Many beautiful plants in summer gardens have the name "lily" attached to them. Most of these belong to the lily family but are fairly distant relatives of the plants we recognize as lilies. It's important to know that none of these so-called lilies can be treated exactly as the Asiatic lilies or the oriental lilies that we're familiar with. For instance, many are not as hardy.
Pineapple Lilies have the botanical name of Eucomis. They're a zone 8 plant and in warm coastal gardens come through mild winters if they're under a deep, leafy mulch. In cooler gardens, eucomis does best in containers brought inside for winter. It produces a fat spike of starry blooms in white, pink or purple with a tuft of green leaves on top like a pineapple.
Unlike many summer bulbs, the Pineapple Lily flowers for many weeks and still looks good when the flowers are replaced by fat, green seeds. Purple-leaved forms are being developed as well as hybrids such as Leia, which has large, pink flowers.
The Calla Lily is really an arum with the Latin name of Zantedeschia. It loves moisture and warm, sheltered places. The old almost-hardy favourite still planted outside in gardens is the white form Crowborough, which reliably over-winters under mulch.
The pink, purple, red or yellow Calla Lilies that are sold widely in spring are hybrids with more tender varieties and need winters indoors. These thrive in warm places with lots of moisture such as container ponds or bog gardens.
The Foxtail Lily has the Latin name of Eremurus. It's a hardy, semi-desert plant that can grow up to 10-feet tall topped with a long spike of densely clustered shallow cups with long, stamens. Basic flowers are white, yellow and pink, but hybrid colours include orange, red, deep pink and coppery tones. The wide-spreading rhizomes (evolved to absorb water quickly in rare desert rains) look like skinny starfish. Eremerus plants can last for years if you keep rain off them in winter when they are dormant.
Lily relatives also include African Lilies that are often sold by their true Latin name: Agapanthus. The tender varieties throw up stout, tall stems topped by spectacular balls of blue, violet or white tubular flowers. These Agapanthus are perfect for well-drained patio containers in full sun. But they must spend winter indoors. A few agapanthus varieties survive winter outdoors under mulch even in the chilly Fraser Valley. These are dwarf, deciduous and the clumps slowly enlarge. Plants can sometimes be found in specialist nurseries but are easy from seed. Headbourne Hybrids is one hardy variety and this seed is offered by Chiltern Seeds in the UK and also by Thompson and Morgan.
Daylilies are botanically called Hemerocallis. They're popular because they grow in most garden soils and produce flowers over several weeks (though each flower lasts only one day). The most flowers are produced by feeding them lavishly and growing them in a sunny spot.