Often used in wedding, funeral and religious bouquets, white lilies symbolize purity and peace. Lilies are grown as ornamental plants in cottage gardens and urban landscapes. However, the majority of white lilies are cultivated in greenhouses for the floral industry. Lilies naturally bloom in mid-spring and throughout the summer. Greenhouse cultivation manipulates light and fertilization to produce cut lilies and blooming plants for year-around availability.
The Oriental lily Casa Blanca is noted for its large flowers, sweet fragrance and vigorous growth. The over-sized flowers are brilliant white and delicately flocked. Casa Blanca blooms in mid-June. Oriental lilies, also known as Asiatic lilies, begin their blooming cycle in early June and continue until the first frost. The Asiatic White Diamond is noted for its pure white flowers that appear in mid-June.
Calla lilies have smooth white flowers on firm stems.
Calla lilies, native to Africa, grow from bulbs rather than rhizomes and spread readily. They form solid clumps of blooms in the home garden. Calla lilies are available in white, cream and shades of apricot and yellow. White calla lilies are a striking addition to floral arrangements. Calla lilies bloom in midsummer and continue until mid-autumn. Calla lilies flourish in moist locations and sun to semi-shade.
The perennial white water lily (Nymphaea odorata) is noted for its sweet fragrance and lasting beauty. White with a brilliant yellow center, the plant spreads by rhizomes and seeds. The seeds are a favorite food of ducks and other waterfowl. The bright green leaves and stems of the water lily are consumed by beavers and other rodents. Water lilies bloom from early summer until the first heavy frost. White water lilies are an attractive addition to a garden water feature or pond.
Millions of Easter lily plants are raised for sale for Easter celebrations.
The Easter lily is native to the Ryukyu Islands of southern Japan.The majority of commercial Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum) cultivation in the United States occurs in Michigan, California, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Easter lilies are grown so that their peak blooms occur in early spring, just in time for Easter.