Growing tiger lilies from seed

Orange Tiger Lily Bulbs

Like most Asian species lilies, this old reliable was a staple in the Oriental diet for centuries. The bulbs were, and still are, cooked for foods and soups. Yet it’s not the taste that made this lily bulb world famous, it’s the beautiful flowers and the ease of growing them.

The true Tiger Lily is native to Korea, but today gardeners throughout the world enjoy the beautiful, big flowers that return year after year. In fact, Tiger lilies are now so common in the US, many people think they’re native.

Orange Tiger Lilies are extremely easy to grow and will come back year after year even in some of America’s coldest climates, as long as you have well draining soil.

This lily has little black ‘bulbils’ (baby bulbs) that form up and down the stem in the leaf axils. These little bulbs drop to the ground naturally, and spring up the next year as baby tiger lily plants. Over the years, you’ll have an expanding clump.

This is the perfect no-maintenance lily to add to your flower border or wildflower meadow. A few towering lilies over a wild meadow in full bloom is a spectacular mid-summer sight.

Spectacular lilies for your garden; it’s easy. Everybody loves lilies, and today’s hybrids are a snap to grow, unlike some of the more difficult ones of the past. Today’s favorites are no more work than growing a tulip or daffodil.

Tiger Lilies. This group is led by the famous old orange wild lily, which used to be called Lilium tigrinum. Botanists have changed that to Lilum lancifolium, but that doesn’t stop most people (including us) from using the old name ‘tigrinum.’ From the original orange, the hybridizers have created new colors from white to pink. All have the large flowers, black spots, and tough perennial qualities of the original. (By the way, don’t call any old spotted orange lily ‘tiger lily’. This one is the real thing, and no lily common name is more mis-used.)

Trumpet Lilies Sometimes called ‘Aurelian Hybrids’ or other names, the large, tall trumpet lilies are all descended from The Regal Lily, a white wild species lily from China. All are incredibly fragrant, and wonderful for cutting. They grow tall, and often need staking, since a well-grown stalk can have over 15 huge flowers.

More Information



Common Name

Orange Tiger Lily

Botanical Name

Lilium lancifolium Orange

Item Package Size

Bag of 3

Flower Color


Flower Size

4″ flowers


Narrow, lanceolate, dark green leaves.

Light Requirements

Full Sun, Half Sun / Half Shade

Bloom Time

Early to late summer

Mature Height

36-40″ tall

Bulb Spacing

3 bulbs per sq. ft. 8-12″ apart

Bulb Size

14-16 cm

Planting Depth

Plant 6″ deep.

Soil Type

Loamy Soil

Soil Moisture

Average, Well Draining

Ideal Region

Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, West, Southwest, Pacific Northwest


Easy To Grow, Attract Butterflies, Attract Hummingbirds, Good For Cut Flowers, Plants For Small Spaces

Additional Information

Lilies like their feet in the shade and faces in the sun so keep them happy by planting behind or amongst other perennials for a dramatic effect.


3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Ships As

Bulb, Rhizome, Tuber

Poisonous or Toxic to Animals

Toxic to cats.

Neonicotinoid Free

Yes – Learn More

Planting Time

Spring / Summer

Ships to Hawaii, Alaska & Canada


Transplanting Tiger Lilies: How To Transplant Tiger Lily Plants

Like most bulbs, tiger lilies will naturalize over time, creating even more bulbs and plants. Dividing the cluster of bulbs and transplanting tiger lilies will enhance growth and blooming, and further increase your stock of these charming lilies. For best success, you should know when to divide and how to transplant tiger lily plants. The process is easy and you can even give a few of these stunning flowering bulbs away every few years.

When Should I Transplant Tiger Lilies?

Tiger lilies are vigorous perennial bulbs that bloom in summer. They may be white, yellow or red, but are usually deeply orange with speckled petals. Plants may grow up to 4 feet tall and over time the number of blooms will increase. Tiger lilies can be propagated through bulbs, scales, bulbils or seed, but the quickest and easiest method is through division of established bulbs. Transplanting tiger lilies will result in a crop the next year if you time it just right.

Transplanting summer-blooming bulbs like tiger lilies can be done at any time of the year, but you might sacrifice flowers if you

don’t get the timing right. The best time for transplanting tiger lily bulbs is when the foliage has died back. Just remember to mark the area before all the greenery disappears or you may miss the bulbs.

The bulbs are quite hardy even in areas with sustained freezes and don’t usually need to overwinter indoors. Autumn is generally the time the greenery is dying back and the best time to transplant the bulbs. If you are transplanting live plants, make sure to plant them at the same depth in which they were growing and provide them with adequate water to reestablish.

How to Transplant Tiger Lily Plants

It’s not actually the plants you will transplant unless you opt to lose some flowers and move them during the growing season. If you wait until fall, all that is left to move are the bulbs. To remove the bulbs, use a shovel and cut straight down several inches away from where the plants were.

Dig as far out from the main clump of the plant, or plants, as needed to avoid cutting the bulbs. Then, carefully excavate inward until you find the bulbs. Lift the bulbs gently and brush off the soil. If the bulbs are in a big clump, delicately separate them. If any plant material remains on the bulbs, clip it off.

After you have lifted and separated the bulbs, check for rotten spots and discoloration. Discard any bulbs which aren’t healthy. Prepare the bed by loosening the soil to a depth of 8 inches and adding in organic matter and bone meal.

Plant the bulbs 6 to 10 inches apart at a depth of 6 inches. Bulbs need to be situated with the pointed side up and the roots downward. Press soil around the bulbs and water to settle the soil. If you have snoopy squirrels or other digging animals, place a section of chicken wire over the area until plant sprout in spring.

Transplanting tiger lily bulbs is easy and the results will be bigger flowers and more than ever before.

Advances in over-winter storage of commercial lily bulbs have allowed gardeners to buy and plant lilies in the spring. But autumn is still the best time to get them in the ground.

Deeply planted and well-mulched, lily bulbs planted in fall will take all but the coldest days of the season to establish themselves before taking off in the spring. Fall planting assures bulb preservation and a good, strong start.

Lilies are unique perennials that give us tall, spectacular spring and summer flowers. The remarkable plants hoist striking, sweet-smelling blossoms above the other flowers, annual and otherwise, in our gardens. Careful planting helps guarantee you’ll have colorful, graceful blossoms come next growing season and many seasons thereafter.


Fox Farm® Happy Frog Bulb Food contains extra phosphorus for sustained flowering and potassium to help plants become more disease resistant. Works great on all flowering plants, shrubs and trees. Includes mycorrhizae and humic acid too!

You’ll want to place your lilies where they will receive adequate sunshine. Full sunlight to partial shade is best. But the most important consideration in planting lilies is drainage. Sticking the bulbs in heavy clay soils can make for a lily disaster. Without proper drainage, lilies will be stunted and have less chance of surviving year to year.

Avoid places in your garden where water may collect. Lilies don’t like wet feet. Not only does saturated soil impair their growth, it allows fungus and and the few other diseases that attack them to gain a foothold. Yet lilies need a constant supply of water. Adding plenty of organic material that holds the moisture that roots can draw from is as important as maintaining good drainage.

To improve soil drainage, dig up the patch where lilies will go — they’ll be spaced 8 to 10 inches apart, 15 inches for larger types — and add sphagnum peat moss or coconut coir in an amount equal to 1/3rd the volume of soil dug. Turn up an area large enough to hold as many bulbs as you plan to plant and to accommodate the their multiplication from year-to-year. But make the space no larger than the space you want them to occupy. Planting lilies in raised beds or along walkways and borders helps confine them.

Turning the soil deeply — double digging — will help facilitate good drainage.

Adding perlite or vermiculite to your soil will improve both drainage and aeration, things that help keep bulbs from rot and disease. Mixes of peat, perlite and limestone with other minerals that help lighten heavy soils are a good choice as long as they don’t make existing soils alkaline. Lilies tolerate a range of pH readings depending on their type. Asian lilies do best in slightly acidic soils, 7.0 (neutral) down to 6.0. Oriental lilies are alkaline averse, preferring soils with a pH from 5.5 to 6.5.

Pine needles and certain leaf mulches can help keep soils on the acidic side. All soils should be amended with plenty of compost and organic matter to help keep them from drying out completely. This is especially important with sandy soils.

You can aid moisture drainage by planting you lilies on a slope where gravity helps carry away the excess. In addition to containing their spread, raised beds allow for heaping soil, something that also uses gravity to prevent soggy conditions.

There are a number of methods to determine how deep to plant your lilies. Some sources recommend three times the length of the bulb, other say anywhere from four to nine inches beneath the soil. Check growing instructions for the particular type of lily you plant. Some — namely the Madonna lily — need no more than one inch of soil to cover. We’ve found that five inches deep work for most regular sized bulbs. Smaller bulbs can be planted less deeply.

Spread the roots at the bottom of the bulb and stand bulbs upright on their bed. If you’re planting in groups, say in a side circle, plant no more than five or six in a cluster. Cover with soil then water thoroughly so that the dirt will settle around the plants roots. Label each plant in the group with a garden marker if you like, or just wait to be surprised in the spring.

Mulching over winter helps protect both your soil and bulbs. Regions where winters are continuously wet need less mulch, those with long cold winters — we’ve known folks who keep lilies year after year in cold zone three — need more. Don’t be in a hurry to remove mulch in the spring. Lily shoots are extremely delicate. Give them a chance to extend out of the mulch.

Once started, lily growing is particularly easy. Need a primer? Here you go.


Tiger Lily

The bulbs of its plants are boiled and eaten in some countries, especially China. They taste like potatoes.

The Tiger Lily, bears large, fiery orange flowers covered by spots. The name tiger probably refers to the spots on the petals.

The flowers of this perennial can grow up to three inches in width. The Tiger Lily is also known as the Ditch Lily as it is found in and around ditches in large parts of America.

Kingdom Plantae Division Magnoliophyta Class Liliopsida Subclass Liliidae Order Liliales Family Liliaceae Genus Lilium

The Tiger Lily has a strong, sweet and distinctively lily smell. Besides producing a stunning spectacle, most parts of this plant are edible. There are two varieties of the Tiger Lily:

  • The Oriental Variety: Propagates through bulbs that form at leaf axils.
  • The Common Wildflower Variety: Propagates by tuberous roots.

The Tiger Lily is known by a host of different names in different parts of the world. Some of the synonyms are: Lilium tigrinum, Devil Lily, Kentan, Lilium lancifolium, Leopard Lily, Pine Lily, Lilium catesbaei, Columbia lily, Oregon Lily, Western Wood Lily, Chalice-Cup Lily, Western Red Lily, etc.

Facts About The Tiger Lily

  • The Tiger Lily was first described by the famous Swedish botanist Carl von Linne (Linnaeus) in 1753.
  • The Tiger Lily has significant medicinal use. A tincture is made from the fresh plant and has proved of great value in uterine-neuralgia, congestion and irritation, also in the nausea and vomiting of pregnancy.
  • Tiger Lily flower essence helps in suppressing aggressive tendencies in individuals and helps in holistic healing.
  • Tiger Lily can often act as a carrier of viral diseases and so becomes a vector infecting other species. It is therefore better to grow this species well away from your other lilies
  • Tiger Lily has some toxic effects on cats. It can produce vomiting, in appetence, lethargy, kidney failure, and even death.
  • Tiger Lily has edible flower buds apart from edible roots and shoots. These can often have a bitter flavor. When baked, lily bulbs taste rather like potatoes.
  • The best place to find dried Tiger Lily buds is in an Asian market. Look for soft buds and store well in a cool, dry place. Tiger Lily buds must be soaked in warm water for about 30 minutes to soften them before adding them to the dishes. The tough stem attached to them should be removed. Besides adding to Chinese dishes, they can enhance the flavor of egg dishes and salads.
  • There is an old legend from Asia about the Tiger Lily. A Korean hermit helped a wounded tiger by removing an arrow from its body. The tiger asked the hermit to use his powers to perpetuate their friendship after his death. The hermit agreed and when the tiger died, his body became a tiger lily. Eventually the hermit drowned and his body was washed away. The Tiger Lily spread everywhere searching for its friend.
  • There is a superstition that smelling a Tiger Lily will give you freckles.
  • The Tiger Lily stands for wealth and prosperity.
  • The Tiger Lily, has six stamens (composed of anthers and filaments), one pistil (composed of the stigma, style and ovary), a long style, and a three-lobed stigma.

Growing Tiger Lily

Due to its wild growing nature, the Tiger Lily is incredibly easy to grow. Tiger lilies thrive well in moist to wet soils and hence grow well near the ditches. Early to mid-autumn is the best time to plant out the bulbs in cool temperate areas, in warmer areas they can be planted out as late as late autumn. The Tiger Lily is sterile and does not produce seeds. They can, however, be propagated through the bulbils (small bulbs) that grow in the axils of the leaves. Bulb scales can be removed from the bulbils and grown in moist peat in a cool dark place until they produce bulbets. They can be then grown in a nursery and later planted outside.

Taking care of Tiger Lily

The Tiger Lily does not require any special care. Fertilizers are needed only in the poorest of soils. Tiger lilies can be sometimes attacked by slugs or lily beetles. You can grow the tiger lily in raised pots or use biological controls to keep the slugs at bay. The beetles can be removed by hand.

How to Plant Tiger Lily Seeds

Tiger Lily image by Jim Mills from

Tiger lilies are well-known as the orange-spotted lily that grows in ditches across North America. The roots of the lilies were eaten by Native Americans. The lilies are also popular in Asian dishes, with the flower being also edible. Medicinally, tiger lilies are believed to relieve congestion and nausea. Most lilies, including the tiger lily, are grown from bulbs. However, the tiger lily can also be grown from seeds harvested from the plants.

Put two tiger lily seeds into each of your plastic sandwich bags about three weeks before the last frost. Add about 2 inches of vermiculite to each bag. Shake them gently to mix the seeds into the vermiculite.

Add just enough water to the soil in each plastic bag to dampen it. Seal each bag and place it in an area where it will receive indirect sunlight. The seed will begin to germinate within two weeks.

Begin to carefully remove the seedlings from the plastic bags when they have 4-inch leaves on them. Fill your starter flats with potting soil, and sow each seedling about 1/2 inch deep in the flat. Place the flat under a grow light or in a sunny window where it will receive eight to 12 hours of sunlight a day.

Prepare an outdoor bed for your tiger lily seedlings after the last frost. Choose an area that gets full sun or partial shade. Use your shovel to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 inches, and add compost to the soil so that it drains well.

Lift each seedling with the dirt around its roots from the bed. Dig a hole that is large enough to bury the roots and soil around the root. Press the soil firmly around the base of the plant. Plant each seedling at least 6 inches apart.

Add about an inch of wood chips around your plants as mulch to protect the roots from colder temperatures. Water your plants immediately so that the soil is moist. Continue to water your plants every other day for two weeks. Make sure to water the soil, and to avoid the leaves during watering.

Add 1 tbsp. of 5-10-10 fertilizer around each plant once a month. Keep the fertilizer about 3 inches from the base of each plant during application.

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