Do you know what makes lilies such a beloved flower for many occasions? They are nature's elegant masterpieces. Dutch top lily grower Bredefleur knows this, Chrysal knows this, and an entire professional group of floral designers knows this. Everyone is instantly enchanted by the presence of those splendid large blooms. But how do they do it? How do they get those flowers in such an optimal state? And how to cherish that moment for as long as possible. High time to find out. Get ready to learn from the best!
The Timeless Beauty of Lilies
Lilies, with their timeless beauty and elegance, have captured the hearts of florists, growers, and consumers alike. These stunning flowers come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, making them a versatile choice for various floral arrangements. There are so many lilies to choose from, like Asiatics, Orientals, Longiflorums, and several crossings between those main varieties.
Asiatic lilies are known for their bold and vibrant colors, ranging from fiery reds and sunny yellows to cool lilacs and serene whites. They are typically smaller in size and feature upright blooms with petals that spread wide, showcasing their brilliant hues. Asiatic lilies are loved for their eye-catching appearance and the ability to infuse energy and vibrancy into any floral arrangement. Moreover, they lack the strong fragrance found in Oriental lilies, making them a popular choice for those who prefer a more subtle aroma.
Oriental lilies are celebrated for their intoxicating fragrance, which is often described as rich, sweet, and exotic. These lilies boast larger, more extravagant blooms with petals that curve backward, revealing their intricate inner markings. The color palette of Oriental lilies is softer, yet equally stunning, featuring shades of mild pinks, deep purples, and creamy whites. While they may not be as vibrantly colored as Asiatic lilies, their exquisite scent and luxurious appearance make them a top choice for creating romantic and elegant floral arrangements.
Longiflorum lilies, also known as Easter lilies, are prized for their pure and elegant beauty. 'Longis' are typically white and trumpet-shaped, symbolizing purity and renewal. These lilies share the same captivating fragrance as Oriental lilies but have a more understated appearance. Their graceful blooms and sweet scent make them a popular choice for weddings and special occasions, where their symbolism adds a touch of sophistication to any arrangement.
When you know the above three main varieties, it is easier to understand what the names of the crossings between those signify. You could have an 'LA' variety, which is a crossing between a 'Longi' and an 'Asiatic'. Or a blend of an 'Oriental' and a (trumpet-shaped) 'Longi' which is called an 'OT' variety.
By the way, there are also double-flowered lilies, mainly known as Roselilies. This is a species of its own that resembles a gigantic rose and does not have any stamen.
Tips From Grower Bredefleur
Thomas Evers is co-owner of high-end lily grower Bredefleur. This grower has built its reputation in the floral world working with exclusive top designers for their Bredefleur Friends project. Who better to ask how to create the perfect lily than Thomas, who is responsible for Bredefleur's bulb procurement and cultivation?
"About 95% of our lilies leave on water. What we do at Bredefleur to optimize the quality and lifespan of the lilies that leave the nursery is to add Chrysal Professional 3 to the water. This post-harvest solution prolongs the vaselife and improves the flowering period. For our LA varieties, we also add Chrysal BVB which stops the yellowing of the leaves, keeps the water cleaner, and prevents desiccation of the buds due to ethylene formation."
Impeccable Lilies From Florists to Consumers
Whether you're a florist looking to create captivating bouquets or a consumer wanting to extend the life of your lilies, you might need some essential care tips to get the most out of your precious flowers.
1. Selecting the perfect lily:
When choosing lilies for your arrangements, look for ones with unopened buds and tight, compact petals. This ensures a longer vase life and vibrant blooms. Consider the type of lily you want. As mentioned before: Asiatic lilies are known for their bold colors, while Oriental lilies offer a delightful fragrance.
In your flower shop, Chrysal recommends keeping the lilies in clean water with a conditioner like Chrysal Professional 2. This ensures a longer shelf life and that the flowers develop their colors well without opening too much.
2. Preparing your lilies for a vase or floral design:
Place the Lily directly in a vase with Chrysal Better Bloom or Chrysal Bulbosus. This will allow the buds to open beautifully, and retain the intense colors, and the flowers will last up to 60% longer than with water alone.
Upon receiving lilies, trim the stems at an angle and remove any leaves that might be submerged in water. This helps prevent the growth of harmful bacteria in the vase. Use a clean vase filled with cold water. Lilies prefer slightly acidic water, so adding a floral preservative like Chrysal can make a significant difference.
Remove fallen leaves from the water. They don't look nice and will only make the water cloudy.
3. Keep them cool:
Lilies are known for being cool customers. They thrive in cooler temperatures, so avoid placing them in direct sunlight or near radiators. A cool room is the way to go.
4. Blossom timing:
To control when your lilies bloom, you can place them in a cooler area at night and return them to the display location during the day. This can help you extend their vase life for special occasions.
5. Avoiding pollen stains:
Except for the Roselily varieties, lilies in general have beautiful but pesky, pollen that can stain clothing and furniture. Carefully remove the pollen-laden anthers to prevent any mishaps.
Do not brush or rub with your hand! Human skin contains oils that will help attach the pollen to the fibers: let the pollen dry and remove it with a soft brush. Alternatively, you can take a piece of adhesive tape and press this onto the pollen. The pollen will adhere to it and can then be removed. The third option is to use a vacuum cleaner to remove the pollen from the clothing.
If some pollen stains are stubborn, hang the garment in the sun. The stain and the pollen in it will dry up and can then be removed by one of the above-mentioned methods.
6. Appreciate their individuality:
Each lily stem can produce multiple buds, and they open at different times. Embrace this natural diversity for a captivating and evolving bouquet.
The Stars of Your Creations
By following these care tips, you can ensure that lilies remain the stars of your floral creations. Florists, in particular, can use these insights to provide customers with stunning arrangements that stand the test of time. And for consumers, it's the secret to enjoying lilies in all their splendor for days on end.
Header and feature image by W.H. Zandbergen for iBulb.