There are many plants referred to as lilies. However in the strictest sense of the word lilies are a member of the lilium species. There are about 100 species of lilium subdivided into nine divisions, many subdivisions, and numerous garden varieties.
Lilies have showy flowers. There are six petals, which, sometimes curved, make for a beautiful presentation.
Lilies grow best above zone 9 because they require a cold dormant period.
Grow in well-drained soil. Check the species preference for alkaline or acidic soil. It varies.
Most prefer sun but want to have a cool, shady base.
Most can be left for many years and allowed to multiply on their own.
Propagation is by seed or by offsets from the main bulb.
In her book, "Wicked Plants," Amy Stewart says that "All parts of lilies are toxic to cats, causing kidney failure and death within twenty-four to forty-eight hours.'
(Asiatic Lily photos submitted by Laurie Schwappach from her garden in New Mexico.)