New for 2015: Kaveri Oriental-Asiatic Lily


Every new gardening season brings a flurry of new plant varieties. Sometimes there’s a real gem in that list, and for 2015 that nugget of gold is Kaveri, an exciting new type of hybrid lily that’s destined for greatness.

Kaveri is an inter-species hybrid — a cross between an Oriental lily and an Asiatic lily — and it will be known as an OA lily. Today, some of the world’s most popular lilies are inter-species hybrids. Large and sweetly fragrant OT lilies, such as Purple Prince and Yelloween, were created by crossing Oriental lilies with Trumpet lilies. Richly colored LA hybrids such as Fangio and Yellow Diamond combine the best features of Longiflorum and Asiatic lilies. 

Dutch lily specialist Ko Klaver has been closely involved with bringing OA hybrids to market. As he explains, “the motivation to come up with OA hybrids was to try and combine the bright colors, high bud count and early bloom time of an Asiatic lily with the fragrance, strength and size of an Oriental lily.”

Achieving that goal hasn’t been easy. “This development is very new,” says Ko. “During the past 10-15 years, the science of breeding plants has come a long way, and we needed these breakthroughs to make the OA hybrids happen.”

Though a few other OA hybrids have made it to market, the new Kaveri OA hybrid is the first one that has lily enthusiasts buzzing. “Kaveri is truly a remarkable breakthrough,” says Ko. “It’s an exciting introduction to the world-wide market and will set the standard for future OA hybrids.”

Many hybrid lilies are bred to be grown in pots, but Kaveri was bred for the garden. The bulbs require nothing more than a sunny location and well-drained, fertile soil. This new OA hybrid is both taller and fuller than a typical Asiatic lily, with strong, 4 foot stems and glossy leaves.

Kaveri’s gorgeous flowers are its crowning glory. Each stem produces 6 to 8 buds that open into large, upward-facing blossoms in glowing sunset colors of yellow-gold, tangerine and brick red. Bloom time is early summer, right after the peonies and iris. As you might expect, this new OA hybrid is also beautiful in bouquets and has a long vase life.

Supplies of Kaveri are limited, so if you want to be one of the first to grow it, please order early so you don’t miss out!