Companion plants for Lily

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I have spent too much time looking for campanion plants for Oriental Lily 'Casa Blanca'.
What blooms when O. Lilies bloom? Please give me some suggestoins. I may try to post in the Lily forum as well. I posted here because the companion plants would prbably be perennials.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

For a companion plant, wouldn't you want something that blooms when the lilies aren't? They have a relatively short bloom period and are pretty boring when they're not in bloom so when I think of companion plants for lilies it makes me think about things that bloom when the lilies are going to be boring.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Phlox, Liatris, daylilies, Monarda, Nepeta, Physostegia, Alliums, Platycodons, some Veronicas- Sunny Border Blue and Icicle (white) for sure. Echinacea. Something chewed my Tigerlilies this year, but last year they were in sync. Saponaria, but not the first flush so it's not so spectacular. Could fill in around the edges though, if you let it flop. I have mine growing through a grid, makes it much taller. Annuals, of course.

Seems like there's a lot to choose from. In my barrel I have white snaps for early and white Nicotiana Alata for later, and this year put a Clematis integrifolia Alba which should bloom with the Casablancas, I hope. There are Asiatic Centerfold Lilies in there too, for earlier bloom. Funny, the Casablancas multiplied like crazy, the Asiatics less so. I expected the opposite. You never know...

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Hannibal, NY(Zone 6a)

Actually I think companion plant really refers to plants that assist other plants as far as nutrient uptake, pest control, etc.

But if you mean plants that bloom and look well together, PFG gave a lot of great hints. I love phlox. Gypsophila for the earlier blooming lilies

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

If you plant your companions in groups (ie. 3-5 or say 7s), you can interplant your lillies inbetween. This helps to hide the bare legs of the lillies... Some others that I have in bloom at that time: Scabiosa columbaria (white or purple, all summer), Delphinium grandiflora ( white, pink, several shades of blue) 18" all summer, they also reseed and make patches; Salvia nemerosa, all season, 24-28" in purple, white or pink; Daisies from 18-48", mine at 48" (Becky), bloom the whole season; Geranium Rozanne, all summer at 18"; Limonium latifolium, (perennial statice), purple, mine usually get to 36+", mid summer, (this plant can be a spectacular foil for thin stemmed plants to grow up through, I've also paired this plant with Erumerus (foxtail lily); Knautia macedonica, 18-24", all summer; Veronica spicata, 18 or 28", (I have the 28" variety to share if you like but only blue at the moment, will be growing pink and white this season), the 18" is available in white, pink and blue; Lavendula angustifolia Munstead, all summer at 18-24"; Achillea filipendula at 48", gold, millefolium comes in many shades, pinks, reds, white and yellow, the type is approx. 24", and again an all season bloomer, Snapdragons, the rocket series are 36" and usually available in deep red, white and pink; Malvas or Sidalceas (False Mallow), usually 24-48+". Just a few ideas to think on....

Pix 1 Achillea m. like I say come in a mirriad of colors
Pix 2 Phlox paniculata, can change to any color available, again could inter-plant amonst these.
Pix 3 Salvia nemerosa
Pix 4 Limonium latifolium (perennial statice, also great as a cut flower for filler)
pix 5 Lavendula m. and tall Rocket snaps

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Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Yes, you are right. Companion plant means to benefit ea. other. Is there a term for what I was referring to?

Thanks all for plant suggestions. I knew D G members would have suggestions. I was thinking about Nicotania, but I couldn't remember whether it would be blooming yet or not. If I recall, it likes the heat and doesn't bloom very early in the season.

Thanks again.

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

If you go with the nicotiana, try the N. sandersae series. They are 24-36" and ohhh sooo fragrant. If seeded in the garden, seems like I had blooms by July, maybe earlier..

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I will check that one out.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

N Sylvestris is the last to flower. My favorites are N Alata, earlier, bushier and not so tall, and Langsdorfii, little green bells. They both come much earlier. I also find that the huge basal rosette of N Sylvestris makes it hard to place in a mixed planting. I've seen it used well in containers, but have always been a little disappointed in it in my own gardens. In my big barrel I used it the first year but it looked skimpy and was almost too late for the Casablancas. Last year I had accidentally had a combination of it and Alata, also unsatisfying. This year I'm not doing Sylvestris at all. I think white Alata alone will be better...

Hannibal, NY(Zone 6a)

Birder, there might be another name, but I sure don't know it, LOL.

In Brent and Beckys catalogue there's a beautiful picture of OT Anastasia and phlox Bright Eyes, that was absolutely gorgeous together, but it's not in the on line pictures.

And not perennials, but how about some caladiums. They stay nice all summer, and are affordable as an annual.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Kathy, thanks for the N. sandersae plant suggestion.

And Pfg., thanks for the info. about the two Nicotanias you mentioned. You certainly made some very good points about N. sylvestris. You are definitely right--but I hadn't thought about the way this plant is rather hoggish in diameter. And, yes, it blooms very late, nor have I noticed the fragrance. But then, I don't stick my nose in the flowers either. About the only flowers I do stick my nose in are roses--and then I make sure there's no J. Beetles or Bees! I used to grope on the ground trying to smell flowers, but I don't anymore. Sometimes, I notice fragrance when I am scooting on the ground weeding or planting flowers. I always consider that a reward for getting down on the ground!! :)

Both Nicotania sanderae and Nicotania alata come up with the name 'Fragrant Cloud' when I research on google. Can anyone explan the difference between them?

Again, thanks for the suggestions.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

It may be the same. I've been growing Fragrant Cloud for the last couple of years and like it very much. I don't have the packet any more, but I see Diane's Seeds calls it Alata and others use x Sanderae. Mine, which I think is Alata, gets to about 36," which is also what Kathy said.

Hah! I just Googled again, and Annie's Annuals calls it Nicotiana Alata x Sanderae. So there we are. It's the same.

The pic is a combination of Fragrant Cloud and Niki Pink, just to give you an idea of how they grow. The pink one I've grown for a few years, and can't find the seed any more. Last year it was mixed with others, so I don't trust that the seed will come true, but I still have some from the year before, which I know will. Next year I'll make sure to keep at least one big clump separate just for the seeds.

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Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Aahh, Yes. Very pleasing pink color. The mix looks really nice. Is that a couple of fluffy zinnias behind the Nicotanias?
Nice picture. Everything looks soo good in January! Thanks for the pic.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Thanks, yes, those are Zinnias. I love searching through all my pictures this time of year. So funny, I don't always like them so much when I take them, but now they really make me happy!

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Birder....make sure you see that the description says they are fragrant as there are several that don't have any. You can find them at or T& Realize that they don't have any fragrance til late in the afternoon or early evening, they are fragrant all evening and early morning....sometimes extending their fragrance later into the day on cloudy days.

I grow the N. x sandersae Heaven Scent, one of the older varieties that hang their flowers during the day. As evening approaches the perk their little heads and fragrance follows shortly...another fav of these is the Hawk Moths that flit about the garden in the evening as they vist the flowers all night. If possible make sure you plant some close to a bedroom window for sweet dreams!!!!! For earlier bloom start indoors or just sprinkle seed out in early spring, even before last frost as they come up when they are ready.... Are you in the seed trade going on now? If not I could send some if you like.... Also a great destination plant for evenings, sitting in the garden.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

I always start them inside, mid March is early enough. The volunteers bloom later, I leave them here and there just for a change. I do love the English eccentricities...

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

polly: I noticed while I was browsing at various websites for plants yesterday, they often listed "Companion Plants" at the bottom of the page of the plant I was researching. They were showing plants that had colors that would look nice with the plant in question. Perhaps Companion Plants has several meanings as other words do depending on the context of the manuscript.

Pfg: Yes, looking at garden pictures is quite rewarding in January. It gives us "time" to scrutinize our gardens and determine if something needs to be added or moved. It also helps me know what plants bloom at the same time. I have only recently started taking pictures. It is pleasurable and rewarding.

Kathy, thanks for reminding me about fragrance. It's such a bonus! I will plant some by my southern faced bedroom window!

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I started my first batch of nikkis indoors years ago, and transplanted them outside. Then I flung a bunch (probably 100 seeds) outside in a particular spot and they were evidently blown around and came up in a PERFECT location. So this year I just threw them around in beds. But in past years they ended up everywhere - and they go with everything! When I was moving, and had my lilies in pots on the patio of my interim apartment, they delighted me by showing up in the pots!

Birder - I saw some Nikki basal foliage for them outside a couple of weeks ago and thought about bringing them in.

This message was edited Jan 18, 2013 9:45 AM

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(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Love your pics! And I agree, they go with everything. I'm still fussing around in my beds too much to get the effects you have. Weed control, design adjustments, etc. but in some places I'm beginning to see the light. My hope is that eventually in those more established areas I can let nature alone a little more, get a less 'manicured' look. Never satisfied, are we?! Lol...

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Donna, thanks again for taking the time to share your pictures. They are soo pretty. Lucky you to be able to toss seeds in situ, and they Grow!! My luck, the seeds would all wash down to the edge of the grass. Of course, you just mentioned how loamy your soil is which makes a huge difference.

I would most certainly have to work over my soil before I attempted that activity. I would love t/b able to do that.

It seems I have to start everything in a pot first and then, plant out. If anyone has good tips, please share.

My annual poppies and larkspur re-seed liberally. I also have some Lychnis coronaria Rose Campion that gently re-seeds. Oh yes, annual Salvia Texas Sage, Periwinkle and Celosia!

Hannibal, NY(Zone 6a)

Interesting, birder. Do you recall which site you were looking at?

I've got to find nikki Heaven Scent. With a name like that.........

Just beautiful, Donna!

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

You are all really sweet.

It's all an adventure, because I have gone from clay/alkaline/sun to loamy (but tree stemmy)/somewhat neutral 45% shade. My biggest dilemma is not having nearly as much sun for the annuals I used to grow - particularly the saivias. I'm used to growing viridis in all three colors and coccinea in two and putting together four kinds of farinacea and tossing them everywhere. But I will figure it out.

In the meantime, I have a billion pictures and you know - I am truly thrilled to share them. Thank you for looking and even more for appreciating. It means a lot to me.


This message was edited Jan 19, 2013 1:25 PM

Hannibal, NY(Zone 6a)

And it means a lot to us that you are willing to share your pictures AND your knowledge, and please continue to do so.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

So kind!

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

No Polly, I have looked at so many websites and I really don't have the time to trace my steps right now. Too much to do.

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Polly, chect out or T&

Donna, just love those lilies!!!!

Hannibal, NY(Zone 6a)

That's OK, birder. I know how busy we all are.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

This is from the Burpees website:

Nicotiana, Heaven Scent
Indulge your senses with our most fragrant nicotiana (also known as Flowering Tobacco). A glorious mix of colors: pink, rose, white and red. 2" long trumpets on 8" tall flower stalks. Plant grows to a height of 20-24". GARDEN HINTS: Start indoors for earlier bloom. Grows best in rich soil that is moist, but not wet.

This is from Diane's Flower Seeds:

Nicotiana alata. 'Fragrant Cloud'
Nicotiana 'Fragrant Cloud' is the most fragrant variety that I've grown. The perfume is most noticeable on warm summer evenings. Also known as Jasmine Tobacco, Nicotiana grandiflora or Nicotiana x sanderae. Hardy in zones 10-11. Grow as an annual elsewhere.
height 36"

Edited to add info

This message was edited Jan 20, 2013 3:52 AM

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Donna, I had a similar problem. I became an avid gardener on sandy soil in full sun in a warmer zone, in those days it was 6. Now I'm in 5, rich soil with good drainage and lots of shade, some open, some dappled, and some quite deep. The house faces south, but the main view is on the north side which means that much of the day the house casts a long shadow. In addition, to the west there are very tall trees which block the sun intermittently throughout a good part of the day. The part closest to the house gets eastern morning sun, but by 10 or so it's already in shade. Later on there are occasional shafts of light here and there. The farther away from the house, the more sun.

It's very interesting what does well and what doesn't (other than the regular shade plants, of course). Nicotiana is a star. Daylilies are good, even the odd rose- The Fairy, for one. Some clematis are happy, echinacea, potentilla, phlox...

I still haven't found the right mix for hanging baskets. Geraniums sulk, Petunias are wimpy, Impatiens burn out. Sweet Alyssum, Lobelia and Bacopa do well, but I need something bigger, too, preferably something that cascades. And we want white, which is even more limiting. Ideas, anyone?

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Pfg, interesting. My new house faces south, but much of the garden is on the north side. Because of the shape of the house, there is a lot of sun away from the house and I grow tomatoes, loganberries, currants, and there is a cherry tree that produces fruits. I am lucky to have long stretches down the east and the west. The east is a long strip along the driveway. The neighboring house to the east is at the other end of the block (only two houses face the north on my property). The owner to the east doesn't want to be bothered with about three feet of earth on the other side of the driveway that is actually my property while appearing superficially to be his. So he was letting it get quite weedy (ditch lilies, and the kind of goldenrod that looks like it gets mildew). He would also dump his detritus there (nice - I could see it). But because he couldn't be bothered, he told me to use it. There is driveway underlay, so I told him I'd have to go farther, and he said "sure". I have a bunch of sun lovers there, including roses, grasses and peonies. The limiting factor is that the closer I get to the driveway the shallower it is.

The western stretch gets sun in the front but very little in the rear. That's where I concentrate my shade plants. And I do I think that you have more shade than I do. But you may surprise yourself about which plants thrive in the shade. Not just the usual suspects like epimedium. Heuchera Firefly blooms extravagantly in shade. I put in a gallica rose because that group is supposed to be shade tolerant - we'll see. I have put in lots of hardy geraniums. I found Endless Summer hydrangeas late in the season for $8.00 each and got two. I am getting two small fothergillas major from Bluestone in spring for a section with dappled light. By buying them small and putting them in pots I cut my losses if it doesn't work. And I was in the position in which I could try to bring my plants with me or lose them. So I wasn't buying a lot of new things that would cost me a lot of money if they didn't work. My best candidates were plants that I had on the north side of my old house, which did get shade part of the day. All of them made the transition: thalictrum, ferns, epimedium, polemonium, and single peonies.

I have three huge autumn clematis put in by the previous owner that work. I find that I have to move my saponaria bouncing Bett in white. At home it went made, but in semi shade it just sits there. Of course, it's a plant you have to be careful unleashing!

Do nikkis actually bloom in shade. Wow! I didn't even think to try!

Oh, I miss my hanging baskets. The only place to put them is the patio, which does face south. And all my southern hardscaping, which allowed me to germinate dozens of annuals, put them in pots and have color everywhere!

Hey, we'll figure this out!

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Yes we will! And yes they do.

The first two pics show just how shady it gets. We never need the umbrella on the little patio.

Pic 3: Just on the other side of the low box hedge is the darkest corner of my long border. I've put light colors in there to brighten it up. In the spring it's very pink and chartreuse, later there is more white. The peonies have been there for many years, and you can see they are perfectly happy.

Pic 4: So are The Fairy and the little Gold Mound Spirea, added a couple of years ago.

Pic 5: Daylilies NOID above, Joan Senior and Ice Carnival below, Nicotiana Langsdorffi and N Alata Lime, Heuchera Autumn Bride

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Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Have either of you looked in Rose, Zephirine Droughin, a bourbon, fragrant and nearly thornless. It is said it can be grown on the north side of the house.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

That sounds gorgeous. I think I have to have it, and I know exactly where. It won't get a huge root run, but great soil, and it will really dress up a bare spot. I really hate that railing. We found a guy with a hammer drill that does stone sculptures, and he's going to do a raised bed in stone there. It's at the top of a stairway, so has to be somewhat narrow, but there is room for a curve. Also, I've dug around under there, and there is lots of great soil under those slabs. I could have it go up the wall on one side and the post on the other. It would probable want to grow around the corner toward the light, which would work if the canes get long enough to go above the opening.

Pic 3: We were in England last summer and this is a friend's rose. And just check out that Rosemary shrub...soooo jealous!

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Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Oh my goodness, pfg, that is stunning. If I can ever get close to the gorgeousness you have achieved I will be thrilled. So wonderfully thought out. My blood pressure drops just looking at it. I'm stunned at how well the peonies are doing. I only put singles in shade. This gives me ideas.

And Warriors, YES! I had a mature Zeph in my previous yard, and I kept reading that it was shade tolerant. It will be arriving from Roses Unlimited in the spring. I just had to have it. I wondered if I was engaging in wishful thinking. Your note reassures me!

Zephie in my old yard, on the north side. I just can't be without this thornless, scented, season long blooming beauty.

Any other suggestions? You have great taste!

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Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

We cross posted. I think that it would make a lovely ornament for your garden. For me, it will be truly interesting to take it from full to dappled sun. I can't wait!

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Now Pam, isn't that a beauty!!!! Yes Donna, I had forgotten you had said before that you grew it....but that's ok, I love seeing the pix of gorgeous!!!! I want one for the north side of my house, not sure when I'll get around to it tho.... You know how plans go thinking I'll have scads of things to plant this coming spring, with all my new seedlings and shrubs that were healed in for the winter.. But I will be working on that side of the house with some of my above mentioned shrubs. I sure wish we could get some moisture tho!!!!! If it stays nice (warm, 50s and 60s this week), I may try to get the sprinkler going in the backyard. Too much work went into planting and freezing my touche off, gotta make sure the plants make it through the winter............

Me, lol, I don't have much in the way of shade here, north/east side of the house is only about 35 or 40ft wide...right now is in I'm sorry, I do have a cople of prunus cistenas there (struggling), but will probably move and replace them with hydrangeas, that were lined out in Dec. On the north/west side of the house are Junipers (next to the house) and two LARGE Colorado Blue Spruce (35-45ish ft.).

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Donna, I've seen your handiwork, it's beautiful. Your new garden already looks great in the pictures you've posted. I'm sure by the time you've been working on it for 6 years like I have, it will be spectacular. For me, a lot was there that I can't take credit for, and the rest has been trial and error. My Echinacea purpureas were moved at least 3 times before finally letting me know they were happy.

Btw, Margie Mistretta from ID'd that peony as Duchess D'Orleans.

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Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Isn't it all fun, the trial and error, the testing and the moving, the successes and the oops? I used to act as though a plant couldn't be moved. The only thing that happens is that, usually, you lose a season of bloom. Next year will be really wild, because I put 68 lilies in my mini fridge and then dug them up too late. At least 55 didn't bloom - lots of foliage. So next year will be a very pleasant surprise.

You know the one good thing? I'd started in 1998. The garden was pretty full. That's why I started growing things in pots that were everywhere. Now I have space that no one used, mostly for lack of interest, and figuring out what works has been really interesting, because I can try some plants in both sun and shade.

Whoo! Keeps things interesting.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Couldn't agree with you more!

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