The Tiger Lily is botanically Lilium Lancifolium or Lilium Tigrinum. It is a very tall late summer blooming bulb with somewhat globe-shaped flowers that face downward. The stalks, sometimes getting up to 6 feet tall, have long, narrow, stiff, dark green leaves growing all up the stems very much like its cousins the Madonna, Asiatic, Oriental and Easter Lily. Tiny black dots start to grow where the leaves connect with the stalk soon after the flowers buds appear. Some call these seeds but they are truly tiny bulblets and when these drop they promptly root on the surrounding ground to extend the colony of Lilies. These can be collected, of course, and planted wherever you like but be certain to plant them immediately as they dry out quickly and then are no longer viable.
The Tiger Lily does best in humus rich, well draining soil and prefers to have their roots shaded and cool. A thick mulch will accomplish this nicely. The flowering tops like dappled shade but can tolerate full sun quite well when given plenty of water. Their roots must never dry out. The Tiger Lily is an extremely hardy plant growing in zones 3-8. The flowers are 4 inches wide with six long petals which curve completely back to touch the base and to reveal the spotting all along the petals. These beautiful flowers have 6-8 long, protruding stamens of the same color tipped with a bit of bright yellow. The only thing lacking is a fragrance.
The blossom’s traditional color is orange with dark brown, black or purplish spots, just like the colors of a tiger, although there have been cultivars recently developed in white, cream, yellow, pink and red all with the distinctive spots. The spots is where they get their funny name. Yes, I know exactly what you’re thinking. Leopards have spots and Tigers have stripes. Therefore the flowers should be called Leopard Lilies but neither one of us were there to name them back in the day so we are stuck with the ridiculous name of Tiger Lily.
Regardless of what they are called the Tiger Lily makes a wonderful addition to the back of a perennial border, in a cutting garden, a shrub border or to add height and interest to a butterfly or hummingbird garden. Yes, the Tiger Lily is a favorite of both the Butterfly and the Hummingbird. You will see them fluttering around them endlessly.
These plants are not to be confused with the common, orange Native Daylily or Hemerocallis Fulva which can be seen growing in huge clumps all along highways, country
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