LILIACEAE        LILY FAMILY

INTRODUCTION:  The lily family is a very large family of monocots.  Many are used as ornamentals in the landscape.  Some botanists lump many members of the Agavaceae in with the Liliaceae, but that is not done here.  Most of the common house plants in the lily family are grown for their foliage.  Some bulbous forms with showy flowers would be grown similar to the bulb plants described in the general section on bulbs above.  Some members of the family are food crops, for example, asparagus, and others are grown for medicinal uses, for example aloe. 
 Aloe barbadensis, often called Aloe vera,  is commonly known as the burn plant for its effectiveness in treating burns but it has many other medicinal uses.  There are many other species of Aloe that are also attractive house plants.  The aloes have a rosette of fleshy leaves that are very succulent and not fibrous as are the leaves of agaves.  Many aloes have variegated leaves with spots and stripes and often toothed edges.  The flowers are attractive and occur in the winter. 
 Asparagus ferns are members of the species Asparagus densiflorus, often referred to as Asparagus sprengeri.  These are flowering plants and only called “fern” due to the vague resemblance of some of the members to ferns.  They produce long stems covered with fine leaves and, in many cases, thorns.  These plants are very rugged and many have fleshy tuberous roots.  Flowers are small and inconspicuous. 
 The genus Chlorophytum produces long flower stalks that also produce plantlets at their nodes.  The distinct appearance of the stolons of plantlets gives this plant its common names, airplane plant and spider plant.  The chlorophytums all produce a rosette of strap-shaped leaves that are often variegated with white or yellow stripes.  The flowers are not very noticeable except that they appear on the long stems that also produce the plantlets. 
 Haworthia is a large genus with many house plant forms.  They produce rosettes of very succulent, small leaves that are often variegated with stripes or spots.  The zebra haworthia has small white tubercles that look like spots and merge in bright white lines against the dark green background, the zebra -like appearance leading to its common name. 
 
General Care of the Lily Family:  
   

   

temperature: Average room temperature is adequate.
medium: Well-drained medium typical of the succulent medium or general purpose medium described above.
water: Water thoroughly and allow to dry between waterings.
light: Most will tolerate lower light levels, but they grow best and are more colorful if grown in moderate to bright light.
fertilization: Light to moderate fertilization.
pests and problems: These are relatively pest and disease free plants.
grooming: Remove dead leaves and repot when they become crowded.
propagation: Suckers, separation of offsets, division and seed are the common methods of propagation.

 

 
Virtual Garden's Directory of Flowering House Plants