Asiatic and Oriental lilies are grown extensively outdoors for cut-flower production in the United States and Canada. All bulbs used for cut-flower production are grown in The Netherlands, New Zealand, or the Northwestern United States.
Lily bulbs have a solid basal plate that produces roots from its bottom and a concentric series of tight-to-loose, fleshy, overlapping scales of varying width from its top. Mature bulbs are 4 to 9 inches in circumference.
Most lilies produce a single unbranched stem bearing linear leaves in a whorled or random pattern. Some lilies produce roots along the stem from the top of the bulb to slightly above the soil surface. These roots assist in supporting the plant and absorbing water and nutrients.
Lilies bloom naturally from May to September in zones 9 to 4. Blooming time may be manipulated by staggering the springtime planting of cold-stored bulbs or by selecting a mix of both Asiatic and Oriental cultivars.
Lilies may bear a solitary flower or a multiflowered umbel. Lily flowers appear in wide array of colors ranging from white to yellow, pink, orange, and red. Many lilies have flowers with secondary colors or speckled blooms. The flowers may be borne erect, horizontal, or drooping, and can be funnel-shaped to bell-shaped.
Lily flowers can be stored for 4 to 6 weeks after harvesting and have a vase life of 7 to 14 days if harvested at the right stage and given the proper treatment.