How To Care For Tiger Lily

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A composite photo of tiger lilies

It’s easy to grow a Tiger Lily from bulbs, and their lilies are one of the most beautiful flowers in the world. Offering vibrant colors and a dramatic look, it’s hard not to love them and to care for them.

Other synonyms of the tiger lily plant include:

  • Lilium tigrinum
  • Lilium catesbaei
  • Pine lily
  • Leopard lily
  • Kentan
  • Lilium columbianum
  • Oregon lily
  • Wester wood lily
  • Chalice-cup lily
  • Western red lily

Lilies are very rewarding to grow because with very little preparation and care they yield vibrant and abundant results. And they are hardy (USDA zones 3 to 9).

If you want to compare tiger lilies to other lilies, start with this article on the daylily . Here’s more on the Wood Lily.

Success With Tiger Lily Flower Starts With Good Soil Preparation

Growing lilies is easy as long as you give them a well-drained soil. Begin with soil that has been thoroughly tilled and loosened to provide your lily bulbs with excellent drainage.

Establish your tiger lilly bed in full sunlight as lilies are sun-loving flowers. If you plant them in a shaded or partially shaded area, they will tend to lean in the direction of the sunlight. In full sun, they will grow tall, straight and strong.

Tiger Lily Flower Appearance

The tiger lily flower wears orange petals with black spots which suits the summer vibe. The orange black color made it look like the tiger’s skin, a good reason for earning the name tiger lily. Tiger lilies crossed-bred with Asiatic lilies resulted to hybrid tiger lilies of different colors. From the black and orange combination, the cross-breeding gave birth to red, yellow, and white lily. Each color holds a slightly different appearance compared to others.

On the other hand, the double orange tiger lily bears a lot of tepals and no stamens. The stems of this type of lily shoots up to 30 to 48 inches tall and grows in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 9. The orange day lilies grows along roadsides and ditches, which is why it is called the ditch lily.

This species of lily have different growth habits. It grows from tuberous roots and bears healthy grass-like foliage coming from the base of the lily plant.

Plant Tiger Lily Bulbs In Late Fall Or Very Early Spring

Once you’ve prepared the bed, dig individual holes and plant your bulbs. Dig the holes approximately eight inches apart and about six inches deep. Place bulbs carefully in the holes with the flat part on the bottom and the pointy part sticking up. Cover them completely with fresh soil and tap it down lightly.

Follow up with a thorough watering. Covering with a few inches of mulch will help protect the bulbs and hold moisture into the ground.
Here’s a quick roundup on lilies shared by the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier:

Find a sunny, well-drained location in the garden, loosen the soil and plant lily bulbs 6 to 8 inches deep, pointy end up. Handle with some care to avoid losing scales on the bulbs. How simple is that? After blooming, snip off the stems, leaving behind about 1/3 of the stem. Wait until the stems are completely dry before gently tugging them out.  Via

Trim Spent Blossoms Diligently

Once your lilies begin blooming, you’ll have an abundant supply of fresh flowers for creating indoor floral arrangements for your home.
Even if you do not cut flowers for decoration, keep a close eye on your lilies and deadhead them frequently to encourage more blooms.

Divide & Feed In Autumn

In the autumn, your lilies will die back and begin to go dormant. Before winter sets in, you should dig them up, divide them and replant them.
Keep the tiger lily plants away from Asiatic lily and oriental lily. Tiger lilies acquire the mosaic virus quickly. Although it won’t affect them, they can pass it to other lilies planted nearby.

Hybrid lilies affected by the mosaic virus will bear distorted and mottled blooms. You need to take away those infected by the disease to avoid further outbreak. If you don’t have enough space to plant more lilies, remember that lily bulbs make an excellent gift and the holidays are right around the corner!

Autumn is also the perfect time to amend your soil by adding properly age compost, sand and/or peat moss.

All of these additions help nourish your Tiger Lily bulbs and provide better drainage for the soil. Remember that Tiger Lilies are especially intolerant of soggy conditions.

Mulch In Springtime

Remember to keep your Tiger Lilies well-mulched with organic mulch that will provide them with nutrients throughout the growing season and help hold water into the soil so that they can make the most of available water. If you use finished garden compost as mulch, it will do double duty as a boost of essential nutrients at the start of the growing season.

When and How To Plant Tiger Lily Seeds?

Tiger lily seeds are contained inside the bulbil, which is a small bulb-like growth that develops after the flower has faded.
If you want to collect these seeds, do not deadhead your Tiger lilies when they finish blooming at the end of the summer.
Instead, allow the bulbils to form completely. When they are ready to gather, they will be quite dark and will fall off the plant readily when bumped.

Planting Options:

  • Plant them, directly into your garden soil as soon as you gather them.
  • Place them in the refrigerator to stratify them for a month or so before starting them indoors in sterile potting medium.

This video demonstrates how to start Lily bulbils indoors. [embedded content]

Pests And Diseases On Tiger Lilies

In general, tiger lilies encounter few growing issues, but several pests and diseases to be aware of.

  • Botrytis – a fungal disease caused by excessive moisture and warm temperature. It affects the leaves, with the first signs appearing as white spots on the leaves. Control this disease by removing the spotted leaves. Spray the plant with baking soda mixture. Ensure plants get plenty of air circulation to prevent an outbreak.
  • Basal Rot – a common fungal disease the “root rot” attacks the bulb through the roots. Early disease symptoms include premature yellowing of foliage caused mostly by warm moist/wet soil. To prevent its occurrence, provide good drainage and avoid over-watering plants during summer. Remove the infected scales and use a fungicide to treat bulbs.
  • Blue Mold – Due to high sugar content, mechanical injury or bruises on the bulb can create the penicillin mold. A dusting of a fungicide powder will remove the harmless mold.
  • Virus Diseases – Spread mainly by aphids. The main virus symptoms display flecking in the leaves or irregular mottling, distorted growth, and reduced plant size.

Control the spread of the virus to other lilies by discarding infected bulbs and scales, and remove affected plants. First, try killing aphids with a homemade spray or control them using approved synthetic chemical insecticides.

Why Choose Tiger Lilies?

The Tiger Lily is an old-fashioned, traditional addition to your garden that puts on a grand show and can actually provide you with a bit of privacy since well cared for specimens can grow to be several feet tall.

Surprisingly, Tiger Lilies are also fairly drought tolerant. Although you need to water deeply and regularly (about once a week) during the first growing season. Once established Tiger Lilies do very well on only existing rainfall.

Naturally, you will want to keep a close eye on them and if they begin to show signs of suffering from heat and dryness, give them a deep, slow watering that will last them a week or more. There are many different types of lilies, and they all grow wonderfully; however, Tiger Lilies are the most hardy. They also produce vast numbers of flowers (as many as 12 per stem) in a wide range of vibrant shades of yellow, gold, orange and red.

Where Does The Tiger Lily Grow Wild?

Tiger lilies originated in the far east. Although they are Asian natives, they have adapted very well to life in the United States and naturalize easily in USDA zones 3-9. They can be grown in any well-draining soil in partial shade to full sun. Their water needs are low-to-moderate.
Because these plants are so tough and adaptable, many people describe them as “wild tiger lilies.”

They naturalize in woodlands, open spaces, along railroad tracks and in vacant lots in many and varied locations across the US and into Canada. It is important to understand that there is no American “wild tiger lily”.

There are actually two types of lily called “Tiger Lily”. One is the Day Lily (Hemerocallis fulva), which is not listed as invasive and can be planted in gardens in controlled numbers. [source]. The second is the true Tiger Lily (Lilium lancifolium/Lilium tigrinum). These plants are invasive, so if you plan to plant them, be sure to keep them contained and under control. [source]

Video – Care for Tiger Lily

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