wide image of pink lilies against a black background for how to use lilies in bouquets

How to Use Lilies in Stunning Timeless Bouquets & Arrangements

Creating floral arrangements with lilies is an art – and many people feel overwhelmed when arranging lilies. That might be because each bloom is a work of art in and of itself. And so bringing them together into a bouquet that is both stunning and timeless takes an artist’s eye and a skill. 

But we’re here to help you do just that! And bringing lilies together into a stunning and timeless floral bouquet is a wonderful achievement.

So, in this article, we’ll dive into lilies generally, their meanings, how to best care for them and how to arrange lilies in bouquets to best effect. 

The language of lilies

close up image of a pink lily with yellow stamens with more pink lilies for bouquets growing in the background

Lilies have a long and beautiful history. In fact, they’re among some of the oldest cultivated plants in the world. Over 3000 years ago, in Asia Minor, the Madonna Lily was cultivated for medicinal purposes. The ancient Greeks and Romans grew it for medicinal purposes as well, but also started to use it for ornamental purposes. And during the Middle Ages the Madonna Lily – as a symbol of purity – was associated with the Virgin Mary.

Today the lily is beloved for its beauty, but it also carries with it symbols and meanings. The white lily stands as a beacon of purity and innocence and is often included in weddings for this reason. Pastel coloured lilies are often used for sympathy bouquets as they bring comfort and symbolise sympathy and compassion. And the lily is also associated with springtime as it heralds renewal, rebirth and the reawakening of nature.

Lilies in bouquets: prolonging splendour

As cut flowers, lilies continue to captivate well beyond the garden. That’s because they are extremely long lasting. As a cut flower they can stretch from a modest five to an impressive fourteen days. Some lilies last even longer. Asiatic lilies, for example, boast a longer vase life than their Oriental counterparts. 

Of course, this does depend on how well we are able to care for them! To ensure your lilies stay at their best, consider these practices:

  • Trimming: Snip the stems at an angle with a sharp blade. This will encourage water intake.
  • Prepping: Strip off leaves that may be submerged in water. This will limit decay.
  • Hydrating: Be sure to give your lilies plenty of fresh, cool water. Adding flower food or a DIY mix of sugar and vinegar can also help keep them fresh longer and deter bacteria.
  • Maintaining: Freshen the water and re-trim the stems every few days. This will preserve the lilies' life.

Stamens: to snip or not to snip?

While not essential, some people do choose to remove the stamens from lilies to prevent the pollen from staining. If you opt to remove them, do so gently with scissors. And it’s always a good idea to ensure the stamen lands in a bucket or bowl to contain any pollen. 

Again, removing the stamens is just a personal preference. Many people choose to skip this step.

How to use lilies in bouquets and arrangements

peach and white bouquet with pops of yellow in a white vase on a wooden table featuring lilies in bouquets

Using lilies in bouquets and arrangements can make a stunning floral display. In fact, the days when lilies were reserved for solemn occasions is long gone. Today, these blossoms can be the heart of any arrangement.

Here are some of our favourite ways to use lilies in bouquets and arrangements:

  • Monochrome elegance: A single colour scheme of lilies, like a cloud of whites or a blush of pinks, creates a beautiful and elegant display. The more blooms you add, the more lush the arrangement appears.
  • A symphony of colours: Combining lilies of various colours leads to a vibrant arrangement and allows you to personalise your arrangement for the event or the person.
  • Lilies and foliage: Intertwine lilies with lush greens or subtle baby's breath for a rich, textured ensemble.
  • Lily centerpieces: Allow lilies to crown your table with their elegance, becoming a conversation piece.
  • Companion arrangement: Marry lilies with roses, daisies or carnations for a beautiful medley of blooms.

Selecting the perfect vessel

Once you’ve decided the type of arrangement you’d like to create, it’s time to choose the vase or vessel you want to use. The container is the stage for your lilies. And what you choose can alter how the arrangement is seen and experienced.

For example, a clear glass vase allows you to see the stems in water, and bring more of the natural look in. A ceramic piece might bring a more timeless look. While a rustic basket infuses your lily bouquet with a casual charm. 

For a twist of creativity, you can use almost anything for your lily bouquets. You might want to try unconventional holders like teapots or pitchers. These work particularly well when the piece you choose has a meaning to you as well. 

Arranging lilies

white lilies in bouquets arrangement also featuring roses and gerberas and foliage and pops of yellow

Because lilies are tall and broad as cut flowers, they have a lot of presence in arrangements. At The Flower Farm we love to use them as a feature flower, which we combine with companion blooms and foliage that both highlight the features of the lilies and bring a coherence to the entire arrangement. We often choose to use taller and bolder flowers as companion flowers with lilies – such as roses or sunflowers.

We also love using lilies in arrangements where they will bloom over the lifetime of the arrangement. So they may arrive closed showing just their green outer leaves, and then bloom over time, bursting out to bring new life to your arrangement. 

Finally, small bunches work very well will lilies as well, particularly with a balance of tones, colours and styles.

Choosing your next lily bouquet

When it comes to how to use lilies in bouquets, the world is really open to you. After all, you can use them wherever and however you like, whether it’s in a dramatic arrangement of contrasting hues, or a small bunch of pastel tones. 

If you’d like to work with our expert lily arrangers, get in touch. We’re happy to create an arrangement that’s perfect for solemn occasions, celebratory ones or just to brighten a corner of your home. Together we can celebrate the lily – a flower that captures the essence of both ephemeral beauty and enduring charm.