Good Companion Plants for 'Casa Blanca' Lilies

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Good Companion Plants for 'Casa Blanca' Lilies
Long-stemmed 'Casa Blanca' lilies are often sold as beautiful cut flowers. (Casablanca Lily image by Karin Lau from Fotolia.com)

'Casa Blanca' lilies (Lilium 'Casa Blanca') grow to 5 feet tall and produce large, white, fragrant flowers on tall, spindly stems. They bloom in late summer to early fall. Because the green stems with sparse foliage are the only things visible throughout the summer, you can add companion plants that cover the bare stems and shade the ground to keep the lily roots cool. Good companion plants for 'Casa Blanca' lilies don't attract slugs and snails or other common lily pests.

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Zinnias

Tall Zinnias (Zinnia elegans), such as the 'Benary's Giant' variety, are a good choice to plant with the tall 'Casa Blanca' lilies. They grow as tall as 4 feet and the foliage mixes well and disguises the tall lily stems until they are ready to bloom. If you plant the seeds or plants in early to midsummer, cut back or remove the shallow-rooted Zinnias to provide room to observe the large lily blooms. Zinnias are annuals that grow best in a full sun location and are easily grown from seed or purchased plants. Plant after all danger of freezing temperatures has passed. Colours of 'Benarys Giant' Zinnias to look for to plant alongside 'Casa Blanca' lilies are burgundy, red, yellow or pink.

Plant the seed one-quarter to one-half inch deep in the garden soil and keep moist until they come up, or germinate. If planting Zinnias plants, plant at the same level as in the container and keep the soil evenly moist throughout the growing season.

Marigolds

Tall Marigolds (Calendula officinalis), such as the 'Crackerjack,' have large orange and yellow blooms and grow to 4 feet tall with fernlike foliage. Marigolds resist garden pests. The bright, orange flowers continue as long as you remove the old blooms before they begin to produce seed. Tall Marigolds are annuals that can be direct-seeded in the garden in the spring, in partial to full sun, after there is no danger of freezing weather. Marigolds die if exposed to frost.

Plant Marigold seeds in the garden one-quarter to one-half inch deep and keep the soil moist until the seeds sprout. Continue to provide even moisture throughout the growing season.

Petunias

Tall petunias (Petunia x hybrida) repel pests and bloom nearly all summer in the northern two-thirds of the United States. In the southern United States, they fade in midsummer. Most of the grandiflora varieties grow upright and up to 15 inches tall or more. They add plenty of colour and texture to an otherwise sparse bed of spindly lily stems. Petunias are annuals, and the plants are available in the spring at most nurseries and garden centres. Plant them in spring or early summer when all danger of freezing temperatures has passed.

Plant Petunia plants in the garden at the same level as in their containers. Petunias planted in the ground can tolerate dry soil, but prefer even moisture throughout the growing season.

Garden Phlox

Tall garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata) also has long stems. However, they are fuller and thicker than lily stems and disguise the sparse lily stems during the summer without excessively shading them. Garden Phlox are available in a wide range of colours and sizes. Mixing shorter varieties such 'Peppermint Twist' or 'Little Boy' in the front of the garden, with taller varieties such as 'David' in the back, planted along with the lily bulbs, makes an outstanding floral display in late summer. The Phlox continue to disguise the lily stems as the lilies decline after the bloom period. Remember, you cannot cut the lily stems until they are completely faded.

Garden Phlox are perennial and return every year along with the lilies. Plant them in the fall or early spring at the same level as they are planted in their containers, and provide even moisture throughout the summer.

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