Lilium 'Forever Susan'
Common Name: Asiatic lily 
Type: Bulb
Family: Liliaceae
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Deep burgundy flowers with orange accents
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Good Cut


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers rich, organic soils. Best with upper plant in full sun and roots in shade. Mulch around plants to keep root zone cool. Plant bulbs 4-6” deep in fall or very early spring (some nurseries only ship bulbs in fall, however). Potted plants may be planted any time from spring to fall. Plant in groups of three for best display and space 12” apart. Bulbs need good even moisture year-round. Do not allow soil to dry out. Too much moisture, however, may lead to bulb rot. Remove flowers as they fade to prevent seed from setting. After bloom, cut plants back only after leaves and stems turn yellow. Taller plants may need staking.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Lilium is a genus of about 100 species of bulbous, herbaceous perennials native to Europe, North America and Asia south to the Philippines. Lilies typically feature 6-tepaled flowers in a variety of shapes (trumpet, funnel, cup, bell, bowl or flat), sometimes nodding, sometimes with reflexed petals, atop stiff, unbranched stems (1-8' tall) clothed with linear to elliptic leaves. Flowers are often fragrant and come in a broad range of colors except blue. For classification purposes, the Royal Horticultural Society and North American Lily Society have organized hybrid lilies into eight (8) divisions based primarily upon parentage, habit and flower type:

Division 1. Asiatic Hybrids. Derived from several Asiatic species. Upward, outward or downward facing flowers on stems 2-5’ tall. Usually non-fragrant. Blooms early summer.

Division 2. Martagon Hybrids. Derived from L. martagon and L. hansonii. Nodding, turk’s cap-type flowers with strongly reflexed tepals on stems 3-6’ tall. Often unpleasantly aromatic. Blooms early summer.

Division 3. Candidum Hybrids. Derived from in large part from L. candidum (madonna lily). Funnel-shaped flowers on stems 3-4’ tall. Often sweetly fragrant. Blooms early summer.

Division 4. American Hybrids. Derived from certain native American species lilies. Mostly turk’s cap-type but some funnel-shaped flowers on stem 4-8’ tall. Most non-fragrant. Blooms late spring to early summer.

Division 5. Longiflorum Hybrids. Derived from L. longiflorum (Easter lily). Mostly bowl-shaped flowers with somewhat reflexed tepals on stems to 3’ tall. Fragrant. Blooms mid-summer.

Division 6. Trumpet and Aurelian Hybrids. Derived from certain Asian species (e.g., L.henryi and L. regale). Classic long trumpets are the division signature, but other shapes exist (flat, bowl, reflexed). Stems to 4-8’ tall. Usually fragrant. Blooms in summer.

Division 7. Oriental Hybrids. Derived from certain East Asian species (e.g., L. auratum, L. speciosum, L. japonicum). Mostly bowl- or flat-shaped flowers, some with reflexed tepals on stems 2-8’ tall. Usually highly fragrant. Blooms mid-late summer.

Division 8. Other Hybrids. Catchall category of hybrids whose individual parents are otherwise assigned to more than one division..

Genus name comes from the Latin name meaning lily.

‘Forever Susan’ is an Asiatic hybrid lily that typically grows to 2-3’ tall. Upward-facing flowers are deep burgundy highlighted by bright orange accents. Flowers bloom mid-June through July.


Lily leaf beetles can be problematic in certain areas. Potential diseases include lily mosaic virus (prompt control of aphids which vector the disease is highly recommended, since there is no cure once infection occurs), bulb rot (particularly in wet, poorly drained soils), and botrytis. Plants may need staking if grown in too much shade (stems weaken) or in locations exposed to strong winds.

Garden Uses

An excellent, showy flower that provides color and contrast in summer to the perennial border. Plant in groups. Also grows well in pots, but flowers will be somewhat smaller.