Why is Stargazer the World’s Most Popular Lily?
I have a weakness for lilies. There’s no other flower with such extravagant, exotic-looking, exquisitely formed and sweetly perfumed flowers. Though I have dozens of them in my garden, it’s never enough.
I am not alone in my affection for lilies. They’re the 4th most popular cut flower in the world, right behind roses, chrysanthemums and tulips. But most people, whether they live in Kalamazoo, Paris or Tokyo, only have eyes for one very particular variety of lily: Stargazer. They ask for them by name and they’ll take no substitutes.
How much does Stargazer dominate the lily market? Holland produces more than 10 million Stargazer bulbs every year!
Most lily bulbs — 98% of them — are grown for cut flowers. These bulbs are forced in greenhouses and then cut, packed and shipped to market. No lily has ever been better at being a cut flower than Stargazer. Here’s why:
- The bulbs are easy to propagate. This is important when you need to produce millions of bulbs at a time.
- When Stargazer bulbs are forced, they bloom 2 weeks earlier than similar varieties.
- The stems are naturally shorter than most other Oriental lilies, which is good for shipping.
- Stargazer bulbs typically produce 1 and often 2 more buds per stem than other varieties.
- Consistent demand means there’s always a good supply of bulbs and prices stay relatively low.
- Being an Oriental lily, Stargazers are intensely fragrant as well as beautiful.
Stargazer is just as popular with home gardeners as it is with commercial growers. This is partly due to name recognition. But it’s also because Stargazer is an excellent performer in the garden. It is reliable, compact and early blooming, producing lots of flowers on every stem. And the flowers you get at home are just as big, colorful and sweetly fragrant as the ones you get from a florist.
Commercial flower producers need to stick with varieties they know will sell and deliver a profit. Home gardeners get to be much more adventurous.
Shown above: Oriental Lily Dizzy
There are many excellent Oriental lilies to choose from and each variety is a new opportunity to add more fragrance and color to your summer garden. Some of these varieties are taller (Dizzy), bloom later (Casablanca), have a unique flower style (Playtime) or unusual colors (Cobra).
Shown above: Oriental Lily Salmon Star
Some of the newest introductions, such as Salmon Star, have flowers that can measure 9 or 10″ across.
Now is the time to order lilies for planting this spring. We won’t ship them to you until proper planting time for your zone, but ordering now will ensure you get the ones you want. Click here to see our full selection of lilies. Want to learn more about different types of lilies and when they bloom? Read the article Bloom Times for Lilies.