In the Garden

Perfume Your Garden with Lilies

The garden season is filled with flowers and scents that may generate fond memories of our past. You can add some delightful fragrance to your gardens and create new memories by growing hardy lilies.

Most people have heard of and perhaps even grown the world’s most popular lily, Stargazer. This Oriental lily is reliable, compact, and early blooming. It will give you lots of big, colorful, sweetly fragrant flowers.

Stargazer deserves a spot in any garden, but there are many other lilies to consider as well. Growing several different types of lilies in your garden can extend the beauty and fragrance for months.

Start the lily season with a blast of color from Asiatic lilies. The variety of colors will brighten any garden bed and their lack of fragrance is a plus for those who are sensitive to strong scents.

Sunset Mix includes an assortment of Asiatic lilies with large upward facing flowers of gold, rose, and apricot. Complement these warm hues with the deep maroon flowers of Mapira. Or mix things up with another collection of Asiatic lilies such as the Summer Wine Mix, with white, blush pink, and burgundy blooms.

Oriental Lily, Casablanca
Oriental Lily, Casablanca

Asiatics grow well in containers, too.

Add some light fragrance and color to the midsummer garden with Longiflorum-Asiatic (LA) lilies. These hybrids combine the best of both parents. You’ll enjoy both the upward-facing flowers of the Asiatic as well as the larger flowers and sweet fragrance of Longiflorum lilies. LA lilies come in many lovely colors. Those like Yellow Diamond, with its sunny yellow blooms, are sure to brighten any spot in the garden.

Boost the midsummer lily display by including Oriental Asiatic (OA) lilies. These hybrids combine the Asiatic lilies’ compact height and upward-facing flowers with the large, sweetly fragrant Oriental lily blooms.

Keep the color and fragrance alive in your garden with Oriental lilies that flower in the late-summer. You’ll have lots of colors and heights to choose from. There’s Dizzy, with its crimson-striped white flowers, and Casablanca, which blooms slightly later and has snow-white flowers that measure 10 inches across. Casablancas can perfuming the whole garden. Or add some distinctive color with the flowers of Salmon Star, with their yellow stripes and bright orange freckles.

Rosellily Double Oriental Lily
Rosellily Double Oriental Lily

Boost the end-of-the-season display with double Oriental lilies.

Each of these flowers has a dozen or more extra petals, giving them a unique look that’s sure to command a second glance. The new Roselily series of double Orientals are outstanding cut flowers. Look for varieties such as pure white Aisha and hot pink Tatsjana.

Plant lily bulbs in spring or fall. Either way, you’ll enjoy their color throughout the summer. Ensure success by planting them in full sun and well-drained soil. Take care to protect them from rabbits and deer. They are winter-hardy in Zones 4 to 9 and can be grown as annuals in Zones 3, 10, and 11. For more growing tips, read Longfield Garden’s 8 Tips for Growing Better Lilies.

Whether you are growing lilies for cutting, summer color, or to perfume the garden, you’ll want to find room for as many lilies as possible. These impressive, florist-quality flowers make a big impact in gardens of any size.


Melinda Myers

Melinda Myers is a nationally known gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist. She has more than 35 years of horticulture experience, a master’s degree in horticulture and has written over 20 books, including Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” gardening DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments as well as columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazineVisit her website at

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