Fresh unbloomed lilies at Inspirations Florist

The science behind our flowers – 2 : The pretty ‘Lilies’

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Full-bloomed white lily at Inspirations Florist

Full-bloomed white lily at Inspirations Florist

There’s a well-known Chinese proverb that translates as “When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.” At Inspirations Florist, we couldn’t have agreed more. The sanctity of the large White Lily; the smiling petal cups of Lilium aziatische; the delicate vibrancy of the the Peruvian lily Alstroemeria; and the fragrance and a sleek-framed beauty of the African lily Agapanthus are some of the miracles that can put a smile on the saddest faces we see around. Lilies are hugely popular; every child must have heard about lilies and every home-garden might contain few bulbs of these wonderful flowers. At Inspirations, you’ll find these flowers in many of our bouquet and basket creations. If you wish, we can also do bespoke lily-only bouquets for you.

Fresh unbloomed lilies at Inspirations Florist

Fresh lilies at Inspirations Florist

Scientifically, ‘true lilies’ are herbaceous flowering plants that belong to the genus ‘Lilium‘ of the flower family ‘Liliaceae.’ However, a vast majority of flowers that have long stems, filaments or stamens; and /or possess fragrance have been commonly termed as ‘lilies’; much before the binomial nomenclature of these flowers was established. As a result, flowers from other families (Alstromeriaceae, Amarydilliaceae, etc.) house ‘lilies’ too; so when we say ‘lilies’ in this article, we’re referring to a common man’s classification of ‘lilies.’

Orange lily at Inspirations Florist

Orange lily ‘Lilium bulbiferum‘ at Inspirations Florist

The true lilies like the Large White Lily are perennials; you’ll find them through all seasons in our store. Other lilies like the African lilies usually bloom in the cooler months though. We usually prefer lilies grown from bulbs, but some of them can also be grown from seeds or scales. As far as a florist is concerned, bulb propagation is the best method for most lilies. Umbel-formation is the most common inflorescence that you see in lilies. Conspicuous stamens and anthers, i.e. the male reproductive parts of the lily that produce male gametes or pollen, are exposed once the full-bloomed tepals fall backwards. Many-a-times, these parts are coloured differently as compared to the rest of the flower. The reason for this should be evident to you by now: it often aids insect-mediated pollination for the flowers. In most lilies, the ‘style‘ (i.e. the female reproductive component of a flower) is higher than the stamen; hence this type of pollination becomes necessary for the plant’s reproduction, specifically for the wild-growing lilies. Wind-pollination is also known to take place for lilies.

Calla lily flower pots at Inspirations Florist

Calla lily flower pots at Inspirations Florist

Some lilies are monochromatic and spotless in colour; whereas some have coloured spots or strokes on their tepals or petals. Tepals are another common feature among the lilies and tulips: in most lilies, you can’t clearly demarcate the petal-base from the leafy outer whorl (sepals) in these flowers (see white lily and casa lily images). Calla lilies, which belong to a family Araeceae, are excellent demonstrations for the tepal feature.

Alstroemeria aurantiaca stock image from Wikipedia

Alstroemeria aurantiaca stock image from Wikipedia

Some faux lilies like the lovely Alstroemeria (Peruvian lily) lack a detectable fragrance; whereas the Agapanthus (African lily) is pleasantly fragrant. Lilies can be grown in potted plants or in gardens. If you’re planning to grow them in gardens, it is advisable to fix the bulbs just a few inches down well-drained soil; the roots can grow slightly deeper, holding the plant intact. They require constant moistening of the soil afterwards, especially when the plant is growing. Check out our article on how to use tall plants in your home decor and garden.

At Inspirations Florist, we use Lilium aziatische flowers in our Standard Bouquet, Designer Arrangement Pot and Standard Flower Basket; Alstroemeria lilies in Standard Bouquet and Standard Flower Basket; and Agapanthus and large white lilies in Premium and Luxury Bouquets and Deluxe Basket.

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