How To Grow And Care For Tiger Lily Flower Bulbs

Are you ready to learn how to grow and care for tiger lily flower bulbs? It’s fun to grow lilies from bulbs. The flowers of tiger Lilies (Lilium lancifolium) from the genus Lilium (true lilies) are particularly striking and dramatic specimens.

tiger lily flowerPin
Blooms of Lilium lancifolium

Other tiger lily plant synonyms include:

  • Lilium tigrinum
  • Lilium catesbaei
  • Pine lily
  • Leopard lily
  • Kentan
  • Lilium columbianum
  • Oregon lily
  • Wester wood lily
  • Chalice-cup lily
  • Western red lily

… and more.

Tiger Lily Quick Care Tips

  • Botanical Name: Lilium lancifolium
  • Common Name(s): Tiger Lily
  • Synonyms: Lilium tigrinum
  • Family & Origin: Liliaceae family, native to Asia
  • Growability: Easy to grow
  • Grow Zone: 4-9
  • Size: Grows up to 3-4′ feet tall
  • Flowering: Blooms in mid to late summer with orange, spotted flowers
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Humidity: Moderate humidity
  • Temperature: Tolerates heat but prefers cooler temperatures
  • Soil: Well-draining soil
  • Water: Keep soil moist but not waterlogged
  • Fertilizer: Fertilize in the spring with a balanced fertilizer
  • Pests & Diseases: Susceptible to aphids, spider mites, and lily beetles. Can also be affected by fungal diseases such as botrytis and rust.
  • Propagation: Propagated by division in the fall or early spring
  • Plant Uses: Used as a cut flower, in borders, and in naturalized areas.

The Tiger Lily is very rewarding to grow because, with very little preparation and care, they yield vibrant and abundant results. Tiger Lillies are very hardy (USDA hardiness zones 3 to 9).

Tiger Lily Care: Success Starts With Good Soil Preparation

Growing Lilium tigrinum is easy as long as you give them well-drained soil and the appropriate moisture.



Begin with soil that has been thoroughly tilled and loosened to provide your lily bulbs with excellent drainage.

Vibrant orange tiger lily with distinctive spots.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @glenside.gardener

Establish beds of tiger lily bulbs in full sunlight, as these lilies are sun-loving flowers.

If you plant Lilium lancifolium in a shaded or partially shaded area, it will tend to lean in the direction of the sunlight.

In full sun, they will grow tall, straight, and strong.

What Does A Tiger Lily Look Like?

The tiger lily flower wears orange petals with black spots, which suit the summer bulb flowers vibe. The orange-black color makes it look like the tiger’s skin, a good reason for earning the name tiger lily.

There are orange and red tiger lilies and other colors. Tigers have been bred with Asiatic lilies, resulting in hybrid lilies of different tiger lily colors.

The black and orange combination gave birth to red, yellow, and white lilies. Each color holds a slightly different appearance compared to others.

Orange spotted lily with blurred greenery background.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @baseemahsmilingone

On the other hand, the double tiger lily bears a lot of tepals and no stamens. The stems of this type of lily shoot up to 30″ to 48″ inches tall and grow in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 9.

The bright orange flowers grow along roadsides and ditches, earning the name “ditch lily.”

This species of lily has different growth habits. It grows from tuberous roots and bears healthy grass-like foliage from the lily plant’s base.

So, when to plant tiger lily bulbs?

Plant Bulbs Of Tiger Lilies In Late Fall Or Very Early Spring

Once you’ve prepared the bed, dig individual holes and plant your bulbs. Dig the holes approximately 8″ inches apart and about 6″ inches deep.

Place bulbs carefully in the holes with the flat part on the bottom and the pointy part sticking up. Cover them completely with fresh soil and tap them down lightly.

Follow up with a thorough watering. Covering with a few inches of mulch will help protect the bulbs and hold moisture into the ground.

Here’s a quick planting roundup on the best place to plant tiger lilies and more shared by the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier:

Find a sunny, well-drained location in the garden, loosen the soil, and plant lily bulbs 6″ to 8″ inches deep, pointy end up. Handle with some care to avoid losing scales on the bulbs. How simple is that? After blooming, snip off the stems, leaving behind about 1/3 of the stem. Wait until the stems are completely dry before gently tugging them out.  Via wcfcourier.com

yellow tiger lily flowerPin
Yellow Tiger Bloom

Trim Spent Blossoms Diligently

Once your true lilies begin blooming, you’ll have an abundant supply of fresh large tiger lilies flowers for creating indoor floral arrangements for your home.

Even if you do not cut flowers for decoration, keep a close eye on your lilies and deadhead old flowers frequently to encourage more blooms.

Propagation, Divide & Feed In Autumn

In the autumn, your lilies will die back and begin to go dormant. Before winter sets in its propagation time. Dig the bulbs up, divide them (look for new bulbils at leaf axils) and replant them.

Keep the tiger lilies away from the Asiatic lily and oriental lily. Tiger lilies acquire the mosaic virus quickly. Although it won’t affect them, they can pass it to other lilies planted nearby.

Vibrant spotted orange tiger lily in full bloom.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @a_wildflower__

Hybrid lilies affected by the mosaic virus bear distorted and mottled blooms. You need to take away those infected by the disease to avoid further outbreaks.

If you don’t have enough space to plant more lilies, remember that lily bulbs make an excellent gift, and the holidays are right around the corner!

Autumn is also the perfect time to amend your soil by adding properly aged compost, sand, and/or peat moss.

All of these additions help nourish your Lily bulbs and provide better drainage for the soil. Remember, Leopard lilies do not like soggy conditions.

Mulch In Springtime

Remember to keep your lilies (tigers) well-mulched with organic mulch that will provide them with nutrients throughout the growing season and help hold water into the soil so that they can make the most of available water.

If you use finished garden compost as mulch, it will do double duty as a boost of essential nutrients at the start of the growing season.

Vibrant tiger lilies in bloom, spotted petals.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @hunnifordgardens

When and How To Plant Tiger Lily Seeds?

Tiger lily seeds are contained inside the bulbil, which is a small bulb-like growth that develops after the flower has faded.

If you want to collect these seeds, do not deadhead your Tiger lilies when they finish blooming at the end of the summer.

Instead, allow the bulbils to form completely. When they are ready to gather, they will be quite dark and will fall off the plant readily when bumped.

Planting Options:

  • Plant them directly into your garden soil as soon as you gather them.
  • Place them in the refrigerator to stratify them for a month or so before starting them indoors in a sterile potting medium.

This video demonstrates how to start Lily bulbils indoors.

Pests And Diseases On Tiger Lilies

In general, Lilium lancifolium encounters few growing issues, but several pests and diseases to be aware of.

Botrytis – a fungal disease caused by excessive moisture and warm temperature. It affects the lily leaves, with the first signs appearing as white spots on the leaves.

Control this disease by removing the spotted leaves. Spray the plant with a baking soda mixture. Ensure plants get plenty of air circulation to prevent an outbreak.

Basal Rot – a common fungal disease, the “root rot” attacks the bulb through the roots. Early disease symptoms include premature yellowing of foliage caused mostly by warm moist/wet soil.

To prevent its occurrence, provide good drainage and avoid over-watering plants during summer. Remove the infected scales and use a fungicide to treat bulbs.

Blue Mold – Due to high sugar content, mechanical injury or bruises on the bulb can create penicillin mold. A dusting of a fungicide powder will remove the harmless mold.

Virus Diseases – Spread mainly by aphids and red lily beetles. The main virus symptoms include flecking in the leaves or irregular mottling, distorted growth, and reduced plant size.

Control the spread of the virus to other lilies by discarding infected bulbs and scales, and removing affected plants.

Vibrant orange tiger lily in bloom.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @vivlas_pretty_little_things

First, try killing aphids with a homemade spray or control them using approved synthetic chemical insecticides.

Why Choose Tiger Leopard Lilies?

The Tiger Lilly bulbs are an old-fashioned, traditional addition to your garden that puts on a grand show and can actually provide you with a bit of privacy since well-cared-for specimens can grow to be several feet tall.

Surprisingly, these lilies are also fairly drought tolerant. Although you need to water deeply and regularly (about once a week) during the first growing season. Once established tiger lilies do very well on only existing rainfall.

Orange spotted tiger lily in bloom.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @lotus.seed

Naturally, you will want to keep a close eye on them and if they begin to show signs of suffering from heat and dryness, give them a deep, slow watering that will last them a week or more.

There are many different types of lilies, and they all grow wonderfully. But Tiger Lilies are the hardiest. They also produce vast numbers of tiger lilies flower (as many as 12 per stem) in a wide range of vibrant shades of yellow, gold, orange, and red.

Where Does The Tiger Lily Grow Wild?

Tiger lilies originated in the Far East. Although they are Asian natives, they have adapted very well to life in the United States and naturalize easily in USDA zones 3-9.

They can be grown in any well-draining soil in partial shade to full sun. Their water needs are low to moderate.

Because these plants are so tough and adaptable, many people describe them as “wild tiger lilies.”

They naturalize in woodlands, open spaces, along railroad tracks, and in vacant lots in many and varied locations across the US and into Canada.

Vibrant orange spotted lilies in bloom.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @cosmicfaeriewitch

It is important to understand that there is no American “wild tiger lily.”

There are actually two types of lily called “Tiger Lily.” One is the Day Lily (Hemerocallis fulva), which is not listed as invasive and can be planted in gardens in controlled numbers.

The second is the true Tiger Lily (Lilium lancifolium/Lilium tigrinum). If you are wondering – Do tiger lilies spread? Yes, these plants are invasive, so if you plan to plant them, be sure to keep them contained and under control.

More On Growing Lilies 

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