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Lilies are beautiful in the garden and in the vase. If you want these spectacular flowers available in your garden, now is the time to plan. Order and plant your bulbs in the fall for the best display their first year in your garden, and for years to come. Lilium ‘Triumphator’ is a hybrid of an Oriental and an Easter lily. Jimmy Turner, Senior Director of Gardens at the Dallas Arboretum, shares his growing experience with you. Sure, you can plant them in the spring, but they won’t fulfill their true flower potential until they have time to put down their roots. Spring planting is OK, fall planting is best.

Jimmy Turner, Senior Director of Gardens at the Dallas TX Arboretum


Latin name: Lilium longiflorum x Oriental ‘Triumphator’
Common name: Hybrid trumpet lily
Flowers: Large clusters of pink and white trumpets
Mature size: 32” to 48”
Spacing: 12”
Hardiness: Zones 5-9
Soil: Not picky
Exposure: Full sun to late afternoon shade
Water usage: Medium
Sources: and

Looking for a plant to wow your neighbors? Well, I have one I guarantee will do the trick! How about a pink and white trumpet-shaped lily that gets almost 4 feet tall and may have 20 or more 6-inch-long flowers per spike? They even flower in the heat of summer during late June and into July!
The hybrid lily ‘Triumphator’ is a cross of the common Easter lily, which lends stem strength and height, and the Oriental lily, which adds new color and extreme fragrance. This type of hybrid is called an “Orienpet.” Both of the parent lilies do well in Texas, but the hybrid of the two performs even better for me. The 6-inch-long Easter-lily-like flowers of ‘Triumphator’ are deep maroon to rose pink on the inside of the throat, fading to pure white at the edges. The first year, bulbs may shoot up only one stem a few feet tall, and produce only a couple of flowers, but be patient. Each year that it returns, this lily will get larger, eventually producing spikes that reach 4 feet tall with up to 20 flowers per stem. The fragrance is incredible and inescapable; it is a softer version of the Oriental lily cut flowers you may have purchased.

Purchase bulbs from or Be sure to plant the bulbs as soon as you can after they arrive, since they dry out quickly. Plant the bulbs 2-1/2 times the depth of the bulb, usually from 4 to 6 inches deep. I say this since bulbs can range from tangerine to grapefruit size depending on what you buy. Eventually the bulbs will grow to almost cantaloupe size! Really! Plant in well-drained soil, in full sun to late afternoon shade, at the back of perennial or shrub borders. If you have heavy clay soil, then plant them in raised beds.

Be aware, while you are shopping online for these, that anything listed as a “Trumpet,” “Longiflorum,” or a hybrid of these lilies does very well in most of Texas. Just remind yourself to shop for them this fall through early next spring and to plant them quickly. Some of my other favorites are ‘Golden Splendour’, ‘African Queen’, and ‘Pink Perfection’. I’m betting your neighbors will be looking over your fence and searching for the source of the heavenly fragrance!

About the author: Jimmy Turner is the senior director of gardens at the Dallas Arboretum. Visit for more information on his trials.

All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.

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GardenSMART Featured Article

By Natalie Carmolli, Proven Winners ColorChoice, Photographs courtesy of Proven Winners

There are few things more satisfying than seeing your beautiful garden in full bloom...and it's especially thrilling to see it abuzz with the activity of butterflies and bees. Want to bring more activity to your garden? Here's a guide to choosing unique, colorful, easy-care plants that provide a much-needed place for pollinators of all sizes to do their work. Read more...

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