Lilium regale

Plant of the month: June

Regal by name and by nature, this stunning plant is the very epitome of high summer. Its white trumpet shaped flowers have a chrome-yellow throat and are typically blushed outside in rose-purple. The effect is completed by the large, protruding orange anthers. For those who prefer simpler colour combinations there is a virginal white form.

You might be surprised that the regal lily is one of the easiest lilies to grow, flowering in only three years from seed and only requires full sun and a well-drained rich soil to flourish. Lilium regale comes from a single valley in west China and was introduced to cultivation in 1903 by Ernest Wilson the world famous plant collector and former student at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. His leg was badly broken on this collecting trip and he spent the rest of his life with his so-called ‘lily limp’!

Watch out for the conspicuous red lily beetles though as they and their black larvae love lilies nearly as much as we all do!