Nongenetic variation in cut flower longevity due to plant characteristics was investigated in whole inflorescences and individual flowers of Asiatic hybrid lilies (Lilium L.). To distinguish this variation from genetic variation, plant characteristics of five cultivars were varied by using bulbs of three significantly different weight classes per cultivar. Inflorescence longevity depended on total number of floral buds, number of buds opening and variation in bud length. Variation in individual flower longevity per cultivar appeared to be small, despite a larger number of buds per stem with increasing bulb weight. Plant characteristics caused only small nongenetic variation in individual flower longevity when compared to inflorescence longevity. Therefore, individual flower longevity appears to be the best criterion to discriminate among longevity levels for a lily breeding program.