Do You Know How to Grow Tiger Lilies?

Do You Know How to Grow Tiger Lilies?

 The tiger lily is scientifically known as Lilium lancifolium. They are an Asian species of the popular lily flower. The tiger lily flower is native to China, Japan, Korea, and the eastern parts of Russia. They are popular in the ornamental industry, because of their showy orange and black flowers. They sporadically occur in North America as a garden escapee especially in New England and the US. Like any other lilies, they have upright stems which are about 80 to 200 cm tall. The leaves are lanceolate and are about 6 to 10 cm long and about 1 to 2 cm wide. The tiger lily plant produces bulbs in the leaf axis which are popularly known as aerial bulblets. These bulbs are responsible for producing clones to the original plant. The flowers are odourless and each of them lasts a few days.

Flower petals resemble a tiger skin

The flowers are widely cultivated in Asia, the bulbs are edible, and are popular for the same reason. The name tiger lily comes from the spots on the orange flower, which resembles tiger skin. They are herbaceous and perennial like most other lilies. Planting the bulbs in spring or the fall can make the plant bloom by mid to late summer. The orange flower petals slowly get recurved and the dark spots get speckled in it with time. They are more of a profuse bloomer. They can produce about 10 flowers in a stem. The flowers might be edible, but the pollens are slightly toxic to human beings. The parts of the plants are toxic to cats. The mature size of the plant is 3 to 5 feet tall. They love full sun to partial shade. Give them loamy and moist soil that drains well and has a pH range of about 5.5 to 6.5. there are lots of tiger lily colours – orange, red, yellow, white, pink, and some hybrids as well. Grow them in hardiness zones 3 to 9.

Tiger lily stages of growth

Once you plant the bulbs and they start to grow, they do send up a stem that is about one foot high and has linear leaves which are of a similar length. Generally, one can’t experience flowers for the first year or two, just the stems grow taller and thicker. You do need to give them the proper treatment, it's important that the plant grows, be it with or without the flowers. The tiger lily bulb often sends out offshoots even before the flowering stage. The small bulbs start sprouting from the base and keep increasing the thickness of the clump.

In the third year or so, one can observe the flowers coming out. The stem would grow about 4 to 6 feet. About 10 flowers would start opening from the bottom. The flowers are generally down-facing. It's just how they are. These flowers are not self-fertile, so they don’t set seeds. The plant is edible and has many medicinal uses.

When the weather turns cold, and the plant has flowered, the stems will turn brown. They then start getting withered and dies. The bulb remains alive throughout the winter too, the plant would keep growing its roots underground. In the next spring, one can see the bulb sending up another long stem, which would flower the next summer.

Is Tiger lily edible?

As said, the tiger lilies are edible. That’s one of the main reasons that they are prized and cultivated for their bulbs in the eastern parts of Asia. The bulbs often have a flavour of turnips. The texture is also similar to that of turnips. They can be roasted like potatoes. The flowers are also edible. They are often tossed into various salads because of their sweet taste and vibrant colour. The plant shoots are used in stir-fries. Remember that the plant is toxic to cats, so keep your cats away from the tiger lilies.

Growing tiger lilies

The tiger lilies are grown from bulbils, they don’t tolerate soggy soil, so give them rich well-drained soil. If the water gets soaked in the soil, the bulbils might get rotted. You can amend the soil – this improved the drainage system. You can add compost and humus to the soil. Peat moss, sand, and some straws when mixed into the beds improve the drainage system too. This can also help in retaining moisture.

Once the tiger lilies are established, the plant can thrive with less care too.  Using fertilizers like the 5-10-5 composition or feeding them in form of organic mulch is also beneficial for the tiger lily plant. Apply it once or twice per month. The mulch helps in adding nutrients to the plants. Give them low shade as the plant likes cool shades. It's better to plant the tiger lily plant away from the other lily varieties. Asiatic and Oriental lilies can cause problems to the plant, tiger lilies are prone to mosaic virus. This virus gets easily transmitted to other lily varieties. This virus can decrease flower growth and cause distorted and mottled blooms. Remove the affected plants.

Protect them from the afternoon sun. They prefer fairly fertile and slightly acidic soil types.  The plant has average water needs. The mature plant might tolerate drought to some extent, although consistent watering is advised. Regular rainfall would mean that you have less work to do. The plant can tolerate both humid and dry areas though.

Double tiger lily

The double tiger lily or the ‘Flore Peno’ is quite popular. The bright and showy orange double flowers always look attractive. One can count the tepals and the count would reach about 24 to 36. They are covered with profuse purple-black spots. They have the appearance of tiger skin. They are native to China and Japan. They generally bloom in late summer and can produce about 25 blossoms in each stem. They can grow in both containers and the ground. They grow up to 4 to 6 feet tall. Plant them in groups of 3 bulbs minimum in the spring or fall. These lilies are the member of the Species and Cultivators of Species Division (IX).

 Blue tiger lily flower

Flower symbolizes confidence

The blue tiger lily flowers are one of the most exotic tiger lily varieties. The shade of blue is perfect for special occasions. The blue tiger lily symbolizes confidence and is symbolic of virtues of mercy and compassion. Give them partial shade and a bit of balanced fertilizer and they would grow just fine.

Red tiger lily

Has distinctive fragrance

This has a similarity to the orange tiger lily which is one of the most popular varieties. The strong upright stems are enough to say how much they are worth it. The red tiger lily has a distinctive fragrance. The crimson petals are flecked with dark spots which enhance its beauty. When the flowers open, they tend to bend backward. The flowers can be seen appearing in the mid to late summer.

Pink tiger lily

Features large branching heads

They are the old-fashioned variety. This tiger lily has been in cultivation for centuries. The nodding black spots on the rose-pink flowers look beautiful. They are generally produced on tall stems and have large branching heads. Ideal for cutting. They divide every 3 years generally in October and move to a new location. Always remove the old stems in the late fall – this can help discourage diseases. 

White tiger lily

Flowers features recurving petals

The attractive white tiger lily is another attractive tiger lily variety. The pure white petals of the flower are covered with burgundy-brown spots – this gives them more of an exotic look. The downward-facing flowers look great with the recurving petals. The flower likes partial shade to grow. The flowers are perennial, so they do come back the next time. They generally appear in the mid to late season.

Yellow tiger lily

The mature plant is 36 to 40 inches

Also known as the Citronella lily, the yellow version of the tiger lilies comes with strong and upright stems. The handsome black spots should be given credits to enhance their beauty. They are quite easy to grow and like partial shade. The mature height of the plant is 36 to 40 inches. They generally bloom in mid to late summer like the other types.



What do tiger lilies symbolize?

Tiger lilies symbolize confidence and boost self-morale.

What is the difference between tiger lilies and a lily?

The tiger lilies grow in hardiness zones 4 to 9, while lilies grow in hardiness zones 3 to 8. The dark spots on the tiger lilies carry more weight, and the flowers face downwards.

Are Tiger flower and tiger lily the same?

Yes, they are the same.

Is tiger lily a real flower?

Yes, they are real flowers and look beautiful when planted and taken care of.

What are tiger lilies bloom time?

They bloom in mid to late summer and remain on display for weeks.

Tiger lily propagation?

They propagate by bulbs.

What is the best tiger lilies food?

They don’t need feeding, but one can use the 5-10-5 composition fertilizer or feed them in form of organic mulch.

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