Alphabetical Plant Listing

Plant Combination Ideas with Lilies

Plant Combinations, Flowerbeds Ideas, Spring Borders, Summer Borders


Lilies make perfect partners with other plants and help create strikingly beautiful combinations in the garden. Since Lilies appreciate some shade around their roots while keeping their foliage and ravishing blossoms in the air and sunshine, they welcome the company of neighboring plants such as annuals, perennials, bulbs, grasses or shrubs. However, a few rules need to be respected to ensure your Lilies will thrive among them.

Extend the flowering season of your mixed border

Surrounding your Lilies with a succession of flowers will reinforce the beauty of their spectacular blooms and extend the flowering season of your mixed border.

  • Start with low-growing spring bulbs such as snowdrops, crocus, grape hyacinths, scillas, anemones and narcissi. They will provide color to your borders at a time when your Lilies are not at their best. 
  • Many shrubs are exciting in the springtime period, especially before the majority of the Lilies comes into flower. Rhododendrons and Camellias are great Lily partners - provided they are planted far enough away from your Lily bulbs, not to disturb their rooting system. After they are done flowering, their dark evergreen foliage will create a lovely backdrop for your Lilies.
  • Chrysanthemums and Asters will provide late-season color while hiding the base of your Lily stalks as they begin to decay.

Combine texture, color, and form to create rich harmonies

  • Mounding companions: The straight, upright stems of Lilies look stunning when rising from lower mounded or clumping companions such as hardy Geraniums (Cranesbills), Ferns or Hostas. The shape and contrasting foliage of these perennial plants adds gravitas to the ensemble. Additionally, these plants cast some welcomed shade around the Lily roots. Imagine how the vibrant purples or magentas of Geraniums can highlight neighboring white, cream or yellow Lilies. With regards to Hostas, don't plant them too close to your Lilies bulbs or they might compete with their rooting systems. Check here planting depth and distance to respect.
  • Spiky companions: Introducing spiky companions in your Lily border will provide visual variety against the large Lily blooms. Try Liatris (Gayfeather), Kniphofia (Torch Lily), Eryngium giganteum (Miss Willmott's Ghost), Veronicastrum (Culver's Root) or Veronica longifolia (Speedwell).
  • Airy companions: Adding airiness and contrasting shapes with your Lilies are Gaura lindheimeri (Beeblossom), Perovskia (Russian Sage), Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena) or Thalictrum rochenianum (Meadow Rue).
  • Blue and purple companions: Because of the colors Lilies generally possess (yellow, pink, orange, red and white, with all the possible colors in between), cool blue and purple-flowering perennial plants make favorite neighbors. Among them are Salvia nemorosa and its cultivars (Sage), various Aconitum species and cultivars (Monkshood), Anchusa azurea (Italian Bugloss), Erigeron cultivars, Aster amellus (Italian Aster), Echinops bannaticus (Globe Thistle), the taller Geranium species, Polemonium caeruleum (Jacob's Ladder). Blue-flowering shrubs such Caryopteris clandonensis (Blue Beard), Hibiscus syriacus 'Coelestis' (Rose of Sharon) and Ceanothus 'Gloire de Versailles' (Californian Lilac), are also good companions for countless Lilies.
  • Silver and gray companions: Plants with gray foliage, such as Artemisia species (Wormwood), Stachys byzantina (Lamb's ears), or Hosta sieboldiana 'Glauca' can accent the beauty of your LiLies effectively.
  • Green companions: Orange and red Lilies will add further drama in the garden if underplanted with soft green Ferns and Hostas. Athyrium felix-femina (Lady Fern) is a very graceful companion next to Lilies.
  • Chocolate and maroon companions: Lilies always provide an effective contrast against dark-leaved shrubs such as Corylus maxima 'Purpurea' (Filbert) and Cotinus coggyria 'Royal Purple' (Smoke Tree). 

Some Design Suggestions

  • Plant your Lily bulbs in groups for bolder impact (minimum 3 bulbs), rather than scattering single bulbs. A group of 5 or more will be even more spectacular.
  • Mixing Lilies cultivars is not always a successful idea from a design standpoint. Each cultivar has its own height, blooming period and character. Planting together Lily varieties of varying heights or flowering season would reduce the overall effect.
  • Usually, tall Lilies are planted at the back of the border or at the center of island beds while dwarf Lily varieties are placed at the front. Tall Lilies may be planted among or behind shrub roses and small to medium-sized shrubs such as Spireas, which help in providing support and reduce the need for staking.

There is a wide range of companion plants that will bring out the best qualities of your Lilies and share their space with a serene balance. Make sure you select any ornamental grasses, perennials, annuals or shrubs that have the same growing requirements as your Lilies. Most Lilies do best in full sun and well-drained soil, but some varieties prefer partial shade. Most Lilies do well in slightly acidic soil while others, such as Martagon Lilies, love alkaline soils. Be aware that a few rules need to be respected to ensure your Lilies will thrive among these plants.

Guide Information

Hardiness 3 - 9
Heat Zones 1 - 7
Climate Zones 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23
Plant Type Bulbs, Perennials
Plant Family Lilium - Lilies
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Cut Flowers, Fragrant, Showy
Landscaping Ideas Beds and Borders, Patio and Containers
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Cutting Garden, Informal and Cottage, Traditional Garden
Compare All Lilium - Lilies Great Plant Combination Ideas with Lilium - Lilies Guides with Lilium - Lilies

lianem / 123RF Stock Photo

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Hardiness 3 - 9
Heat Zones 1 - 7
Climate Zones 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23
Plant Type Bulbs, Perennials
Plant Family Lilium - Lilies
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Cut Flowers, Fragrant, Showy
Landscaping Ideas Beds and Borders, Patio and Containers
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Cutting Garden, Informal and Cottage, Traditional Garden
Compare All Lilium - Lilies Great Plant Combination Ideas with Lilium - Lilies Guides with Lilium - Lilies

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