Photo by Thomas J. Story
(Polianthes tuberosa)

This perennial has a fountain of grassy leaves and glistening white tubular flowers. Zones

Flowers like Oriental lilies, tuberoses, and honeysuckle add more than beauty to summer containers, borders, and bouquets

Sunset  – July 13, 2007 | Updated January 31, 2019



Flowers are pure elegance; large and shapely, they grow in clusters atop tall stems and come in white and shades of pink and rose, sometimes streaked with yellow or spotted with red.

‘Conca d’Or’ is pictured at top; white ‘Casablanca’ is another fragrant favorite. The summer bloomers are best planted in early spring (grow them in raised beds or mass them at the back of borders).

Oriental-lily hybrids

The huge, star-shaped, over-the-top blossoms of Oriental-lily hybrids practically demand a second look. But it’s the fragrance that draws you: Light, sweet, and a tad lemony, it may be the best scent in all lilydom. Each of the lilies we chose grows about 4 feet tall and flowers in midsummer. Most blend the best traits of floral-scented trumpet lilies and the spicier Oriental lilies; one hybrid in our bouquet (‘Triumphator’) has Easter and Oriental lilies for parents.

Look for those pictured clockwise from center: ‘Space Mountain’ (deep rose), ‘Sweetheart’ (mango yellow with red stripe), ‘Triumphator’ (white with a blush throat), ‘Avocado’ (yellow), and ‘Nymph’ (white with deep rose midrib). For best selection, buy bulbs from a specialty grower such as B & D Lilies. Plant in a sunny spot with rich, deep soil, and water regularly for an armful of summer blooms.


Excellent in bouquets. Grow outdoors in containers and move to a protected spot in winter except in mild parts of Southern California. To play up its blossoms, plant in a dark green or chocolate brown glazed pot.


Creamy white blossoms are strung into leis in Hawaii. Following a long season of heat, flower stems rise above grasslike foliage (nurseries sell blooming plants in gallon cans all summer); mass several in a large pot.


The tubular flowers of this robust, evergreen vine ( Lonicera japonica ‘Halliana’) open white and age to yellow; their perfume is sweetly floral, and carries in the air on warm summer nights. Plant this on banks or against sturdy trellises; prune yearly to keep in bounds.