Tiger Lilies - A Complete Guide for Growth and Care

Learn everything you need to know about the Tiger lily plant (Lilium Lancifolium) and how to grow and care for it with our detailed guide.

We will cover:

  • Tiger lily growing conditions;
  • Where to plant Tiger lilies;
  • How to grow and transplant them;
  • How to propagate the Tiger lily plant;
  • Where to buy Tiger lilies

  • What Are Tiger Lilies and Where Did They Originate?

    Lilies are a family or group of plants that have over 100 species including the Tiger lily. Lilies are one of the most popular perennial flowers in the US and are grown for their vibrant and dramatic blooms.

    The orange Tiger lily is an ancient species cultivated for centuries. It is believed to have originally grown in the semi-mountainous regions of Asia. Since then, it has spread globally and is now a favorite in the US.

    A Tiger lily plant can grow up to five feet but has the potential to grow higher in the right conditions. The Tiger lily plant has a narrow spread of eight inches. Due to its height, it may need staking for extra support.

    Its architectural leaves have a whorled or spiral growth pattern. The Tiger lily has bright orange flowers with dark, chocolate-colored spots. Its flowers grow trumpet-shaped and nodding. The flowers grow at the top of the stem. Each flower has several long stamens with dark anthers at the tips.

    Tiger Lily Growing Conditions 

    Before you start your garden, it is always a good idea to figure out which zone you live in. A zone is determined by the average high and low temperatures in a particular area. The lower the number, the cooler the climate, the higher the number, the warmer. 

    The Tiger lily is perennial in most zones. From zones 3 to 8, Tiger lilies will return every year in spring, even if their vegetation dies off. They can be grown as annuals in colder climates.

    Soil Conditions for Tiger Lilies

    The best soil for the Tiger lily is well-drained, rich, and organic. It can tolerate other types of soil but does not like excessive moisture and cannot tolerate long periods of drought.

    Heavy clay or sandy soils can be fixed by adding an inch of compost. This will improve soil structure and allow the lilies to grow more.

    Where to Plant Your Tiger Lilies

    Tiger lilies can be quite flexible in the garden. However, here are some things to consider before you plant your lilies:

    • Tiger lilies grow best in full sun and can tolerate occasional shade
    • Because they are tall growers, they may need staking
    • They can be grown in a variety of spots, as long as the soil is rich and free-draining

    Here are some specific locations in which the Tiger lily can be planted: 

    Great for Back of Borders

    These tall perennial lilies can grow in spaces that need extra height. An ideal spot is in the back of the borders because the lilies flower at the top of their stems. They can be planted near buildings or trellises to provide them with additional support and to add interest.

    Perfect for Tropical Gardens

    The Tiger lily is prized for its unique markings. It has orange petals with chocolate-colored spots, hence the name ‘Tiger lily.’ Its exotic appearance makes it one of the best flowers to add to a tropical-style garden. Its spiky, lateral-growing foliage creates a sense of depth and adds plenty of greenery.

    Even in Containers!

    You can always plant a Tiger lily in a container if you have a small space or don’t have a garden.  The benefit is that you will be able to move it to a different location if it needs more or less sun. Also, they add height and depth to a space providing a sense of enclosure.

    How to Grow a Tiger Lily

    We finally got to the most exciting part of gardening (aside from buying the plants) - planting the plants!

    The Tiger lily is a low-maintenance plant that is self-sufficient in ideal conditions.

    How and When to Plant Tiger Lily Bulbs

    • Plant bulbs in fall or early spring after the ground thaws
    • Dig soil so that the top of the bulb will be 2 to 4 inches from the soil level
    • Plant the bulb with the tip facing up and the root bottom facing down
    • Cover with soil and water it thoroughly
    • Label where you planted the bulb so you don’t accidentally dig them up later

    Bare Root or Containerized Tiger Lily

    • Plant the Tiger lily in spring or mid-fall
    • Dig soil big enough for the root ball, but not so deep that you will bury the leaves
    • Plant and backfill with soil
    • Water thoroughly
    • Fertilize the following year after the plant is established

    Tiger Lily Aftercare

    • If you plan on cutting the flowers off to dry or using them in flower arrangements, cut as little of the stem as possible. The Tiger lily flowers grow on the previous year’s foliage
    • Fertilize the plant with 5-10-5 fertilizer in mid-fall to encourage the following year's blooming
    • Instead of fertilizing, you can add an inch of compost to the soil in the fall
    • Prune the flowers to improve the appearance

    How to Transplant a Tiger Lily

    Transplanting Tiger lily plants is easy. It should be done in early spring or, ideally, late fall. It should never be done in summer unless absolutely necessary. If transplanting in summer, do so in the evening or on a cooler, cloudy day to reduce plant stress.

    • Dig up the plant bulb and roots
    • Keep as many of the roots intact as possible
    • Move the plant to a new location
    • Plant at the same depth as before
    • Backfill with soil
    • Water the plant so the roots can begin to adjust to its new setting

    How to Propagate a Tiger Lily

    The best way to propagate is by planting their seeds. To harvest, remove the dark seeds at the base of the leaves. Then, plant seeds individually at a depth of one to two inches into the garden or a small container.

    You can also dig up the bulbs every few years and divide the bulbs. To do so, tease apart their roots without tearing them. Then replant allowing for more space between the bulbs or plant in a new location.

    The one-of-a-kind Tiger Lily has some of the rarest markings of any perennial flower. Its exotic look can turn your outdoor space from a garden to an oasis. This plant is easy to take care of and easy to propagate. 

    Zones: 3 to 8Sun exposure: Full sunMature height: 3 to 5 feetWater: Average Best for tropical-style gardens, borders, water’s edge, and woodland’s edge

    The Tiger lily is an uncommon plant and may be difficult to come by. Here at Tennessee Nursery, we sell bare-root Tiger lilies that ship directly to you. You will receive 2 healthy and robust plants that have already had a great start. Once ordered, we will ship the Tiger lilies to you in 5-7 days. Plant the Tiger lilies as soon as possible or place them in water until you are able to plant them.

    Shop while supplies last:  Tiger Lilies 

    From the ideal growing conditions of the Tiger lily to its unique features, we hope this article answers your questions. If you have any questions about our Tiger lily or any of our other flowers, feel free to reach out! We love talking plants with anyone who is interested.

    Tiger Lily - TN Nursery

    Tiger Lily

    Tiger Lily is a striking perennial plant with bold orange, spotted Turk's cap-shaped flowers and whorled, lance-shaped leaves. It is often grown for its vibrant and exotic appearance in gardens. It offers many benefits when incorporated into landscaping. Its captivating appearance, resilience, and ease of cultivation make it a favored choice among gardeners and landscape enthusiasts. Without delving into its applications in herbalism, let's explore how it enhances outdoor spaces through its aesthetic appeal, ecosystem contributions, and adaptability. Upgrade Your Landscape With TN Nursery Tiger Lily produces showy orange blossoms and tall, leafy stalks, making it a very impactful addition to any garden. This flower works well in lush beds of flowers since it can stand out from the rest of the plants. It grows in dense clusters that work well for things like tree borders and sidewalk accents. Any time you want to create a landscape with a combination of consistency and colors, this flower is the ideal choice. This plant is a favorite of gardeners everywhere for its stunning blossoms. Each flower is a six-petaled bloom with long, narrow petals that curve backward from the center. The flowers are bright orange with speckles of black running along the top of each petal, and the center contains a spray of long, dark orange stamens. The heavy blossoms tend to cause the supporting stalk to bend slightly, so they hang upside down with a beautiful bell-like appearance. The Appeal of Tiger Lily This plant has many other perks beyond its beautiful blossoms. The rest of the plant consists of a tall, narrow stalk with blade-like leaves that fan in regular rows around the stalk. Each stalk is relatively narrow and is usually only around 10 inches wide. These fascinating plants have a unique, vertical shape that helps them stand out from most traditional shrubs. The stalks grow in clumps, creating a vibrant, dramatic look for your landscape. Enjoy Tiger Lily Throughout 3 Seasons Tiger Lily keeps growing during every part of the year. Each spring, delicate green shoots peak through the soil. These stems keep growing upwards until they reach the plant's full height of around five feet. Starting in late summer, the signature orange blossoms of the plant begin to appear. Long after most other garden flowers have left, this plant keeps blooming. After finishing its blooming season in fall, leaves start to lighten and fall. The plants remain dormant bulbs over the winter before returning to their full glory in spring.

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