Fire Lilies (Lilium Bulbiferum)

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Lilium Bulbiferum is the scientific name for the orange lily, also known as the fire lily. Bulbiferum is a Latin word that means “bearing bulbs”. Lilium is their genus, where we get the word “lily”. They can grow almost anywhere, they’re found in parks, meadows, forests, on the side of the road, and of course in gardens.

They’re native to Europe but have adapted to the soil of other regions. The fire lily is grown in gardens world round because of its beauty. They typically bloom in June or July. Their stems are rigid with green leaves, making the orange color of the bloom stand out even more.

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How to Grow

These orange lilies are quite easy to grow. They’re hardy and don’t require a lot of maintenance. They should be planted in the spring or fall. Plant your bulbs as soon as possible so that they don’t dry out. The soil doesn’t matter, they’re extremely adaptable, but avoid too much moisture. They don’t do well in soggy soil, but do need some moisture. Watering should be done occasionally.

For best results, look for a spot where they’ll get full sun or just a little shade. Bulbs should be planted in small groups, 3-5 bulbs, for full effect. Don’t plant them too close to other plants, they need room to absorb the sun. One bulb will produce at least 6 blooms, possibly many more.

They’ll grow about 3-4 feet tall. They don’t have to be planted in a garden, they will grow wonderfully in pots or other containers. They’re really easy to maintain. Put them in the soil, give them some water, make sure they get sun, and by early summer they’ll begin to bloom.

Fire lilies also grow fine in containers, so if you don’t have a garden or yard, you can still enjoy the lilies in your home. Put them in a porous pot so there is good air circulation. Also, don’t use a water plate with the pot, let the water drain out completely and separately as overwatering is the most dangerous obstacle in caring for the resilient flower.

When first planting the lilies in a pot, they should be lightly watered for the first six to eight weeks, after that you can increase the watering to a more moderate level but don’t want them to be saturated constantly. Since they grow best in shady conditions, they do fine indoors or on shaded patios/balconies.

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Types & varieties

As the name suggests, most Fire Lilies are bright orange. However, they bloom in several other colors, though they may be more difficult to find. Aside from orange, some Fire Lilies will bloom in yellow, cream, or pink.

The cream and pink varieties are extremely rare and therefore quite expensive, but can be ordered from specialty shops.  Fire lilies are also in the same family as the amaryllis, a popular Christmas flower that strongly resembles the fire lily.



Do lilies prefer shade or sun?

Lilies prefer shady areas as opposed to direct sun or light. It’s best to be kept in an area that gets only morning or afternoon sun or where the sun is partially blocked for the full day.


Where can I plant lilium bulbs?

Lilies can be planted in pots, gardens, or yards. They are a versatile, robust flower that requires little care, little water, and little light. Indoors or outdoors doesn’t make much of a difference as long as there is good drainage and indirect or shaded light.


Are orange lilies poisonous to cats?

While many varieties of the lily family are extremely harmful to cats, the fire lily contains a lower amount of the lycorine alkaloid, making it less toxic to cats than other lilies. They would need to ingest a high amount of the flower, leaves, pollen, or stem to become ill.

Symptoms of toxicity would include vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. While the fire lily doesn’t poison cats on the same level as other members of the lily family, it’s still best to keep the pets away from the plants.


Are fire lilies real?

Yes, fire lilies are a real flower. Their scientific name is Lilium Bulbiferum and are part of the Hippeastrum family. They typically bloom in a bright orange color, giving it the fire lily name, but can also bloom in yellow, cream color, or pink, though those color varieties are more rare. 



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