For a number of years I have had tiger lilies growing scattered through my Missouri hillside garden. Some I planted; others birds did the honors. I used to have a piece of cotton fabric where tiger lilies turned into small charming tigers, an image that I still recall when I see these perennial flowers, not to mention Winnie the Pooh’s buddy Tigger, who makes an appearance on Hunny Buzz Crib Quilt Gift Set.
To give them more of a place of honor in my garden, earlier this year I decided to move them all together. I carefully dug up the bulbs with soil around them so I was sure I had the whole plants.
Plants classified as Lilium lancifolium (alternate botanical name, Lilium tigrinum) is a true lily and not a daylily such as Stella D-Oro. The sword shape of the leaves gives the plants their species name (lancifolium means "lance-leafed" in Latin).
Tiger lilies remind me of Asiatic lilies and Stargazer lilies gone wild. Between their black spots, dramatic orange color and flaring stamens with pollen, Tiger Lilies make a dramatic garden focal point.
Tiger lilies can be invasive but not on a limestone hillside. It’s not easy for plants to establish themselves let alone take off without first hitting a rock.
Although I love tiger lilies, I don’t bring them inside. Tiger lilies are poisonous to cats. Even small ingestion such as less than one to two petals or leaves, pollen, or water from the vase may result in severe, acute kidney failure. If you suspect your cat has ingested any part of one of these lilies, bring your cat (and the plant) immediately to a veterinarian for medical care. Generally, the sooner treatment is started, the better the prognosis.
Seeds of tiger lilies are called bulbils. Propagate this plant by bulbil or by bulb division. Ideally, this should be done during the spring before it starts to grow anew, but you can divide them in the fall in warmer climates.
Bulb division requires digging up the entire plant carefully when it is dormant and gently separating the individual bulbs. Replant your bulbs as separate plants with the pointed side aimed upward.
Bulbils will form along the stem of the plant at leaf axils. If you wish to minimize spreading, remove the bulbils and dispose of them. Or, if you wish to propagate more, you can carefully remove the bulbils and pot them as if they were bulbs to grow a new plant. These will take an extra year of time before they begin to bloom, so it is a slower growth process.
I happen to think these are interesting plants to have in a garden corner so if someone gives you a start, give them a try.