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Tiger Lily: A Bold and Beautiful Garden Addition

Tiger Lilies, Lilium lancifolium, Lilium tigrinum

Lilium Lancifolium, Lilium Tigrinum,  Lilium Tigrinum Var splendens, Lilium Tigrinium Flore Pleno, Species & Cultivars of Species Group, Summer flowering Bulb, mid summer flowering lilies

What is a Tiger Lily?

Tiger Lily is a beautiful and vibrant flowering plant belonging to the genus Lilium.  Its scientific name is Lilium lancifolium or L. tigrinum. It is native to China, Japan, and Korea.

Perennial: Tiger lilies are bulbous perennial flowers, meaning they will come back year after year if properly cared for.

Height: They grow up to 2-5 feet tall (60-150 cm) on slender stems clad with strongly lance-shaped leaves.

Flowers: Tiger lilies boast bright orange blooms covered in black or crimson spots resembling a tiger’s skin. These large, unscented flowers are 5 inches (12 cm) and mostly downward-facing, adorned with gracefully recurved tepals and held on long, upright stems. Prolific, mature bulbs can produce up to 40 blossoms (!!!) and will multiply to form clumps over the years.

Bloom time: They usually bloom in mid to late summer (when most other lilies are finished), depending on the climate and growing conditions.

Easy to grow: Tiger lilies are robust and relatively easy to grow. They can thrive in a variety of conditions, including full sun or partial shade and moist or dry soil.

Medicinal properties: In traditional Chinese medicine, they have been used to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory infections, fever, and sore throat.

Toxicity: While tiger lilies are not toxic to humans, they can be toxic to cats. If ingested, they can cause vomiting, lethargy, and loss of appetite.

Deer: Tiger lilies are considered deer-resistant

Symbolism: The tiger lily is often associated with wealth, prosperity, and good luck in Chinese culture. In the language of flowers, it is said to represent pride and prosperity.

Hardiness: These lilies are hardy plants that can grow in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 9.

Why Should I Grow Tiger Lilies?

There are several reasons why you might want to consider growing tiger lilies in your garden:

Striking appearance: Tiger lilies are known for their vibrant orange blooms with striking black or crimson spots. They make a bold statement in any garden.

Low maintenance: These lilies are easy to care for and require minimal maintenance. They are hardy plants that can thrive in a variety of growing conditions.

Attract pollinators: Tiger lilies are a great addition to any pollinator garden. They attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds with their bright, showy blooms.

Versatile: These lilies can be planted in a variety of garden settings, including as part of a mixed border or as a focal point in a flower bed. They are also well suited to containers and also make excellent cut flowers for bouquets and arrangements (the blossoms can last up to 2 weeks in a vase).

Perennial: Tiger lilies will come back year after year with minimal effort on your part. They can even naturalize and spread over time, creating a stunning display in your garden.

Guide Information

Hardiness 3 - 9
Heat Zones 1 - 7
Climate Zones 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21
Plant Type Bulbs, Perennials
Genus Lilium
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Mid, Late)
Height 2' - 5'
(60cm - 150cm)
Spread 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spacing 4" - 6"
(10cm - 15cm)
Depth 6" - 8"
(15cm - 20cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Cut Flowers, Showy
Tolerance Deer
Attracts Bees, Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Landscaping Ideas Beds And Borders, Patio And Containers
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Informal and Cottage
Lilium lancifolium ‘Flore Pleno’ (Double Tiger Lily)
Lilium lancifolium ‘Splendens’ (Tiger Lily)
Lilium lancifolium (Tiger Lily)

Where to Plant Tiger Lilies

Sunlight: Tiger lilies grow best in full sun to partial shade. In warmer regions, it’s best to plant them in a location with afternoon shade to protect them from excessive heat. In cooler regions, they can be planted in full sun.

Soil: They thrive in well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. They can tolerate a wide range of soil types, including acidic or alkaline soils. It is best to avoid planting tiger lilies in areas with poorly drained soil or standing water, as this can cause the bulbs to rot.

Water: Tiger lilies require regular watering during their active growing season, especially during hot and dry weather. The soil needs to be consistently moist but not waterlogged.

Placement: They can be planted in garden beds, borders, or containers and are often used as focal points or accent plants.

When to Plant Tiger Lilies

Tiger lilies can be planted in the fall or early spring. Fall planting is ideal because it allows the bulbs to establish a strong root system before winter. How to Plant Fuchsia

How to Plant Tiger Lilies

Here are the steps to plant tiger lilies:

Choose a location: Tiger lilies prefer well-drained soil and a location with partial to full sun exposure. Plant them in a spot where they will receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.

Prepare the soil: Add compost or well-rotted manure to the soil and mix it thoroughly to improve its fertility. If your soil is heavy clay, amend it with compost or other organic matter to improve drainage.

Dig holes: Dig holes that are twice as wide and deep as the tiger lily bulbs.

Plant the bulbs: Place the bulbs in the holes with the pointed end facing up. They should be planted about 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) deep and 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) apart. Cover the bulbs with soil and gently firm the soil around them.

Water thoroughly: Water deeply after planting to settle the soil and ensure good contact between the roots and soil.

Companion Plants for your Tiger Lily

Tiger lilies make a beautiful statement in the garden and can be enhanced by planting them alongside certain companion plants. Here are some examples of companion plants:

Achillea, also known as yarrow, can add a softness and delicate feel to the garden when planted with these lilies.

Crocosmia adds a splash of bright orange and can be planted with tiger lilies to create a stunning display of color.

Echinops, or globe thistle, has round blue blooms that make a striking addition to a tiger lily garden.

Eryngium, or sea holly, offers an interesting contrast with its spiky blue foliage and unusual blooms.

Helenium is another great option, as its yellow and red blooms complement the orange of the tiger lilies.

Cotinus, also known as a smoke bush, adds texture with its large, billowy leaves that contrast nicely with the tiger lily’s slim stems.

Verbena offers a lighter, more airy feel with its small, delicate blooms

Stipa gigantea, or giant feather grass, adds height and movement with its feathery plumes.

 

Stipa gigantea (Golden Oats)
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)
Achillea (Yarrow)
Crocosmia (Montbretia)
Echinops (Globe Thistle)
Eryngium (Sea Holly)

Caring for a Tiger Lily

Watering: Tiger lilies like to be kept moist but not waterlogged. Water deeply once a week rather than with light and frequent watering.

Fertilizer: Tiger lilies do not require much fertilizer, but they will benefit from a light application of a balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10, in early spring.

Mulch: A layer of mulch around the base of the plant will help to retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Deadheading: Removing spent flowers will encourage the plant to produce more blooms.

Division: Tiger lilies can become crowded over time and may benefit from dividing every few years. Wait until the foliage has died back in the fall before dividing the bulbs.

By following these care tips, your tiger lilies should thrive and provide beautiful blooms year after year.

How to Propagate

Tiger lilies can be propagated by dividing their bulbs in the fall. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Dig up the lily bulbs carefully with a garden fork or spade. Be careful not to damage the bulbs or the roots.
  • Separate the bulbs from each other gently, being careful not to damage them. You can do this by hand or with a knife or spade.
  • Choose a location for the new bulbs that is well-draining and gets plenty of sunlight.
  • Dig holes for the new bulbs that are about 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) deep and 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) apart.
  • Add a layer of compost or other organic matter to the bottom of each hole.
  • Place the bulbs in the holes with the pointed end facing up and the roots facing down.
  • Cover the bulbs with soil and tamp it down gently.
  • Water the bulbs thoroughly after planting.
  • Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the plants to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Pests and Diseases

Tiger lilies are generally resistant to pests and diseases. However, they can occasionally fall victim to some common issues, such as:

Aphids: These small, sap-sucking insects can cause distorted growth and spread viral diseases. They can be removed with a strong jet of water or by using insecticidal soap.

Red Lily Leaf Beetle: These beetles feed on the leaves and flowers of lilies. They can be controlled by handpicking them off or using an insecticide.

Botrytis blight: This fungal disease causes gray mold to form on the leaves, stems, and flowers of the plant. It is often caused by wet and humid conditions. Infected plant parts should be removed and destroyed, and a fungicide can be applied to prevent further spread.

Fusarium Wilt: This soil-borne fungal disease causes the leaves to yellow and wilt and can ultimately kill the plant. It is difficult to control once it has infected a plant, but it can be prevented by using sterile soil and avoiding overhead watering.

Regularly inspecting your lilies for signs of pests and diseases and promptly treating any issues that arise can help keep them healthy and thriving in your garden.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is special about the Tiger Lily?

Tiger lilies are known for their striking beauty, with bright orange flowers adorned with black or deep crimson spots, resembling the skin of a tiger. They are easy to grow and care for, making them a popular choice for many gardeners. They come back year after year and are also deer-resistant.

Do tiger lilies only bloom once?

Tiger lilies are perennial plants that bloom once a year during the summer months. The blooming period typically lasts for several weeks, with each individual flower lasting for only a few days. However, they can produce multiple flowers on a single stem and can also produce multiple stems from a single bulb, resulting in a prolonged blooming period. With proper care and maintenance, they can continue to bloom each year.

Do tiger lilies like sun or shade?

Tiger lilies prefer to be planted in a spot that receives full sun to partial shade. They will tolerate some shade, but too much shade can result in weak stems and decreased blooming. In general, a location with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day is best.

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While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Hardiness 3 - 9
Heat Zones 1 - 7
Climate Zones 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21
Plant Type Bulbs, Perennials
Genus Lilium
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Mid, Late)
Height 2' - 5'
(60cm - 150cm)
Spread 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spacing 4" - 6"
(10cm - 15cm)
Depth 6" - 8"
(15cm - 20cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Cut Flowers, Showy
Tolerance Deer
Attracts Bees, Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Landscaping Ideas Beds And Borders, Patio And Containers
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Informal and Cottage
Compare All Lilium (Lily)
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Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
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