How Can You See the Difference Between Asiatic and Oriental Lilies?


Quick Answer

See the difference between Asiatic and Oriental lilies by comparing their size, leaf shape, bloom time and how their earliest shoots appear in spring. Size is probably the easiest way to compare the two types of lilies, as Oriental lilies grow up to 2 feet taller than Asiatic lilies.

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Full Answer

Leaf size is a key indicator of whether a plant is an Asiatic or Oriental lily. Asiatic lilies produce numerous long, slender leaves with glossy coatings. Oriental lilies produce shorter, more rotund leaves that are almost heart-shaped. Most Oriental lily leaves also lack the glossy coating found on Asiatic lilies.

Each flower's bloom time is a useful tool to differentiate between the two varieties. Asiatic lilies are native to cooler areas of Asia, and these flowers both emerge from the ground and bloom earlier in the year as a result. Oriental lilies emerge later in the year, and they usually begin to bloom just as Asiatic lilies fade and wilt, making the two varieties ideal planting companions in a flower garden.

Pay attention to the way each plant's first shoots appear in spring. Asiatic lily shoots have multiple branching leaves, somewhat resembling small artichokes. Oriental lily shoots lack substantial branching, and they exhibit a more columnar shape.

Scent is one of the simplest way to tell these two types of lilies apart. While Oriental lilies typically have a very strong and pleasant aroma, Asiatic lilies possess little if any fragrance.

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