Ixiolirion [ik-see-oh-LEER-ee-on], commonly known as lavender mountain lily, a genus of perennial cormous herbs belonging to the Ixioliriceae family and native to southwest Asia.
Three species of the striking lily of the Altai genus are spread across central and southwest Asia, extending into the Xinjiang Province in China.
As per the Flora of China, the Ixiolirion genus is not limited to this area.
According to their resources, the Ixiolirion genus also exists in Egypt.
Characterized by their striking bluish lavender blooms, the Ixiolirion is commonly used to beautify flower beds.
Out of the various species, Ixiolirion tataricum produces some of the most aesthetically pleasing flowers, making excellent cut flowers, and flowering quite profusely when planted outdoors.
This genus gets its name from the Greek composition of Ixio-and lirion (lily).
The combination of the two words translates to mean Ixia-like lily.
The four species in this genus include:
- Ixiolirion ferganicum
- Ixiolirion karateginum
- Ixiolirion songaricum
- Ixiolirion tataricum
Other common names you may hear include:
- Siberian lily
- Mountain lily
- Tartar lily
- Lily of the Altai
Ixiolirion Lavender Mountain Lily Care
Size & Growth
Ixiolirion has green grass-like foliage decorated with bright blooms.
Approximately 12” – 16” inch stems grow from a clump of narrow leaves.
These stems grow loose clusters of flowers.
Most Ixiolirion plants grow up to 16” inches while spreading 12” inches across in width.
They’re moderately easy to grow and don’t need extensive tending to produce flowers.
Flowering Lavender Mountain Lilies
At bloom time the stems of Ixiolirion sprout into clusters of bright violet flowers in late spring and early summer.
Each blossom on the Ixiolirion plant is 6-petaled and 1” inch in diameter.
The color of the petals range from bright violet to lavender.
Each petal has a dark central line running through the middle, giving it a distinct appearance.
These flowers are excellent for cutting.
Add them to a bouquet for a loved one or create a flower piece to brighten up your home.
Light & Temperature
Different varieties of Ixiolirion plants love plenty of sunlight.
Plant them in an area getting full sunlight throughout the day.
They do well in USDA hardiness zones 5a to 9b.
The temperature varies based on the hardiness zones you’re growing the Ixiolirion in.
The plant does well around 50° degrees Fahrenheit (10° C).
However, bring the plant inside when the temperature reaches 23° degrees Fahrenheit (-5° C).
This is critical to do as Ixiolirion plants cannot survive below 23° degrees Fahrenheit (-5° C).
Watering and Feeding
These plants need occasional watering but are drought resistant to a certain extent.
Do not overwater and drown the roots. This will lead to root rot, and you will lose the plant.
Also, avoid watering the plant on afternoons when the sun’s blazing.
It minimizes moisture loss due to evaporation.
During spring, water and feed it regularly.
The foliage dies down in summer and reappears the following spring.
Cut back watering when temperatures rise, allowing a dry, dormant period for the Ixiolirion bulbs.
In colder months, bring the Ixiolirion plants inside and keep them in a dry place.
For bulbs placed in the ground, protect them from the wet weather with bark chips or leaf mold.
Soil & Transplanting
Ixiolirion plants prefer a dry, well-drained, and sandy or gravelly soil.
When repotting an Ixiolirion plant, do it very gently.
Remove the root ball gently and choose a pot that corresponds to the volume of the foliage.
Use gravel and stones for drainage and use a mixture of soil and compost.
Place the roots a few inches deep, allowing the leaf to be flush.
Then pack the soil well as to not leave an air pocket.
Grooming and Maintenance
Ensure the bulbs have good drainage throughout the year to prevent root rot from damaging the plant.
If the foliage becomes too crowded, dig and divide the plants further apart.
If you’re growing Ixiolirion from seeds, sow them on the surface and cover them lightly before the frost.
How to Propagate Ixiolirion
Ixiolirion plants will propagate through plant offsets and with seeds.
Plant offsets as you would any other annual/perennial and let the roots develop in a pot before transplanting it.
- Plant the offsets in fall, 3-4” inches deep and 3” inches apart.
- If you’re using seeds, plant them in fertile grainy soil in October.
- Provide some shelter to prevent the ground from drying out entirely in peak temperatures.
- Sow the seeds 3” inches deep and keep the soil moist and fertile.
Germination time can vary from 2 to 3 months.
Keep in mind it can take up to 4 years for seed-grown Ixiolirion to sprout flowers. So patience is key.
Either way, if you’re propagating Ixiolirion indoors, do so 2-3 months before putting them outdoors.
Mountain Lily Pest and Diseases
Like other plants, Ixiolirion is susceptible to root rot if overwatered.
For common pests and diseases that may impact other grassy annuals or perennials, consult your local garden center or nursery for more guidance.
Besides that, the plant is critter and deer resistant.
Uses for Siberian Lily
Ixiolirion plants are best used for aesthetic purposes.
In zones 3-6, grow Ixiolirion bulbs as annuals in flower beds and pots.
In zones 7 to 10, Ixiolirion plants make excellent perennials. Either way, they make great cut flowers.