Tiger Lily Plants are one of the most popular plants in our garden. They grow well in almost any climate and soil conditions. You will often see them growing along with other houseplants such as dahlias or sunflowers. These plants are easy to grow and require little attention from their keepers. However, they have a tendency to become invasive if not kept under control! Most people don’t realize how many tigers there actually are in the wild! There are over 100 species of these plants in the world, but only about 30 or so are cultivated commercially. Tiger lily plants (Lilium longiflorum) belong to the family Liliales and they come in many colors including white, pink, yellow, red and purple. They can reach heights of 6 feet tall and produce flowers that range from 1/2 inch across up to 2 inches wide.
The flowers are used medicinally in China and Japan. They are also known to ward off evil spirits, cure headaches, treat skin diseases and even make hair grow faster. Some believe that eating tiger lily buds can increase virility and fertility. The leaves contain high amounts of vitamin A which may reduce wrinkles, prevent cataracts and improve eyesight.
Their seeds contain iron, manganese, magnesium and zinc which may aid in weight loss or promote healthy bones. However, you should never eat the seeds since they can cause cardiac arrest. They are also mildly toxic to dogs and cats.
Despite their name, these plants are not true lilies and should not be confused with the calla lily (zantedeschia aethiopica) or the narcissus (daffodil) plant. The tiger lily plant is actually in the amaryllis family. They often have a pungent smell that some find offensive.
Tiger lily plants are considered annuals since they only live for one year. They grow from a corm that is similar to an onion. The corm is whitish and can be found underground, just below the surface. They usually grow quickly and produce leaves in less than two months in ideal conditions.
These leaves are large, bold and grass-like. They can reach up to 3 feet long and often occur in a basal patch with as many as 10 leaves per plant. The leaves will grow quickly and produce a tall stem that can reach up to 10 feet tall. Some taller species can reach up to 20 feet.
The first thing you should do is make sure you aren’t trying to grow an illegal drug! Check the tag or ask the nursery where you bought it for identification. If it is a lily, then it should have either a metal, plastic or cardboard tag that has “Lilium” written on it somewhere. If it doesn’t have this, then do not try to grow it!
Next, you need to prepare the soil! Tiger lilies need well-draining soil. If your soil does not drain well, then you can add some grit or sand to the bottom of your pot to improve drainage. This will ensure your plant doesn’t die from root rot.
You should also choose a pot that is at least 10 inches in diameter to give the roots room to grow.
Fill the pot with soil and make a small hole in the middle for the bulb or corm. If you bought a corm, then you can plant it right into the middle of your soil. Otherwise, you will need to gently cut it into smaller pieces about 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter and plant them about an inch deep. Keep the soil slightly moist until they start growing.
Once your bulbs start growing, you need to make sure they get enough light. If you are putting them indoors, a sunny window should do it. If the sun isn’t strong enough, you can supplement it with grow lights. You should also keep the soil lightly moist and don’t let the pot sit in water.
Let the top half of the soil dry out before you water again.
If you are growing them outdoors, then you should wait until late spring or early summer to plant them. They need at least 50 degree soil to grow and will not survive the winter. Wait until the soil has warmed up a bit and is no longer frosty before planting.
Tiger lilies can also be grown from seed, but they will take longer to bloom and will not be as strong or healthy. They also take longer to grow and bloom, so you need to be patient. First, plant the seeds about an inch deep in a well-draining soil. Then keep the soil moist and shaded until they start growing.
Young seedlings cannot survive intense sunlight. Once they are large enough to handle, transplant them to larger pots and then later set them out when it is warm enough.
Tiger lily care isn’t too difficult. They are hardy flowers that prefer to grow in woodlands and forests. These plants need plenty of sunlight, well-draining soil and to be kept moist.
To care for your lily indoors, you should place the pot in a sunny location that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. You can also use grow lights as an alternative. You can keep your lily in a greenhouse or conservatory instead. You will also need to keep the soil slightly damp at all times and feed it once during the growing season.
Follow the instructions on your particular plant food.
If your plant is outdoors, then you will need to wait until all danger of frost has passed before planting it. You can then place it in a partially shaded location that receives at least six hours of sunlight each day. If you cannot place it in the ground, place it in a wooden or clay pot that has good drainage and is about 12 inches in diameter.
These plants need to be watered at least once a week, but only water them when the soil is dry. If the temperature becomes too hot, the plant may require daily watering. During the winter months, your plant will enter a state of semi-hibernation and will not require any water until springtime.
For the first two years, your plant won’t produce any flowers and will instead put its energy into growing strong roots and a firm stem. After this time, it should begin to bloom. It will produce flowers on and off for about a six-week period starting in the early summer and continuing until the weather becomes too cold. However, in its first year, you may not see any flowers at all even if it does bloom.
Don’t get discouraged if this happens. It just means your plant has a little bit more time to grow before it begins to bloom.
If you are growing your lily from seed, then you should plant them about three months before the last frost in spring. You do not need to cover them with soil and can just keep them in a closed container until they are ready to be planted outside. Keep them indoors for their first year so that they don’t flower immediately. Follow the instructions above for caring for them once they reach maturity.
Sources & references used in this article:
Greenhouse and landscape growth of tiger lily cultivars following flurprimidol preplant bulb soaks by J Barnes, B Whipker, W Buhler, I McCall – HortTechnology, 2013 – journals.ashs.org
Genetic diversity and structure analyses on the natural populations of diploids and triploids of tiger lily, Lilium lancifolium Thunb., from Korea, China, and Japan by SI Lee, XT Nguyen, JH Kim, NS Kim – Genes & Genomics, 2016 – Springer
Garden lilies in Minnesota by MC Eisel – 1977 – conservancy.umn.edu