Oriental Lily, Casa Blanca

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Quick Overview


FULL SUN Native to the temperate zones of the Northern Hemisphere, lilies have been cultivated for thousands of years. They have been the signature flower of Christendom for 1500 years. Casablanca, by many, is considered the Queen of Oriental Lilies. It was introduced in 1984. Each plant produces up to 5 huge, glistening white flowers with a strong, but heavenly fragrance. The plants reach a height of 36-60 in.

Casablancas can be planted in the fall or the spring. If planting in the fall make sure the location does not become soaking wet in the winter or the bulbs will rot. Plant the bulbs in organically rich soil amended with bone meal. Keep the soil moist, but do not allow the bulbs to stand in water. Casablancas can be grown in containers – 1 bulb per 12 in. diameter pot.

As they age, Casablancas become taller and taller plants and produce more and more flowers.

Type Spacing Planting Depth Days to Germination Maturity
Oriental 12 in. 6 in. 14-21 75

Oriental Lily, Casa Blanca

The lilium genus, surprisingly, is only indigenous to the temperate zones of the Northern Hemisphere, but it has been so popular for so many centuries that it is worldwide in distribution. There are many, many species native to North America, Asia and Europe. Flowers are of many different sizes and shapes – some highly fragrant, some not. Lilies were a part of the Greek and Roman civilizations. New World lilies and the lilies of China and Japan were quickly and eagerly embraced by Europeans and the British.

Since the Renaissance, the development and cultivation of lily cultivars has proliferated, but it was not until the late 1800s that the most significant lily introductions were created. E. H. Wilson (1876-1931), the Director of The Arnold Arboretum outside of Boston, MA introduced L. davidii, L. regale, and L. sargentiae. These three lily species became the most important lilies of the 20th century.

Asiatic and Oriental lilies are often very similar in appearance and many astute and experienced gardeners see no difference in the two. However, there are differences and these can be substantial. Asiatic lilies are slightly easier to grow and multiply much more rapidly. The flowers bloom much earlier than Orientals, are slightly smaller than Orientals and are usually a single color. Asiatics have the greatest range of blossom shape and color. Asiatic lilies are usually shorter plants and the blooms have little or no fragrance. Oriental lily plants grow taller than Asiatics, flowers can be heavily fragrant and are usually much larger than the Asiatic blossoms. Orientals bloom much later than Asiatics so it is best to plant both Asiatics and Orientals for continuous blooms from early summer to fall.

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