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Houseplant of the Month March: Lily

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The story of the lily
The lily (Lilium) is a real feature in the home thanks to its beautifully coloured flowers that sometimes also have an exquisite fragrance. The potted lily is characterised by the long buds on the stem and the leaf that grows along the whole stem. The choice of colours with potted lilies is extensive: from red, yellow, orange and pink through to bi-coloured cultivars and pastel shades.
The lily is a herbaceous plant which is part of the lily family. The plant grows from a bulb and consists of more than a hundred species, of which most can be found in the northern hemisphere. The original plant probably came from China – the plant still grows in Korea, Japan and parts of Siberia – and spread via the Caucasus, the Balkans and the Alps to Europe, and later America. In the wild, lilies usually grow in a woodland setting or on grasslands.
Potted lily range
The range of potted lilies is growing. Well known varieties come from the Asiatic Group, often with brightly coloured flowers, and from the Oriental Group, with large flowers with a strong scent. In addition, there are double-flowered lilies in pink and white, without pollen and with a light sweet fragrance. There are also compact varieties in pink or white with round leaves and a light fragrance.
What to look for when buying potted lilies
  • Check the ripeness and the number of buds per stem. The buds should not be open at the time of purchase but can show some colour.
  • The potted lily’s bulb must be well-rooted so that the stems are firmly supported.
  • The plant should not have any dried-out buds or yellow leaves.
  • If there is botrytis present on the flower or the foliage the plant has been kept in damp conditions or has been given too much water.
Care tips for customers
  • Lilies like a lot of light, but not bright sunlight.
  • The cooler the plant’s position, longer flowering can be extended (up to 2 to 3 weeks).
  • Water regularly – it’s better if the soil doesn’t dry out.
  • Wilted flowers can be removed.
  • After its lavish flowering the plant is ‘finished’ and the bulb can be planted in the garden.
Sales and display for potted lilies
Keep the base simple (potted lilies look fantastic in black or white pots) and display the plants at different heights to give a lively look. Keep the bright colours and the pastels together, use white lilies as the linking factor to maintain a sense of coherence. Because the plants are sold to the customer in bud, accompanying image material showing potted lilies in bloom can provide extra inspiration for buying.