One of the most striking flowers you can choose for your garden is the tiger lily. The outward curling petals, long stalks, and bright orange flowers with dark speckled spots surely stand out from the crowd.

They are extremely easy to grow, impervious to most pests, and work well with other perennial flowers in creating beautiful edged beds. If you want ease of growth, iconic flowers, and a perennial that plays well with others, the tiger lily is for you.

Tiger Lily Flower
Yellow Tiger Lily Flower

Tiger Lily Flower Information

  • Scientific Name – Lilium Lancifolium or Lilium Tigrinum

  • Life Cycle – Perennial – Plant bulbil in fall or very early spring, may take several years to bloom in mid to late summer, cut back in fall

  • Soil Type – Well-drained soil that is amended

  • Plant HardinessZones 3-10

  • Light RequirementsFull sun

  • Water RequirementsModest water needs

  • Planting DateSpring (or fall in warmer climates)

  • Flowering SeasonMid-late summer

  • Height3-4 feet

  • ColorsKnown for orange with black or crimson spots, some hybrid varieties with red, white, pink flowers

  • PestsRed lily beetle, aphids, basal rot, mosaic virus

  • PropagationPlant via bulbs, separate bulbs every few years to manage garden

Growing Tiger Lily

Tiger lilies are not difficult to grow, but they do have some specific needs in order for them to flower well. Tiger Lilies need to have soil that is extremely well-drained, so amending the soil is definitely step one in ensuring you will grow beautiful and lush plants. You can amend the soil by adding compost or humus to the soil. Peat moss or straw would also do the trick.

When you are first planting bulbs, plant them pointed side down about 8 inches apart in a set of 3. This will make a great visual as they grow. Expect your tiger lilies to be aggressive spreaders. But don’t expect it right away. It can take up to 5 years for the buds to flower.

Tiger Lily Care

Once you have an established set of tiger lily plants, they will not need much daily care. They grow easily, (and sometimes too easily!) If they have grown excessively, divide your bulbs in the spring before new growth.

Tiger Lilies can be aggressive spreaders, so keep an eye on that and separate the bulbs as needed, at least every 2 or 3 years. When you separate and replant, point the pointed side down.

In the fall, trim the tiger lilies when all the leaves are yellowed to a few inches above the ground, so that you can allow your plants to go dormant for the winter. If you do so, they will grow well the following year and you can enjoy them again and again in your garden.

Tiger Lily Pests

Although in general tiger lilies are disease resistant and easy to grow, there are a few pests that stand in their way. The red lily beetle is not yet prolific in the United States, having originated in Europe, but it is seen in the Eastern part of the country.

Neem oil will counteract the effects of this creature that enjoys eating the leaves of lilies. Aphids are another problem that befalls the tiger lily. A homemade dish soap water spray will take care of these pests, or neem oil can also be used.

As for diseases, basal rot is very problematic for tiger lilies, and one of the big reasons they must be grown in well-drained soil. If basal rot attacks your bulb, there will be catastrophic results.

Keep your tiger lilies out of standing water to prevent basal rot and your plants’ subsequent demise. The other disease that is an issue is the mosaic virus. Although it will not affect the leaves of the tiger lily itself, it can easily be passed to other types of lilies and hurt them.

Are There Different Types of Tiger Lilies

There is basically one type of tiger lily, though it is known by two different names, Lilium Lancifolium or Lilium Tigrinum. This is the plant that grows majestically 3-4 feet high, and is an iconic addition to any garden with its telltale orange flowers and dark spots.

Hybrids have been created recently which offer other colored flowers, such as pink, red, and white, but they are all variations on the same theme.

Tiger lilies are one of the most confusing plants around, as far as species go. Although they share some traits with other types of lilies, they are not fully related. Oriental lilies, and the Easter lily among others, are commonly mistaken for members of the tiger lily family, but they are not.

Should I Plant Tiger Lilies Near Other Lilies

No, that is not a good idea. Tiger lilies are prone to mosaic virus, although they will usually not be harmed by it themselves. However, it can easily spread to Asiatic or Oriental lilies that are planted nearby. In order to protect all types of lilies, do not plant tiger lilies near other varieties.

Are Tiger Lilies Toxic

For humans, tiger lilies are not toxic. They are even used as edibles on wedding cakes, and the tubes are considered a delicacy that tastes somewhat like a potato. But if you have a cat in your house, be extremely careful about where the tiger lilies are located, as they can be toxic to cats.

Are Tiger Lilies Wildflowers

No, they are not wild flowers per se, as they are cultivated via the bulbils and carefully grown in most parts of the country. But they do have some tendencies of wildflowers, and have been known to grow by themselves especially in the New England area.

What Do Tiger Lilies Symbolize

With its tall stalk and multiple flowers atop it, as well as the colorings of a tiger, tiger lilies are a symbol of the power, confidence, and ferocity of women. This flower is tied to wealth and success as well, so it would make a great choice for your garden!

How Do You Get Tiger Lilies to Bloom

Tiger lilies are fairly prolific, and really won’t need much coaxing in order to bloom. As you plant them, make sure to plant them deeply (about 8 inches) so they can develop strong roots. Additionally, ensure that the bulb is an adequate size. Tiger lilies will bloom best in well-drained soil with a moderate amount of water. They also bloom best in full sunlight.

What Month Do Tiger Lilies Bloom

Tiger lilies, for the most part, will bloom in late summer, and this happens 2-3 months after your plants sprout. Depending on the exact climate in which you live, this will happen in July or August each summer.

Where is the Best Place to Plant Tiger Lilies

Plant your tiger lilies in beds or borders, wherever you need an eye-catching pop of color. Be aware that tiger lilies can be aggressive in spreading, so take that into consideration as you plant them.

Why Won’t My Tiger Lilies Bloom

There are several reasons why your tiger lilies might not be blooming. If they are planted too shallow or the bulb is too small, they will have trouble blooming. Overfertilizing can also cause lack of blooming, as well as lack of sunlight or being planted in drought conditions. For the most part, tiger lilies are hardy, but can get picky especially based on the weather.

Tiger Lily Concluding Thoughts

With multiple orange-spotted flowers cascading from their strong stalks, tiger lilies are a striking addition to your garden beds and borders. As perennials, they make things easy for you by coming back every year, although you will want to thin them every 2-3 years.

By providing amended soil and plenty of sunshine, you will beautify your garden for years to come!