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.
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