I wanted to have a scented flower indoors, so I bought a potted lily, it seemed to be the suitable for my conditions.

I'm aware it's only going to bloom for a few weeks, then die back, then - if I understood what I read correctly - regrow the next year from the bulbs.

However, most instructions mention the bulbs are to be replanted in a garden, which I don't have.

What I have is:

  • The windowsill in my bedroom. It's north-facing, so it gets good sun before noon, through a triple-glazed window. I use curtains on the inside of the room, not blinds, so the plant will get that light every day.
    • A small corner balcony on the other side of the apartment. There's a wall to the east side and it faces an inner courtyard, so it's only getting a little light during the afternoon.
    • This is the inner city, winters tend to be more soggy than cold. I'm guessing that near the walls there shouldn't be any significant frost.

I was hoping that I'd just need to wait until the leaves die, trim the stalks to 10ish centimeters, and move the pot outside into the corner until it comes back to life in the spring, then move it closer to the balcony railing until I see flower buds. Would that be enough, or do I need to do something more involved? (Discard/replant extra bulbs or change out the soil.) I'd also be happy with any extra advice, this is my first nonsucculent plant I'm attempting.

I'd also be thankful for any tips on how to have preferrably scented flowers in my room for a longer time. Are there other plants that will handle my conditions that bloom at other times of the year? I've also read about forcing bulbs in a refrigerator to make them bloom earlier, but I've no idea how to store them and schedule that to cover a length of time.

1 Answer 1


Your plan as outlined is a good one - I'd just add that its a good idea to give a balanced liquid fertilizer weekly while the leaves are present, after the flowers are starting to fade, because that's when the bulbs are storing food to produce flowers the following year. After six weeks, cut the foliage off and move to that sheltered corner of your balcony and proceed as you say in your question. If your winter is cold enough to cause the potting medium to freeze, you will need to insulate the pot to prevent that. If you leave the pot out there to flower, it may not be too happy - lilies like a sunny situation.

Other flowering houseplants which you might consider (though usually they're temporary visitors) are Stephanotis floribunda and Jasmine polyanthum, links for both below for more info:


Stephanotis floribunda

Gardenias are often sold as houseplants and are fragrant - buy it in flower, but be aware they're really fussy and you're unlikely to persuade it to flower again once its finished. The other thing to consider are prepared hyacinths - these are available in autumn, often sold with planting medium and a dish or pot, for you to grow yourself indoors to have in flower by Christmas, or you can usually find them already potted and growing in late winter ready to take home. I would warn, though, that the scent is often overpowering or too strong in a smaller, warm rooms, and some are more strongly scented than others - usually the blue ones are very strong indeed.

  • Thanks! I have been looking in the general direction of jasmines, but they're not commonly stocked in garden centres here. I was hoping a mix of winter and summer jasmine climbing on the balcony railing - if I read that site right, as long as I wrap up the pots of winter both species should be fine outdoors, and the mix should give me flowers year-round and scent for the summer.
    – millimoose
    Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 20:23
  • 1
    Erm, no - Stephanotis will only tolerate down to 10 deg C, well above freezing - the Jasmine polyanthum survives outdoors in the UK in cities if in sheltered, sunny, southfacing positions, usually grown on a wall, but will die in a cold winter, meaning a week or more of -5 deg C. Houseplant versions of J.polyanthum are usually about in March in the UK, intended for the Mother's Day market, not sure you have a mothers' day where you are though! Both also need full sun as well as warmer temperatures to flower well outdoors. 'Winter' jasmine is J.nudiflorum, a sprawling, lax shrub, hardy no scent
    – Bamboo
    Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 21:31
  • Oh, sorry, I didn't make my thinking-out-loud clear. I was thinking of putting j. officinale and/or j. nudiflorum on the balcony, using the railing as a trellis.
    – millimoose
    Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 21:37
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    Without full sun, J. officinale won't flower well, but you can try it - J.nudiflorum doesn't twine, its lax stems will all need to be tied in place, unfortunately, and it isn't fragrant.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 21:39

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