The Lilium tigrinum, more commonly known as the tiger lily, is an herbaceous perennial that grows from a bulb and produces beautifully coloured flowers in summer. The bulbs can be planted in the spring or autumn and will bloom by midsummer.
The flower is easily identifiable due to its curled back petals, dark spots with six stamens and a long style.
If you’re keen to add this type of lily to your garden, learn more with our guide.
Growing Tiger Lilies
Although they’re indigenous to Asia, these hardy plants can thrive almost anywhere, and you’ll find them in gardens all over Europe and the rest of the world. The bulbs will return each year with little effort and you can grow these flowers in containers or cutting gardens. To make a bold statement, place the bulbs in various groups or use them as a border in your flower beds.
The key to planting tiger lilies is to plant the bulbs in an area with good drainage to prevent the space from becoming waterlogged and rotting the bulbs. Once the bulbs have become plants with a properly developed root system, they’ll be able to live through droughts and require less hands-on effort.
Tips For Growing Tiger Lilies:
Light: While they’re not fussy about location, they do prefer sunny spots – especially after an icy cold winter, just like you! Partial shade can be beneficial when it comes to protecting them from the harsh afternoon sun.
Soil: To ensure proper soil nutrition you may need to add fertiliser or compost to the mix. The soil also needs adequate drainage, which can be further assisted by adding straw, moss, or sand.
Water: While mature plants are hardy and able to withstand droughts, they still require regular water. The easiest way to ensure proper growth is to keep the soil moist at all times. This one should be a no brainer; everything needs water to live.
Temperature: Tiger lilies begin growing in the spring once the last frost has passed. The temperature shouldn’t be an issue as the dormant bulbs are able to withstand the icy soil in winter
Fertilizer: Depending on the composition of your soil, tiger lilies don’t need a lot of fertilizer to grow. Adding a layer of compost around the plant’s base should be sufficient in terms of nutrition for the year. Of course, if you want to encourage blooming, you can add fertilizer to the mix too.
Potted lilies: If your lilies are in pots and have stopped blooming, they may have outgrown the pot and need more room for the roots to grow. Try repotting it in a bigger container or transfer it into your garden if you have the space. It’s important to keep the lilies in the same quality of soil as what they were before.
Propagating lilies: If not properly maintained, tiger lilies can take over your garden. To prevent this, you can separate the bulbs before the growth season kicks in. This process needs to be done carefully to prevent damage to the bulbs and ensure the new “bulbs” grow.
You can remove the bulbils along the stem to prevent the plant from spreading – or to create a new plant elsewhere. As with most invasive plant species, they can be beautiful but overpowering when not properly monitored.
Are Tiger Lilies Toxic?
While they are safe for people, dogs, and most animals, tiger lilies are toxic to cats. Even the slightest exposure to the plant can cause a reaction in cats that can result in kidney failure. Symptoms of poisoning include vomiting, a lack of appetite and lethargy. Immediate medical attention is required to ensure your cat receives life-saving treatment before it’s too late.
Pests To Look Out For On Tiger Lilies
The plants may be hardy, but they can still carry diseases like mosaic virus that damages other lilies. Aphids and red lily beetles can become a problem, so keep an eye on the leaves to make sure they’re not being munched away.
Pruning Tiger Lilies
The leaves on the lower parts of the plants will die off in the late summer. This may be difficult to notice depending on the location of the plant. Once the leaves have turned yellow, cut the stalks to ground level.
Are Tiger Lilies Edible?
Yes; unless you’re a cat of course! The taste and texture are similar to that of a turnip and can be roasted, tossed in a salad, or used in a stir fry. It’s safe to say that you can use your imagination when eating these colourful flowers, and you may even come across them in dishes in some of the top restaurants.
Ideal For The Amateur Gardener
If you’re looking to add colour to your home or garden without having to commit to regular maintenance, a tiger lily is the ultimate lazy gardener flower. All you need to do is prep the soil, plant the bulbs and keep the soil moist as soon as the last frost has passed. That’s all there is to it!
Other Types of Lilies
There are many species of lilies available – and there are hybrids too. They don’t all bloom at the same time, which means that if you plan properly, you can have lilies in your garden all year round. Here are just a few other types of lilies to add to your garden.
Asiatic hybrids: They’re pink, red, white, yellow, and orange – and grow at the beginning of summer.
Easter lilies: They’re white and trumpet-shaped – and grow in spring and summer.
Oriental hybrids: This includes the stargazer lily and they often grow towards the end of summer.