Lilies (*Lilium*) are flowering plants known for their six-petaled blooms and long, rust-colored anthers that attract pollinators. Many varieties and hybridized cultivars exist, but not all plants with “lily” in their common name are true lilies from the genus *Lilium*. For example, [daylilies](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/daylily-care-guide) (*Hemerocallis*), calla lilies (*Zantedeschia*), and water lilies (*Nymphaeaceae*) are not true lilies despite sharing similar features. \n\nLilies generally thrive in temperate climates, but depending on the variety, they can do well in USDA [Hardiness Zones](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/guide-to-planting-zones) 3–9. When cared for properly, lilies blossom in the spring, summer, or fall. As perennial plants, they fade in the winter and sprout new blooms from their bulbs when the growing season begins again in the spring or summer. As cut flowers, they last up to two weeks. Cat owners should be aware that some of the most popular lily varieties are toxic to cats.\n\nThe North American Lily Society divides lilies into nine broad categories, or divisions. The first eight divisions are all hybrid varieties: Asiatic lilies, Martagon lilies, Candidum lilies, American lilies, Longiflorum lilies, Aurelian and Trumpet lilies (combined in one division), Oriental lilies, and interdivisional cultivars (hybrids of two divisions). The ninth division, wild lilies, are species lilies that haven’t been hybridized.\nWith so many different types of lilies to choose from, familiarizing yourself with the most popular lilies is a good place to start.\n\n1. __‘Stargazer’ lily__: Stargazer (*Lilium orientalis*) is an Oriental hybrid lily and one of the most popular lily varieties. With its upward-facing flowers that range from pale pink to deep magenta, this lily does well in gardens with lots of sunlight and well-draining soil. Like other Oriental lilies, ‘Stargazers’ don't grow very tall and typically don’t need stakes to support their growth. \n2. __Easter lily__: Easter lilies (*Lilium longiflorum*) are known for their large white flowers. They bloom from July to August outdoors but can be trained to bloom by Easter when grown in pots—hence the festive name. \n3. __Tiger lily__: Tiger lilies (*Lilium lancifolium*) are wild lilies known for their bright orange blossoms freckled with brown spots. These hardy, wild lilies can thrive in zones 3–9 and will bloom in the summer if you plant them in areas of your garden with a mix of full sun and partial shade. \n4. __‘Casa Blanca’ lily__: Another Oriental hybrid with showy blooms, this variety features many bright white flowers on each stem. It does best in zones 5–8 and gardens with a mix of full sun and partial shade.\n5. __Madonna lily__: Madonna lilies are known for their bright white, trumpet-shaped flowers that start blooming in the late spring and early summer. They tend to prefer a mix of bright light and part shade.\nFollowing a few tips will set your lily flowers up for success. \n\n1. __Find a lily well-suited for your region__. Check which zone you live in and pick a lily variety that will thrive in that region.\n2. __Plant lily bulbs in the spring__. While you can plant some lily varieties in the fall, planting your lily bulbs in the spring will ensure you don’t subject your young lily plants to heavy frost. \n3. __Plant the bulbs shortly after buying them__. Lily bulbs don’t store very well and dry out easily. Plant your lily bulbs within a week of buying them to ensure they sprout. \n4. __Choose a sunny location__. Too much sunlight can burn lilies, but too little sunlight will cause them to wilt. Research the specific sunlight needs for your lily variety, but generally aim to plant your lilies in an area of your garden that gets a balanced mix of bright sunlight and partial shade.\n5. __Use well-draining soil__. Lilies require well-draining, [loam soil](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-create-loam-soil-for-your-garden) to thrive. Adding organic matter to the soil in your garden or container will provide lilies with nutrients to sustain their blooms. \n6. __Plant the bulbs deep__. Dig a hole at least eight inches deep for each lily bulb and space them approximately a foot apart. Add a handful of all-purpose fertilizer to the bottom of the hole before adding the bulb and burying it with soil. \nLilies require regular maintenance to thrive. \n\n1. __Water lilies regularly__. After planting the bulbs, water the area regularly throughout the growing season (early spring to late summer). Doing so will encourage proper root establishment. Keep the soil moist at all times but never soaking wet to prevent root rot and maximize growth. \n2. __Add a layer of mulch__. Adding a layer of mulch around the plants once they’ve started to sprout can help keep the soil cool during hotter days and retain soil moisture. \n3. __Fertilize in the early stages of growth__. To maximize their bloom time, feed your lilies a high-potassium fertilizer every two weeks from the time you plant them to six weeks after they begin to bloom.\n4. __Stake your lilies__. Depending on the variety, lilies can grow fairly tall—as much as eight feet in rare cases—and require staking to avoid toppling over. To support stems taller than four feet, loosely tie the stems to stakes with twine. \n5. __Remove stems at the end of the season__. Once the lilies have stopped blooming and the stems have died back, clean up the dead foliage. Mark the area with a stake or rock so you don’t forget where your lily bulbs are planted. Keep the soil well-drained and new lily sprouts should return next year. \nGrow your own garden with Ron Finley, the self-described "Gangster Gardener." Get the [MasterClass Annual Membership](https://www.masterclass.com/) and learn how to cultivate fresh herbs and vegetables, keep your house plants alive, and use compost to make your community - and the world - a better place.\nLilies may require more maintenance than other plants, but their stunning blooms make the effort worthwhile.