Golden Splendor Lily: History, Characteristics & Cultivation

Lilium ‘Golden Splendor’, also known as Golden Splendour Lily, is a hybrid lily developed as part of the trumpet lily group. It was developed in the mid-20th century by Dr. Jan de Graaff by crossing different trumpet lilies. Dr. de Graaff is credited with developing many notable lily cultivars. He developed this lily at the Oregon Bulb Farms, which he owned in Gresham.

Golden Splendor lily has Large (up to 6 inches wide) golden yellow trumpet-shaped flowers with a burgundy or maroon reverse. The blooms can face outwards or droop slightly. Flowers appear in umbels atop sturdy, rigid, leafy stems. Each stem carries 12-20 flowers. Long-lasting fresh cut flower. This cultivar has received numerous awards and accolades from horticultural societies.

This adaptable lily is happy in USDA zones 4-8. It is suitable for gardens across much of the United States, from cooler northern regions to warmer southern areas. It can withstand winter temperatures as low as -30°F (-34°C) to 10°F (-12°C). With proper care, this can thrive and bloom for many years. It is a perennial plant and thus will return each year in the garden.

Characteristics of Golden Splendor lily

  • Size and Growth Habit: This is a tall and stately lily, reaching heights of 3-5 feet with a sturdy, upright stem. It grows in a clumping form, producing multiple flowering stems from a single bulb.
  • Growth Rate: This is a fast-growing lily, putting on significant growth throughout the spring and early summer.
  • Flower: It has huge, outward-facing trumpet-shaped flowers, about 6-8 inches The color is a golden yellow, usually with contrasting burgundy stripes on the outside of the petals. Each stem produces a cluster of 12-20 of these blooms.
  • Bloom Time: It blooms in mid to late summer. The flowering period can last several weeks, with individual blooms remaining open for a week or more.
  • Fragrance: It has intense fragrance. The blooms emit a strong, sweet scent, particularly in the evening and early morning.
  • USDA Zone: Golden Splendor thrives in USDA zones 4-8. It can withstand winter temperatures as low as -30°F (-34°C) to 10°F (-12°C).
  • Lifespan: With proper care, they can thrive and bloom for many years. They are perennial plants that will return each year.
  • Hardiness: This cultivar has ability to withstand cold winters and hot summers.
  • Disease & Pests: It has good resistance to many common lily diseases, such as botrytis blight and basal rot. However, like all lilies, it can be susceptible to pests like lily beetles and aphids.

Cultivation Tips


  • Location: Choose a location that receives full sun to part shade. Ideally, the base of the plant should be in some shade, while the flowers reach for the sun.
  • Timing: Plant the bulbs in spring or fall, depending on your climate. In warmer zones (USDA zones 7 and 8), fall planting allows the roots to establish before winter. In colder zones (USDA zones 4-6), spring planting is the best to avoid harsh winter conditions.
  • Soil: It prefers well-drained, fertile soil. Amending your planting area with organic matter like compost or aged manure will help ensure good drainage and provide nutrients for growth.
  • Depth: Plant the bulbs with the pointed end facing upwards at a depth of 6-8 inches. Space multiple bulbs at least 12-18 inches apart to allow for proper growth and air circulation.


  • Watering: Water the lilies regularly, especially during their first growing season and during hot, dry periods. Aim to keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy.
  • Feeding: A light feeding in early spring with a balanced fertilizer can give your lilies a boost. However, avoid over-fertilizing, as this can encourage excessive foliage growth at the expense of flowers.
  • Support: As the flower stalks mature and become laden with blooms, they may require support to prevent them from bending or breaking. Stakes or plant cages can be helpful for taller lilies like Golden Splendor.
  • Deadheading: Once the blooms fade, remove the flower heads to encourage the plant to focus its energy on bulb development for next year’s show. Don’t cut down the entire stem though; allow the foliage to die back naturally, as this helps replenish the bulb for future flowering.
  • Winter Protection: In colder zones (USDA zones 4-5), you may want to provide some winter protection for your bulbs. Apply a layer of mulch (such as straw or leaves) around the base of the plant after the ground freezes. Remove the mulch in spring as new growth emerges.