How To Create a Lily Garden: Beautiful Lily Garden Ideas

Spring is the perfect time for outdoor planting, and out of all of the gorgeous spring flowers you could plant, there are none quite as graceful as a lily.

Better still, why not truly embrace the beauty of lilies by growing a garden full of them? These unique lily garden ideas will inspire your design when creating your garden. Utilizing pest control spray and organic insecticide are essential for maintaining the health and beauty of your lilies. Don’t overlook the importance of these treatments in protecting your precious flowers from damaging pests and ensuring their flourishing growth.

In today’s guide, we’ll discuss how you can use a range of different lilies to create the perfect lily garden. What’s more, we’ll also touch on how to plant and grow lilies so that you can enjoy your unique lily garden creations for as long as possible. Whether you dream of creating a garden comprised of true lilies or calla lilies, we’ve provided you with everything you need to know to achieve the perfect garden!

The Types of Lilies You Should Plant in Your Lily Garden

An excellent way to start creating a lily garden is to consider the type of lilies you want to plant and grow.

Below, we’ve explored some of the most popular lily varieties to help you style an outdoor area that suits your preferences.

1. Asiatic Lilies

Common Name Asiatic lilies, Connecticut King (yellow), Enchantment (orange), Monte Negro (red).
Botanical Name Lilium Asiatica
Family Liliaceae
Plant Type Flower
Size 2-3 ft. tall, 6-8 inches wide 
Sun Exposure Full or partial
Soil Type Well-drained 
Soil pHAlkaline, Neutral
Bloom Time Late Spring – Midsummer
Flower Color Red, Yellow, Orange, Pink, and White
Hardiness Zones 4-9 (USDA)
Native AreaAsia
Toxicity Toxic to people, toxic to pets

Asiatic lilies (Lilium asiatica) thrive between plant hardiness zones 4 and 9 and typically bloom between late spring and early summer.

A testament to elegance and sophistication, Asiatic lilies are perennial bulbs with trumpet-shaped flowers that come in a range of vivid colors.

Moreover, due to their hardiness, Asiatic lilies can thrive in full sun and partial shade, making them suitable for almost any type of garden. They also make excellent cut flowers, allowing you to enhance your indoor living space with a hint of fragrant freshness.

2. Oriental Lilies

Common Name Oriental lilies, Star Gazer (rose), Casa Blanca (white), Mona Lisa (pink).
Botanical Name Lilium oriental
Family Liliaceae
Plant TypeFlower
Size 3-4 ft. tall, 12 inches wide
Sun ExposureFull
Soil TypeWell-drained 
Soil pHAcidic
Bloom Time Mid-Late Summer
Flower Color Red, Pink, Purple, Yellow, and White 
Hardiness Zones 5-9 (USDA)
Native AreaJapan
Toxicity Toxic to pets 

Oriental lilies, otherwise known as Lilium oriental, do well between plant hardiness zones 5 and 9, displaying beautiful flowers from late summer to early fall.

Like Asiatic lilies, oriental lilies have trumpet-shaped flowers and vibrant colors but with a more potent scent. These lilies make excellent cut flowers for arrangements and bouquets.Oriental lilies are exotic beauties producing large flowers on tall and sturdy stems with dark green foliage. Expect a striking contrast between your lilies’ dark foliage and flowerheads, perfect for any gardener who loves bold designs.

3. Tiger Lilies

Common NameTiger lilies
Botanical Name Lilium lancifolium
Family Liliaceae
Plant TypeFlower
Size 2-3 ft. tall, 7-8 inches wide
Sun ExposureFull or partial
Soil TypeWell-drained 
Soil pHAcidic
Bloom TimeMid-Late Summer
Flower Color Red, Pink, Orange, Yellow, Cream, and White
Hardiness Zones 4-9 (USDA)
Native AreaAsia
ToxicityToxic to pets

Lilium lancifolium, commonly known as tiger lilies, boast bright blooms with black or crimson speckles, making them an excellent plant for any gardener who appreciates bold patterns.

Tiger lilies typically bloom in the late summer, around August, and flourish anywhere between plant hardiness zones 4 and 9. They prefer full sun or partial shade but will also grow in full shade.

Tiger lilies are a good choice if you want a lily with a milder scent and are more compact in growth.

Ultimately, if you’re a fan of elegantly recurved tepals, long upright stems, and lance-shaped foliage, the tiger lilies will undoubtedly become your new favorite variety.

4. Trumpet Lilies

Common NameTrumpet lilies, White Trumpet lilies, Easter lilies 
Botanical Name Lilium longiflorum
Family Liliaceae
Plant TypeFlower
Size 5-6 ft. tall, 6 inches wide
Sun ExposureFull or partial
Soil TypeWell-drained
Soil pHAlkaline, Neutral
Bloom TimeMid-summer
Flower ColorGold, Yellow, Pink, Plum, and Apricot 
Hardiness Zones4-9 (USDA)
Native AreaJapan
ToxicityToxic to people, toxic to pets 

Trumpet lilies, or Lilium longiflorum, emit an intensely sweet fragrance from huge, waxy, trumpet-like flowerheads.

The trumpet lily’s flower sports a shallow bowl shape that creates a sleek, graceful silhouette. What’s more, Trumpet lilies thrive in regions between plant hardiness zones 4 and 9 and generally bloom between late spring and early summer, making Trumpet lilies suitable for a vast array of gardens.

When and Where You Should Plant Your Lilies

Lilies should ideally be planted in a sheltered location as either part of a mixed flowering border or grown in pots. 

Many gardeners tend to plant their lily bulbs throughout the fall. However, it’s worth noting that you can plant your lilies anywhere between the fall, through the winter, and up to late spring. Ideally, you should aim to plant anywhere between October and April.

If you intend to plant your lilies in the fall, we recommend doing so at least four weeks before your first autumnal frost date. Alternatively, if you prefer to plant your lily bulbs in the spring, we suggest you plant as soon as the frost has passed.

When it comes to where you can plant your lilies, find a position where they receive ample exposure (between 6-8 hours) of full, direct sunlight. Additionally, plant your bulbs’ roots in rich, moist, well-drained soil to ensure your lilies produce elegant blooms.

Tip: Be mindful of the various types of soil that suit different varieties of lilies. For instance, Asiatic lilies do well in alkaline soil, whereas oriental lilies thrive in acidic soil.

How to Plant Your Lilies

Below, we’ve provided a simple step-by-step guide on how to plant your lilies.

  1. Use a digging fork to loosen the soil. We recommend you loosen the soil to a depth of approximately 12-15 inches. We also suggest that you create planting holes, allowing you to space your bulbs at a distance equal to three times the size of one bulb’s diameter (between 8-18 inches). Add a one-inch layer of drainage gravel or clay shards to the bottom of the planting hole and cover it with thin topsoil covering before planting the bulbs. This will help prevent waterlogging and root rot.
  2. Then, plant your lily bulbs at a planting depth three times bigger than the height of an individual bulb. Planting your bulbs deeply will prompt your lilies’ stems to sprout roots that will help stabilize the plant during its early development. Additionally, a substantial planting depth will keep your bulbs cool during periods of extreme heat, which is crucial for your bulbs’ survival.
  3. Repeat this step until you’ve dug enough holes for the amount of lily bulbs you wish to plant. We suggest you plant your lily bulbs in groups of three if you have enough space. By planting your lilies in trios, you’ll avoid overcrowding.
  4. Place a singular bulb in each planting hole, ensuring it sits with its pointy surface facing upwards.
  5. Fill your planting holes with topsoil and tamp them gently to ensure that your bulbs’ roots have access to firm, secure soil that provides a consistent supply of nutrients.
  6. Thoroughly water the soil at the time of planting.

How to Grow Your Lilies

Correct planting is the first step to creating a lily garden. Now, it’s time to move on to the next step: growing your lilies using the following guidelines:

  1. Keep your lilies mulched to keep their roots cool. Notably, any mulch you use should be moist rather than wet.
  2. During your lilies’ growth period, water your flowers freely, especially if rainfall is sparse in your region.
  3. Distribute a liquid fertilizer that has a high concentration of potassium at fortnightly intervals, starting two weeks after you planted your lilies until six weeks after they have flowered.
  4. We recommend that you stake tall lilies to provide them with additional strength and support, ensuring that the flowerheads remain upright.
  5. Apply a thin layer of compost and a 2-inch layer of mulch every spring.
  6. Remove the mulch when your lily shoots grow through.
  7. Keep an eye on your lilies as they grow, removing any faded flowers.
  8. After your lilies bloom, don’t remove any foliage until it turns brown. Cutting away leaves prematurely will deprive your lilies of vital nutrition that is essential for next season’s blooms.
  9. Cut down the dead stalks in the late fall or early spring.
  10. Before winter arrives,  reapply a thick layer of mulch around your lilies. Doing so will delay any ground freeze and encourage your lilies’ roots to grow.

If clumps of your lilies become overcrowded, gently dig up and divide your lily bulbs in the autumn when the leaves have died back. Where possible, replant your bulbs in a new spot.

Lily Garden Ideas: How to Create a Gorgeous Outdoor Space

To get you started, we’ve listed some inspirational lily garden ideas!

  • For an elegant yet homely garden, try pairing pastel-colored lilies with ornamental grasses or cottage-esque garden plants like lavender and phlox.
  • If you want to create a border of flowers around your garden that resembles the wild, natural beauty of a meadow, arrange rows of vivid lilies, roses, salvias, and other hardy perennials.
  • Make your lilies the focal point of your garden by planting low-growing spring bulbs like snowdrops, squills, and daffodils.
  • Hardy geraniums, hostas, and ferns make for perfect companions to any variety of lily, providing a rich, visually appealing array of contrasting foliage.
  • You can also use spiky plants like Speedwells or Culver’s root to contrast the soft textures of your lilies.

Calla Lilies vs Lilies: What is the Difference?

Did you know that calla lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica) aren’t the same as regular/true lilies?

Calla lilies are cultivars of an Araceae (arum) plant, whereas true lilies belong to the Liliaceae (Lily) family.

Moreover, calla lilies have thick stalks with broad leaves, while true lilies sport slender stalks with textured, thinner leaves.

There are a few things that you should know about if you intend to plant and care for calla lilies.

  • Calla lilies last for many years.
  • Calla lilies are winter hardy, thriving across Plant Hardiness Zones 8 and 10.
  • Calla lilies require neutral or slightly acidic soil.
  • Calla lilies, like most lilies, require full sun or partial shade.
  • Calla lilies are poisonous.

How to Create a Stunning Calla Lily Garden

When it comes to creating a calla lily garden, you may need some slightly different design tips to truly celebrate their classic appeal. Here are some pro tips: 

  • Plant your calla lilies alongside dahlias for a striking textural contrast.
  • Create a semi-shaded, woodland-esque border by combining your calla lilies with hostas, ferns, and astilbes.
  • Craft a natural bed for calla lilies using ground covers like bugleweed or lamium.
  • Create a medley of vibrant colors by combining blue and purple plants like Globe Thistles and Monkshood with your collection of calla lilies.
  • Pair your calla lilies with soft greenery such as ornamental grasses, to create an impression of wildflowers. 

Final Thoughts: Your Lily Garden Ideas

Lilies, regardless of variety, are the floral epitome of grace and beauty.

For this reason, incorporating lilies into your own outdoor space is a guaranteed way of elevating the visual appeal of your backyard/garden.

So, follow the planting and growing advice in this guide, and don’t forget to tag us on social media so we can marvel at your beautiful lily garden ideas!

For more flower care and gardening tips, check out our blogs!

Frequently Asked Questions

Our most frequently asked questions relating to lilies.

1. Do lilies only bloom once?

Like most bulbs, lily bulbs only bloom once a year and require a cool winter dormancy period of at least eight weeks to restart the flowering cycle.

2. Why aren’t my lilies opening?

Several different factors will impact whether your lilies bloom properly or not; however, more often than not, lilies won’t open due to a lack of water, extreme temperatures, or exposure to too much ethylene gas. Fruits like apples, bananas, and pears produce ethylene gas, so it’s best to avoid planting fruits near your lilies.

3. Do lily flowers multiply?

Simply put, yes, lily flowers will naturally multiply. Each lily bulb will grow new bulbs from the base of the original bulb. Moreover, lilies also produce bulbils in the leaf joints along the lily’s stem.

4. What should I avoid planting next to my lilies?

We recommend that you avoid planting tall plants alongside your lilies, as tall plants will reduce your lilies’ exposure to full sunlight and reduce the production of lily blooms. Additionally, you should avoid planting aggressive spreaders and ground covers like ivy near your lilies.

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