A wide variety of flowers are referred to as lilies, but many are different plant species, such as calla lilies, daylilies, toad lilies and surprise lilies. True lilies belong to the family of lilium and bloom primarily in summer from bulbs. True lilies produce large blossoms and are durable in most environments.
Lilies prefer well-drained, moist soil that is slightly acidic. They grow best in organic soil made from mulch and natural dirt. While lilies prosper in moist soil, they do not like dirt that has standing water. Mulching over the top of the soil helps to keep the bulbs cool and weed-free.
Bulbs should be planted in the fall about 6 to 8 inches deep to prevent them from undergoing a hard freeze. In clay-heavy soil, you should plant the bulbs closer to the surface, more like 4 inches deep. Bulbs being transferred from a container that have already bloomed, such as the peace lily from ProFlowers, should be planted to a similar depth in the soil as it grew in the pot. Most lilies grow best in full sunlight or partial shade.
According to Iowa State University, Asiatic lilies are the most durable lilies and grow in most any environment. They promulgate easily and spread throughout your garden. Asiatic lilies come in a variety of colors that often have speckles on them. The flowers are not fragrant, though they produce a multitude of blooms. They can grow anywhere from 2 to 5 feet in height and are some of the first flowers to blossom in the late spring.
The strong fragrance of Oriental lilies makes them a popular choice for gardeners. The sweetly scented flowers tend to blossom in mid to late summer when the Asiatic lilies are nearly gone. Oriental lilies can grow as high as 6 feet and prefer areas where they won't have to suffer through the hot afternoon sun. Lighted areas that provide partial shade in the midst of the afternoon heat are the most ideal locations for Oriental lilies.
Although not true lilies, calla lilies are grown from rhizomes, which are similar to bulbs. While calla lilies can serve as perennial flowers, the rhizomes need to be protected from freezing and often don't live through harsh winters. Like true lilies, calla lilies prefer moist, well-drained spots in which to flourish. Most calla lilies are white, but they also come in pink, yellow and red and can grow up to 30 inches.