on these floral favourites?

Whether you're buying a bouquet for a special anniversary or just treating yourself, lilies are an always popular choice. Take a look at our other flower guides, from roses to freesias to learn more.