Giving Stargazer Lilies

Stargazer Asiatic lilies carry pollen at the end of their protruding stamens. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Stargazer Asiatic lilies carry pollen at the end of their protruding stamens. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Giving Stargazer Lilies

One of the advantages of having a Missouri hillside pollinator garden is that I can share some of the flowering residents with friends. It’s fun to get floral jewelry like this gold orchid pin, too, but there is no substitute for the real fresh flowers.

In early July, my little collection of Stargazer lilies bloom, one of the most aromatic of my summer blooming perennials.

I picked up the bulbs on sale last year, not expecting many of them to survive but I have been pleasantly surprised.

The biggest issue with these lovely blooms is that they may need to be staked so they can stand up.

History of Stargazer Lilies

Stargazer lilies are, in a word, dramatic. The almost 6-inch wide individual flowers can easily command a room in a flower vase so they are fun to share.

The Stargazer was developed in 1978 by Leslie Woodruff. He cross-pollinated an Oriental lily and Asiatic lily bringing together the fragrance and shapely flowers of an Asiatic lily and bright colors as well as ‘hardy’ habits of an Oriental lily. Since the flowers open towards the sky, they were named Stargazers.

The most common stargazer lily species has petals of bright pink color and speckles in yellow and white hues. Pink, white and yellow are also available. The fragrance of the hybrid lilies is bold yet pleasant and heady. The flowers stay fresh for longer time and thanks to their sturdy stem, they are a fantastic choice as cut flowers and long-stemmed flower arrangements.

Remove Pollen

Before taking them inside, however, cut off the pollen at the end of the long stamens. The pollen will permanently stain anything and everything it touches, including the flower petals.

To remove the pollen, cut off the pollen from the end of the stamens.

At first I thought cutting off the pollen would completely change the look of the flower but I was wrong. They still look nice and, even better, still smell as lovely as ever.

Cut off the protruding stamens to minimize pollen stains. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Cut off the protruding stamens to minimize pollen stains. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

I do the trimming outside so the pollen can fall into the garden instead of covering my inside table surfaces as well as my hands.

Although I love the pollen for my pollinators, I do cut them off from gift flowers.

Here are the Stargazer lilies now in flower vases ready for the trip to their new homes.

These Stargazer Asiatic lilies are ready to be shared. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

These Stargazer Asiatic lilies are ready to be shared. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

To cut the Stargazer Asiatic lilies, make a 45-degree cut at the approximate length they will fit in a flower vase. Remove the bottom leaves so they don’t sit in the water.

If you are not sure the gift recipient will be around when you deliver them, add a gift card. I save the ones I get from florists so I can recycle them with one of my business cards.

Finally, to make sure the gift flowers arrive safely, I store them in one of my blue paint buckets with towels tucked inside around the flower vases to keep them from falling over and spilling water all over my car seats.

Ask me how I know that can happen.

Gift Stargazer Asiatic lilies travel in a blue bucket to make sure they arrive safely. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Gift Stargazer Asiatic lilies travel in a blue bucket to make sure they arrive safely. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

So much fun to share these lovely wonders. Don’t forget to save one for yourself; I put them in my bathrooms so that I can enjoy the scent when I am relaxing in the tub.

Charlotte