Tiger Lillies - A Quick OverviewOld-fashioned tiger lilies are remarkable perennials revered for their exotic beauty, hardiness and long flowering periods. Their large, bell-shaped, recurved flowers have wide petals sprinkled with attractive black dots. These plants, which are native to the Far East, are summer-flowering bulbs that grow during spring and summer and are dormant in fall and winter. Be aware that tiger lilies are very toxic to cats, so keep this in mind when choosing where to grow them.
Tiger Lily Flower FAQ:
How tall are tiger lily flowers?Tiger lilies are shorter than Oriental lilies, and about the same height, or slightly shorter, than Asiatic lilies.
Keep in mind that different varieties of tiger lilies will grow to different heights. Our Pink Giant tiger lily grows to 40 inches, which Tiber lilies stand under three feet tall. Pure-bred lancifolium, or tiger lilies, grow to a height of two to five feet tall. Some tiger lilies are hybridized with asiatic lilies for additional height and unique shape.
Standing at an average of three to four feet tall, tiger lilies are at the tall end of the perennial garden. Tiger lilies don't require staking, and their thick stems and glossy, lance-shaped foliage stands out even when the plants aren't yet in bloom.
How should tiger lilies be planted?Tiger lilies should be planted in spring, about 8" apart from each other. After tilling the soil, dig 6" deep holes and place each bulb pointed upwards!
Pat down soil and water bulbs. Pat the soil down over the newly planted bulb. Water the bulbs thoroughly, then place a few inches of mulch on the area. By midsummer, when many other flowers have faded, you will be entranced by the large, colorful blooms as they soar atop strong stems and over attractive, fountain-like foliage.
Do tiger lilies spread?Absolutely. In fact, they are among the best-naturalizing flowers available to gardeners, because they multiply freely and require little care. They are a great choice for growing in sunny or partially shaded beds and borders, performing best in well-drained soil that receives sufficient moisture. Gardeners tend to divide and separate the bulbs while they are dormant, to prevent overcrowding.
What zone is best to plant tiger lilies?Tiger lilies are hardy in planting Zones 3 to 9, meaning that, as long as they're allowed to enter their dormant state naturally before the cold weather sets in, they won't be damaged by winters as cold as -30 degrees Fahrenheit. To keep your lilies healthy, allow their foliage to die back naturally, and cover your planting space with mulch if you live in a particularly cold area. Check your planting zone here.
Do tiger lilies return every year?Yes. Expect your tiger lilies to return year after year, and to naturalize and spread outward, as long as you are gardening in Zone 3 or above. In temperate and warm climates, tiger lilies will comes back year after year with little effort on your part!
Expect your tiger lilies to produce 6-10 blooms per stem in their first year and then a steadily increasing number of flowers, reaching 20 or even more, in subsequent years.
What flowers to plant with tiger lilies?Tiger lilies lend a wild, bohemian look to any space. While tiger lilies are typically an attention-commanding bright orange, with black or deep red spots, but some newer species bloom in shades of yellow, white, or pink. Their long, confetti-like stamens add even more depth to these attractive flowers. Tiger lily colours go beyond just orange to include pastels, brights, and even variegated hues!
Here are a few of our favorite ideas for pairing tiger lilies with other perennials.
- Choose dark-hued flowers to draw attention to the splashy spots on the tiger lily petals. Black iris and dark-hued Night Rider lily are excellent choices for this high-contrast look.
- Plant these bold flowers with flowers featuring bloom times just before or just after your lilies' bloom times, to keep the floral show going for several weeks. Early summer bloomers like gladiolus, dahlia, and canna lilies have similar sun requirements and pair nicely.
- Or, allow your tiger lilies to shine in a row of all lilies. Because these plants clump and naturalize, you'll have a thick spread of tiger lilies within a few years.
- Avoid aggressively-rooting companion plants, as powerful roots growing underground can pierce or damage the tender bulbs of your tiger lily.