The star-shaped lily, or true lily, has several variations. The three most common are Asiatic, oriental and hybrid. Although all of these flowers look similar, they have very different characteristics. The different characteristics make them very versatile for many different types of occasions.
Asiatic lilies have blooms about 5” in diameter and they come in shades of orange, red, yellow, pink and white. They have no smell—which sets them apart from the other types of lilies. Asiatic lilies have the shortest vase life of these three. Because the Asiatic lilies blooms are smaller and do not last as long, they are less expensive. A stem of Asiatic lily is usually going to cost a little more than a rose.
Oriental lilies are very large. Their blooms can be as large as 8-10”. Stargazer lilies and Casablanca lilies are both oriental lilies. They are very fragrant and the scent can be almost over-powering at times. The blooms will last for a very long time—up to two weeks! They are rather hardy flowers—which means they will tolerate unfavorable conditions a little better than other flowers. Because these flowers are so large and last for so long, they are more expensive. The number of blooms per stem will determine the cost.
Hybrid lilies are just what they sound like–they are a hybrid between asiatic lilies and oriental lilies. They can be any combination of the two and have a wide range of color, size, scent, and other unique characteristics. The price among these lilies varies greatly. Check with your florist to determine the availability of these flowers.
These types of lilies can seem expensive, when compared to other flowers, but they are truly a great value. They have several large blooms per stem and even the shortest lived lilies will outlast many other common flowers.
Most lily blooms are too large to use in smaller pieces, such as boutonnieres and corsages, but they work quite well in larger pieces such as centerpieces, bouquets, and many others. Just a couple blooms can create a large display.
Understand that there are a plethora of options when it comes to the lily family. If you are not sure what you are getting, or what you want, ask questions! Be sure the type of lily you are getting is the one you have in mind.
Kim Martin — Floral Design Specialist — Columbia, MO