What Does a Trumpet Lily Plant Look Like?

by June Farquhar
New strains of trumpet lilies are bred often to suit personal tastes.

New strains of trumpet lilies are bred often to suit personal tastes.

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Trumpet lilies, which are hybrids, are in the shape of a trumpet. The plant is derived from Asiatic lilies, but they are crossbred to be fragrant, which an Asiatic lily is not. The petals start narrow near the stem and flair out like the end of a trumpet. Some trumpet lily petals are wide and others are thin and delicate. Trumpets often bloom in June or July, depending on the plants they are derived from, and grow best in regions that do not have severe winters.


Trumpet lily stems come in different heights and thicknesses. During the first year, they only reach half their adult height, but in preparation for greater height some gardeners like to put a stake in the ground next to the bulb when planting it so that the plant can be given extra support when it reaches maturity. With most species, staking is not necessary. If staking is needed, it's best to place a short stake (about 12 inches) into the ground beside the bulb. This shorter stake can be replaced the following year with a longer stake without harming the bulb. Some trumpet lilies can reach 7 feet or more at maturity, but for many a 4-foot support stake is ample.


Trumpet lilies provide a burst of color in the landscape. The leaves are green and curl softly at the center vein. The abundance of color choices makes this a favorite for those who want to match a flower color with other objects in their yards, patios or houses. Different colors can also be bred from existing colors, and new styles and colors are introduced often by breeders.

Color Variations

Outside of the variety of colors, there may also be a variety of color styles or variances. Some trumpet lilies are one solid color, but in many cases the trumpet is one color and the reverse (inside or outside the trumpet, often fading from the main color) is another color, sometimes contrasting and sometimes a darker or lighter variant of the trumpet color. New color variants are made by crossing plants; the new lilies are called strains. New strains may be different in appearance and bloom season. When a lily is cloned, however, it is identical to the plant it came from.

Flower Abundance

Besides varying in color, flower size and height, trumpet lilies vary in number and abundance of flowers. Plants with longer stems provide a greater abundance of flowers. The Madame Butterfly, which is 7 feet at maturity, is an example of abundance. At maturity it produces about 30 flowers. An abundance of flowers means more weight on the stem, and it is often best to offer greater support by staking.

About the Author

June Farquhar has been writing for newspapers and special publications in California since 1998. She's the recipient of a press club award for organizing and designing a 42-page "Red Ribbon Week" tabloid, which received recognition from the California State Assembly and the U.S. House of Representatives. Farquhar studied newspaper journalism at Bakersfield College.

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