Lily, Oriental (Lilium spp.)

Lily, Oriental Plant Features

Oriental lily is one of the most dramatic, and fragrant, perennial flowers around for sunny gardens. The huge, star-shaped flowers appear in shades of pink, red, white, and yellow and add a fun touch to landscape beds, borders, and containers in late summer. They grow beautifully with Asiatic lilies (and bloom later), so mixing the two varieties can give you beautiful lily flowers for a couple of months. 

Because Oriental lilies last a long time in bouquets, they're often used as cut flowers (if you can bear to take them out of the garden -- plant extra so you can enjoy them indoors and out!). Most varieties are also intensely fragrant. 

Older Oriental lily varieties grow relatively tall, so they're best for the back of the border. Newer varieties have been bred to be shorter, so they fit better in the middle of the garden with plants such as garden phlox. Oriental lilies are hardy in Zones 5-9, but can often survive well in Zone 4 if mulched for the winter. 

Check it out: More perennials for fragrance.

Lily, Oriental Growing Instructions

Oriental lilies grow best in full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil that's rich in organic matter. They're a little more finicky than their Asiatic cousins, and can take longer to get established and take off in the garden. Because they prefer cooler summers, it's helpful to spread several inches of mulch over the soil after they emerge in the spring. Water when the soil dries out; these lilies don't hold up well to drought. 

Pruning Oriental lilies typically isn't necessary, but most gardeners like to cut the stems back in fall, after the first frost, to keep the garden looking tidy over the winter. Oriental lilies don't typically require dividing or other special care. 
  • Water


  • Light

    Outside: Sun

  • Colors





  • Special Features

    Fragrant flowers/foliage

Our favorite varieties

Acoustic Oriental Lily

Acoustic Oriental Lily

Lilium 'Acoustic'

This sun-loving perennial flower shows off big, fragrant blooms that can perfume an entire yard. The soft pink flowers appear in late summer on 24-inch-tall plants. Zones 5-8

After Eight Oriental Lily

After Eight Oriental Lily

Lilium 'After Eight'

After Eight is essentially a dwarf form of the popular Stargazer lily. It bears rich reddish-pink flowers in late summer that last a long time when cut. Like other Oriental lilies, it's intoxicatingly fragrant. It grows 24 inches tall. Zones 5-8

Sunny Okinawa Oriental Lily

Sunny Okinawa Oriental Lily

Lilium 'Sunny Okinawa'

Sunny Okinawa is a dwarf Oriental lily that shows off strongly scented pure white flowers in late summer. It grows 18 inches tall and 12 inches wide. Zones 5-8

Entertainer Oriental Lily

Entertainer Oriental Lily

Lilium 'Entertainer'

Entertainer Oriental lily is a spectacular selection showing off big, bright-pink flowers that have a strong fragrance. It grows 24 inches tall. Zones 5-8