Lillies changing colors

earthlydelights(6 pushing 7)June 12, 2007

Call me crazy, but this isn't the first time it's happened. Out front a group of what was assorted colors is now all orange.

I fell into more easter lillies after easter last year and the year before that are planted all over my property, in all of my gardens. So far, nothing is blooming white, although when I put them in the ground, their flowers were sure white.

I know I would NEVER, EVER plant or even buy that many orange lillies.

What would cause this to happen?



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Well I am wondering what kind of orange lily you have. If they are orange tiger lilies.....they spread by the little bulbils that form on the stem. These things spread like crazy. Perhaps your other lilies died out because of over-crowding or something. I can't say, I have ever had a lily change colours on me, once I have actually seen the bloom and what colour it is. Sometimes I get bulbs that are miss labeled.....but thats a different problem.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 11:35AM
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hld6(z7 MD)

Lilium Longiflorum isn't the most cold hardy lily. You are more likely to get a marginally cold hardy variety of Longiflorum since the lilies you "fell in to" were most likely florist lilies.

Do the orange blooms you have otherwise look/act like a Longiflorum (i.e., a sweetly scented trumpet shape).

Asiatics and tiger lilies (that commonly come in orange colors) are not scented, have a different shaped bloom, and a different arrangement of blooms about the stem.

That would help you determine whether you have a miscolored Longiflorum or if your easter lilies died over the winter and you are seeing a different lily altogether.


    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 12:52AM
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earthlydelights(6 pushing 7)

thanks for your responses. i'll do more investigation, post a pioture.

i know my lilies didn't die, they are coming up everywhere they've been planted. some are white and some are orange. i know for a fact that i would never have planted all these orange lilies. i also know that when they went into the ground, they were white flowers.

it's just one of those strange happenings, i guess...isn't the first one, won't be the last one.

thanks for the responses,

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 1:40AM
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my neighbor swears that tiger lilies will cross pollinate my cultivated lilies and turn them orange. Is this an old wives tale? After reading about their spreading habit I wonder if that's more likely.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 2:01PM
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Hi i have a question about lilys changing colors. I bought a plant with 3 blooms of tiger lilys. when i bought them there were orange ( that is why i bought them in the first place cause i love tiger lilys) I planted them in 2 different locations. 2 in back year and one in the front. after the died and the next year when they came up they were not orange they were yellow. they look just like they did when i bought them and planted them but yellow. why would they change to yellow. They still look like the tiger lily just a differnt color =( this really upsets me cause I really love the orange tiger lilys. and help is welcomed cause i want the back to being orange lol ty

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 9:16PM
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lmao, i thought i was crazy because the same thing happened to mother had moved and given me all of her easter lilies i had given her over the years. the first year i had them they were white, then the next year and ever since they have been yellow!! I do have orange lilies in the same area, I honestly don't know what they are, but they are layered, each varies..2-6 layers. I thought maybe the whites somehow got yellow from the oranges? I love all lilies, but i miss my white easter lilies.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2007 at 11:46AM
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Maybe someone who hybridizes lilies and has some genetic know-how will chime in. It strikes me that if you purchase Asiatic Lily collections, even though the selection starts out with a nice mix, the orange are dominant and the most prolific of the colors and will return year after year throwing out new bulbs and stems, while the pinks, yellows, creams, peaches, etc. will gradually get crowded out. I saw this happen with my Father's massed planted "collection". For a while other colors would show up, but never as vigorous as the orange.

I also just noticed in an old bulb catalog that the LA Hybrid mixtures so popular for naturalizing are crosses of Lilium Longiforum (Easter lily) and Asiatics. Perhaps the genetics are there for Easter lilies to color revert as well. To mass produce to meet consumption demands, there's no telling whether or not each type is reliably color stable anymore.

In my own experience, I don't mass plant Asiatics. I purchased some Pixies in cream, pink, yellow, and bronze/red a few years back. The clumps are separated from eachother and used as accents for other plant groupings, but all in the same bed as a large area of Tiger lilies. All of the Pixies are still the colors I purchased; Stargazer, Lollypop, Monte Negro and so on are exactly as they should be as well - no cross pollinating, crowding out.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2007 at 5:39PM
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hld6(z7 MD)

Hi All
With respect to the original question (and the follow up by daniellalell) regarding Easter Lily changing color,

L. Longiflorum (Easter Lily) is so distinctive from the types of lilies that commonly come in orange (Asiatics & Tiger lilies) that it should be easy to tell the difference between a miscolored Longiflorum and an Asiatic or tiger lily. Foliage, bloom shape, bloom arrangement on the stem, and scent, are all very different.

The lily divisions classify the hybrids of those species that are closely related and hence intermingle easily. The Longiflorum Division in comprised of hybrids of Longiflorum and Formosanum. Longiflorum itself is a species lily. "Named" longiflorum are cultivars (selections) of this species. All of the cultivars, and all Longiflorum in general, come only in white. (This isn't true for all species lilies - which many times have color variability.)

Crosses across divisions, such as Longiflorum (Div. 5) with Asiatics (Div. 1), happen via embryo rescue, not in nature. Lilies sold as colored "Longiflorum" are actually LLO's and LLA's, where the second cross back to Longiflorum (also by embryo rescue) may produce an easter lily habit (bloom, shape, scent) but with color.

Some of my interspecific hybrids show some color variability. I have Triumphator (an LO) where one bulb has blooms this season with very little pink in the throat - where that is usually much stronger. However, I haven't had any of my LO's, orientals, or species (including asiatic species), change color to something else entirely.

As for beds with mixed collections of the same type of lily (say asiatics), without labeling each bulb and checking its color from year to year there would be no way of distinguishing between a bulb "changing color", one color spreading better than the others, or if these cloely related lilies were mixing and getting new plants from seed. Also, hybrids that make viable seed, even without pollination from a different lily, produce plants NOT true to type. Reproduction by leaf axil bulbil and stem or bulb bulbets IS true to type (clones).

Just my $0.02


    Bookmark   July 7, 2007 at 2:46AM
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Does anyone have anymore information about this subject? I was doing a Google search on Easter lilies changing color and came across this posting. My mother gave me 2 white easter lilies 2 years ago. I planted them in the ground. I have absolutely no other lilies and have been in this house for 6 years now. I can assure everyone I have not planted any other lilies of any kind at all. I planted them in my existing flower bed where I have a variety of roses, bouganvillas, gardenias, pride of barbados, yellow bells and some herbs. Last year, they came back with additional planst and all of them were white. As sure as I'm living, this year, they came back again, but the flowers are a mix of the original white easter lilies, in addition to red lilies and yellow lilies! They all look exactly the same, except the colors are all different. I'm trying to figure out what is happening with these...any input?

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 11:56AM
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    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 10:17AM
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Every year I plant my "white" easter lily in my flower bed. I have quite a collection now but every single one of them has come back with orange flowers. Who's saying this can't happen? I guess I'm not the only one.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 5:11PM
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I have white easter lilies planted every year for the last ten (?) years at two separate homes. No daylilies at one house orange and yellow daylilies at the other. Where there are daylilies the easter lilies have turned orange and red with white also on the red! At the home without daylilies the easter lilies stayed white.
Don't know if this was coincidence or not but thought it was interesting. The red and white coming up from the same plant is really interesting.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 12:14PM
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When I planted madonna lilies 5 years ago the blossoms
were white. Over the past 3 years they have changed to
a very pale yellow. Can this be due to a soil deficiency or change in ph?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 11:28AM
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tony469(modesto zone 9)

Ok not a lily guy..but a couple of years ago I found a wild tiger lily?..out in the forest by a stream ..dug it out took it home and planted it..the next year flower came true to form and color...this year we had 100+ heat for over a week..and the flowers came out white and bigger..I have lived here at this house for the last five years and I have never had any Lilly's of any don't see it being. A dormant lily that popped up in its place.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 10:15AM
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