Lilium ‘Black Beauty’

Bred half a century ago by Leslie Woodriff, this is the original Orienpet Lily, combining the best of Oriental and trumpet lilies into one delightful plant.
If only other flowers possessed a tenth of this exciting Lily’s drama and color depth, what stunning places our gardens would be! ‘Black Beauty’ is the original Orienpet cultivar, bred half a century ago and now the parents of many a modern variety! A magnificent mid- to late-summer bloomer, it sets masses of deep claret-colored blooms, each delicately outlined in white. You couldn’t get better, more nicely defined color if you painted the blooms yourself, and with this super-easy plant, the show just gets better with each passing year.
These flowers are breathtaking. Their recurved (bent back) petals are a deep cherry red with a lime green throat, bold brick-red anthers, and the faintest white edging you’ve ever seen — just a dusting of “notice me” contrast! No wonder ‘Black Beauty’ was the first Orienpet admitted to the Lily Society’s Hall of Fame!
The blooms measure 3 to 4 inches across and arise in large, showy clusters on plants that reach 3 to 4 feet tall but only 1½ feet wide. This Lily colonizes nicely once it feels at home in your garden, so leave room for it to spread or plan to divide it every 2 to 3 years.
Needless to say, the blooms are ideal for cutting. Very thick and waxy, they hold up a long time indoors, even in the hot, humid late-season weather. Indoors or out, they are splendid companions to other Lilies. Plant them in the middle to back of the sunny border or bed, letting them arise behind lower-growing shrubs and perennials.
Now, you may be wondering what the devil an “Orienpet” Lily is. Well, as its name hints, it’s a hybrid of Oriental and trumpet types. Renowned breeder Leslie Woodriff pioneered the Orienpets. A cross of Lilium speciosum rubrum and Lilium henryi, ‘Black Beauty’ was the first to sport the now classic Orienpet characteristics of long bloomtime, nodding, reflexed flowers that arise in gigantic candelabra on plants so vigorous and staunch they don’t need staking. As the years pass, the plants just get bigger and better, sending out bulblets to start new Lilies among the old.
Space these plants about 2 feet apart in well-drained, enriched soil, and water during dry periods, especially during the first year.