How to Grow and Care Tiger Lily

Lilies in general, are versatile, classic plants that come in a variety of vibrant colors. These stunning flowers are the perfect option to, not only pamper a loved one for an anniversary or birthday but also to be given as a sign of sympathy or remorse and can even be used as flower arrangements and displays on various occasions. Check here how to grow and care tiger lily.

Lilies are the perfect gift to celebrate a milestone such as a promotion at work, a child’s graduation, or even a new home.

Fun fact – The amazing lily flower was first discovered more than 2,400 years ago!

Historically speaking, the lily flower holds a great reputation in Ancient Greek Mythology, where it’s believed that Hera, Zeus’s wife, is the creator of this majestic plant.

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In fact, the story goes that after she refused to feed her son Hercules, droplets of milk from her breasts fell onto the ground, and magically transformed into the seeds of the same Lily plant, that we grow and love today!

Amazingly, the various colors of the Lily flowers hold different meanings, significant to its color, which can help one express a range of emotions without having to say a word. From the numerous varieties that exist today, my favorite is the radiant and timeless Tiger Lily.

The Significance of the Tiger Lily

The Tiger Lily is a symbol of Wealth, Positivity, and Pride.

The spots on the flowers are associated with wealth and pride whereas its vibrant colors, symbolize positivity, and confidence. These lilies bloom in variations of orange hues which contribute towards making the plant highly vivacious!

Many plant lovers, like me, live in apartment buildings with limited open space. Our balconies are our nurseries, where we grow and nurture our plant babies.

With limited resources, it is only natural to wonder, “Can I grow this exotic flower at home?”; “Can the Tiger Lily be grown in a household flowering pot?” Well, the answer to both these questions is a big yes!

As long as there is enough space in one’s porch, patio, or balcony for a medium to large-sized flowering pot, one can most definitely grow the Tiger Lily plant.

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Origin of the Tiger Lily

The Tiger Lily is an Asian species of plant which has originated from China, Japan, Korea, and the Russian Far East. Its distribution spans to Tibet and the Northern and Eastern parts of the United States of America. Due to their toughness, they have become naturalized plants in the US and other parts of the world.

Botanists call this plant the Lilium Lancifolium or Lilium Tigrinum and its plant type is Herbaceous Perennial. The sword-like shape of the leaves gives the plants their species name Lancifolium. (meaning “lance-leafed” in Latin).

Appearance of the Tiger Lilly

The Tiger Lily plant has large, fiery orange flowers covered by dark spots. This is where the plant gets its glorious name, from its resemblance to the regal tiger.

It has a mix of sweet and strong odour, which is distinctively like the smell of a lily, and besides exhibiting a stunning spectacle; most parts of this plant are also edible!

The Lilium Lancifolium produces bulblets that suspend in the air, known as ‘bulbils’. These bulbils are very uncommon in the Lilium (Lily) species as they produce new plants that are clones of the original plant.

Botanically speaking, these are herbaceous perennial plants, whose growth dies down annually but their roots continue to survive.

The Tiger Lily is a summer-flowering bulb plant unlike tulips for example, which are spring-flowering bulb plants. A display of 10 or more flowers per unbranched flower stalk is quite typical.

As spectacular as the flowers are, the bulbils are perhaps even more distinctive with black, berry-like structures housed in the leaf axils.

Lilium bulbiferum croceum | Orange Fire Tiger Lily | 5_Seeds

The flower petals curve backward and are speckled with black spots.

The leaves of the Tiger Lily are known as lanceolate leaves due to its shape and are 6–10 centimeters long and 1–2 centimeters broad and the flowers are borne on upright stems that are 80–200 centimeters tall.

Each flower’s life span expands to a mere couple of days and if pollinated correctly, it can produce capsules with many thin seeds.

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Uses of the Tiger Lily

Before checking how to grow and care tiger lily, let us check the uses of a tiger lily.

The Tiger Lily has multifarious uses. While using them for the preparation of food, the 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 as well as salads.

The Tiger Lily has edible flower buds apart from edible roots and shoots. These can often have a bitter flavor. When baked, the lily bulbs taste a lot like potatoes.

The Tiger Lily has significant medicinal use. An extract is made from a fresh plant and has proved of great value in uterine-neuralgia, irritation, and congestion. The Tiger Lily is also useful in giving relief from nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.

The essence of the Tiger Lily flower helps in suppressing aggressive tendencies in individuals and helps in holistic healing.

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How to grow and care Tiger Lily correctly

Learning how to grow Tiger Lilies requires a lot of patience. Planting the bulbils and waiting for them to grow is part of the deal, because it may take up to five years before they start to produce tiger lily flowers.

Tiger Lily-Autumn and Winter Planting Winter Popular Decoration for Planting Rare


The Tiger Lily does not require any special care. Fertilizers are needed only in the poorest of soils. To plant the lily bulbs, fill the container with a free-draining, commercially available potting mix.

You can also make one on your own by adding 50% mulch, 25% fine coconut fibre, 10% coarse sand, 20% peat moss, 5% perlite, and a good amount of slow-release fertilizer granules like Osmocote to keep them well-fed for at least eight to nine months.

However, one must be cautious to not use beach sand because of the salt content. These Lilies are heavy feeders. The Tiger Lily plant will also benefit from a monthly dose of potassium-rich tomato fertilizer during its growing season.


As bulbed plants, they require well-drained soil. If the soil is too moist, the bulb tends to rot. To ensure proper drainage, the soil might need to be amended; this means that compost or humus needs to be added to the soil.

Straw, sand, or peat mosses mixed into the soil are other ways to improve drainage and retain appropriate moisture.


Tiger lilies have average water needs. After the plants have been established, they tend to become somewhat drought tolerant and often learn to thrive with existing rainfall.


The Tiger lily flourishes through spring and summer and is dormant in the fall and winter seasons. It can tolerate humidity but does not require it.

Like many other flowers, they prefer to be grown in a sunny location. However, these tough specimens are not nearly as fussy about their growing conditions as are many other plant species.

Now, we know how to grow and care tiger lily, let us see how to plant tiger lily in a pot.

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The Best way to plant Tiger Lily in a container/pot

It is not very difficult to grow and care tiger lily in a pot or a container.

To grow potted lily plants on your balcony, you will need the following things –

Healthy lily bulbs – You can purchase lily bulbs from a variety of places. Be it online retailers, gardening stores, or even local nurseries.

Before potting, it is important to sort through the bulbs. One must throw away those that are mushy or moldy and plant only the bulbs that look healthy.

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A medium to large, well-draining pot – Proper drainage is very important for lilies. While they like moist soil, sopping wet soil will damage the bulbs. Make sure you select a container with drainage holes on the bottom. For extra drainage, add a layer of rocks at the bottom of the pot.

This layer of rocks will help stabilize the pot as Tiger lilies tend to gain height and become vulnerable to strong winds.

One must select an appropriate-sized pot for the number of lilies that one is planting. Using garden soil is a big no-no as it will compact quickly resulting in poor drainage and consequently, the roots of the lilies will not get sufficient moisture or air. It is noted that the deeper pots are better for taller lilies.

Sandy potting mix Lilies do best in partially sandy soils. Potting mixes that are mostly peat will stay too wet and cause rotting. One can buy any potting mix and just add sand to it. Mix about 2 parts potting mix with 1 part sand.

Using a small garden spade or a hand trowel, dig a hole no more than 3 inches deep or fill the pot with sandy potting mix one-third of the way and pat it down. Don’t press it down too hard as that would compact the soil.

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Arrange the lilies how one wants them on this layer of potting mix, with the root side down and bulb tip-up.

If potting multiple bulbs together, always remember to plant them about 5 centimeters apart as you will want to give them plenty of room for expansion and growth over an extended period of two years or more.

After arranging the bulbs as per your liking, cover them with enough potting mix and at the same time ensure that the bulbs’ tips are sticking out slightly.

Add slow-release fertilizer and water well. It is best to pot them in early spring and place your potted lily plants outside in a partially sunny location.

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Post-potting care Tiger Lily

It is not always about how to grow and care tiger lily, you also know about post-potting care of tiger lily.

Once the potted lilies begin to grow from the bulb tips, add more potting mix to the container. Keep the soil line about 2.5 centimeters below the brim of the pot for sufficient watering space. You should water only when the top layer of soil begins to look dry.

25~Tiger Lilies~ DayLillies - Orange Plant Bare Roots with bulbs!!!

The best way of ensuring your plant needs watering is to stick the tip of your finger well into the soil to determine whether it is moist or dry. If dry, water thoroughly. If moist, check again after a couple of days.


If the color of the Tiger-lily plant’s leaf is rich and green then the root system is working effectively at bringing sufficient nutrients to the entire plant.

When it seems like the foliage is losing color, it can mean that the plant is probably running out of food. This could happen when large bulbs are growing in small containers.

Ideally, this is the perfect time to replant. Repotting is usually done when the pot is too small for the bulb and the plant is outgrowing the pot. Another indication is that the height is too tall for the pot or the plant keeps falling over.

If the plant stops producing flowers or seems to be dying out it definitely needs your attention. In all or any of these situations, one should consider repotting the plant into a larger container.

Repotting can be a very crucial procedure. One must be very careful when switching the lily into its new pot. Without damaging the stem, one must gently squeeze the outside of the pot, just enough to loosen the roots on the inside.

This will help release the root’s grasp on the pot resulting in the plant, all of the roots, and the potting mix will come out as one.

Once the plant has been loosened from the old pot, place one hand flat against the top of the pots and use one’s fingers to protect and hold the stem upright.

Then, with the other hand flat against the bottom of the pot, tip the pot upside down and the lily plant will come out with the roots and the potting mix together as one.


Place the plant with its bulb, roots, and the potting mix attached, into the new pot with ease. If for some reason the plant, roots, and the potting mix come apart, immediately place the lily plant in the new pot and cover only the roots with the potting mix.

Remember to give it a day or two to settle down into its new home before you water it.

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Foliage on the lower part of the stalks of the Tiger Lilies tends to die first. These yellow leaves will not be as noticeable at first but once all of the leaves have yellowed, cut the stalks down to ground level.

These then need to be disposed to minimize the spread of diseases to the surrounding plants.


Tiger Lily is one of the most dangerous and potentially life-threatening plants for pets, especially cats. If ingested, it can produce vomiting, in-appetence, lethargy, kidney failure, and in some cases, even death.

Even small ingestion such as less than one to two petals or leaves, the pollen, or even water from the vase may result in severe, acute kidney failure.

Pests and Diseases

Tiger lilies are resilient species that are not susceptible to diseases. The plant however is known to harbour the mosaic virus, and although this does not directly harm them, the virus can be transmitted or spread to other lilies that are nearby so it is always better to plant the

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Tiger lilies in an area of the garden or balcony that is away from the other varieties of lilies.

Tiger lilies can be sometimes attacked by slugs or lily beetles. One must immediately capture and kill any red lily beetles (Lilioceris lilii) that are seen eating the leaves of the plant. If neglected, this pest problem can only become greater over time.

Beware of an Aphid attack as Aphids (known as greenfly or blackfly) carry a variety of diseases that can affect the lily plant or the other plants in one’s balcony.

As a rule, Tiger lilies are an aggressively invasive species and will take over one’s garden if one allows them to. Tiger Lilies have a royal appearance and a distinctive feel about them.

Whether in pots or in the garden, they add instant beauty and grace to the surrounding areas.

Once they have finished flowering, they disappear from sight into what seems to be obscurity. However do not be fooled, as they are only rejuvenating and building themselves up from their roots for next year’s show, and rest assured what a show it will be! This is how to grow and care tiger lily.

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