Elegant Lilies

Fragrance, color choices and presence make lilies a natural star in the garden.
Mix and Match Scented Lilies with Summer Annuals

Mix and Match Scented Lilies with Summer Annuals

Mix scented summer lilies with other flowering perennials and annuals, including a trailing sweet potato vine, in a vibrant blue patio container.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Mix scented summer lilies with other flowering perennials and annuals, including a trailing sweet potato vine, in a vibrant blue patio container.

Large, dramatic flowers in an array of colors make lilies a favorite for both garden and home, but those with the added bonus of scent are the most prized. The intoxicating perfume of the Oriental hybrids will fill the air of a large garden, while the delicate flowers of some species have a more subtle fragrance.

Many lilies are towering beasts best suited to the border, but the species Lilium formosanum var. pricei is a knee-high beauty with large flowers that match those of a regal lily for size and scent. Although this compact plant looks good on its own in a container, where it will happily spread to provide a bigger and better display each summer, it is also perfect for combining with other flowers and foliage to produce a long-lasting summer design. The blooms are the main feature of the lily, while its uninspiring foliage can be disguised with the leaves and daisylike flowers of a hardy gerbera, and the lime-green sweet potato vine, Ipomoea batatas Margarita. This bushy, trailing plant produces masses of lush growth throughout summer and early autumn until stopped in its tracks by frost. 

Caring for Lilies 

Its compact shape means that Lilium formosanum var. pricei doesn’t need staking, but taller lilies will require stakes to support their flower stems. Water pots a few times a week in the summer, and in the fall remove and compost the frosted Ipomoea. Garvinea gerberas are hardy down to about 23°F (-5°C), as is the lily, and if the pot is set close to the house in a sheltered location and protected from excessive rain, it should survive the winter outside. However, if temperatures threaten to fall below 23°F (-5°C), bring the pot inside. In the spring, feed with a slow-release granular fertilizer worked into the top layer of compost.

Planting Tips

Lily bulbs are best planted in the fall or spring. Fill the bottom third of a pot with compost and add 1 1⁄4 inches (3cm) of horticultural sand. Lay the bulbs on the sand on their sides; this allows water to drain from their scales, preventing them from rotting. Finally, top off the container with more compost

Next Up

Elegant Window Box Arrangement

White lilies and diascia combine to create a sublime container garden that also looks beautiful at night.

African Lily: Our Favorite Flowers

Learn about this clumping evergreen that blooms in late summer or early fall.

Elegant Standard Trees

Standard trees make a bold statement in the garden but can be expensive to buy, but with a little patience and the right care you can create your own, as long as the plant has a strong lead shoot.

Paul's New Plant Picks

Master gardener Paul James shows off some new plants for his containers.

Sculptural Garden Plants

Create a bit of drama in your garden with these surprisingly easy foliage plants in large containers.

Plant a Pot of Wallflowers

Wallflowers are biennial plants, which means they live for two years, producing leaves in the first and flowers in the second. Buy them with bare roots and plant in fall, ready to bloom the following spring.

Flowering Succulents

Eye-catching blooms transform drought-tolerant plants.

Fuchsia Plant

Learn about fuchsia plants, including tips for care, from the experts at HGTV Gardens. Learn ways to increase fuchsia flower numbers.

How to Plant Sunflowers in Decorative Pots

Make sunflowers even more cheery with this step-by-step guide to designing fun pots to plant them in.

Potting Pansies

Use these flowers as engaging container garden centerpieces.