Spring Bulbs - Lily Favourites

April 7, 2024

Now is the time to get spring bulbs started indoors for beautiful colour outdoors this summer! Purchasing packaged bulbs saves you money versus buying finished potted plants later on, and it’s easy to get them going. Simply pot each bulb/root in a 6″ pot with potting soil, water it in, and place it in a sunny window or under grow lights. Plants can be hardened off once the risk of frost has passed outdoors.

Tiger Lilies

The true tiger lily (Lilium lancifolium) is a tall plant (4-5 feet) that is usually quite sturdy and covered in narrow leaves. The flowers are typically orange with black spots, but they come in other colours as well. The blooms are nodding, with reflexed sepals and petals. Tiger lilies characteristically produce tiny bulbs called “bulbils” on their stems, which fall to the ground and grow into new plants. This is one of the hardiest types of lilies you can buy.

Lilium Red Velvet

Red Velvet


Asiatic Lilies

The most popular type of lily because they are so hardy and reliable. Asiatic lilies are available in numerous colours and range from short to tall, but are sturdy growers. The flowers are usually up-facing and without fragrance. Bulbs separate naturally, forming clumps over time that should be divided in fall every few years to maintain vigour.

Lilium Forever Susan
Lilium Tiny Bee

Forever Susan

Tiny Bee

Oriental Lilies

Oriental lilies are the most popular type of florist lily. They have large blooms with an intoxicating fragrance, and they have attractive broad leaves. These are a little less hardy in Alberta, and should be mulched for winter.

Lilium Casablanca


Lilium Captain Tricolore

Captain Tricolore

OT Lilies

OT lilies, also called “tree lilies”, are hybrids between Oriental and trumpet lilies. These plants have tall, sturdy stems and enormous flowers that have a similar fragrance to Oriental lilies. They are more winter hardy in Alberta than either Oriental or trumpet lilies.

Lilium Touchstone


Lilium African Lady

African Lady

Guernsey and Spider Lilies

Not true lilies, Guernsey lilies (Nerine spp.) and spider lilies (Lycoris spp.) are in the amaryllis family. These plants are not winter hardy in Alberta; they are best grown in containers and the bulbs must be stored indoors over winter. Masses of lily-like blooms appear in fall.

Nerine bowdenii - Guernsey Lily

Lycoris aurea - Golden Spider Lily