Lilies: Everything you need to 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.

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

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:

Asiatic lilies

Candidum hybrid lilies

American lilies

Oriental lilies

Trumpet lilies

Longiflorum lilies

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

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.