Tiger Lilies are among the most durable and adaptable bulb flowers in the garden. It is worth waiting for the last lily bloom of the year, because it is not uncommon for 20 downward-sloping flowers with mottled, strongly recurved petals and dark stamens to sit on the long stalks. In addition to a whole range of pure species, there are also bizarre varieties such as Lilium lancifolium var. floreplenum, which has double flowers. Tiger lily heritage is also present in the numerous Tigrinum hybrids, covering the full range of pastel flower colours.


  • botanischer Name: Lilium lancifolium (Syn. Lilium tigrinum)
  • belongs to the lily family (Liliaceae)
  • Growth height: 80 to 150 cm (sometimes up to 2 m)
  • perennial, herbaceous plant (bulb family)
  • erect straight stem
  • Leaves: lanceolate (3-18 cm long) with whitish hairs
  • Flowers in July to August, 3-20 flowers per stem
  • strongly reflexed petals
  • with conspicuous dark spots
  • Seeds: Pods in September/October


Tiger lilies do well in a bright location or in the light semi-shade. They need adequate shade for the roots while the buds want to bask in the sun. The soil should not dam up the rainwater, but should still be able to store it well so that the onion plant does not dry out. A sandy-loamy soil with a medium proportion of humus is best. Most garden soils provide a good foundation for tiger lily growth. Since the tiger lily can grow very tall, it is better to place it at the back of a mixed bed.

  • Light requirements: sunny to semi-shady
  • shady root area
  • Soil: well drained, capable of storing water
  • moderately humorous
Tip: Provide enough shade on the ground by planting other plants between the tiger lilies, whose foliage offers protection. Ground covers are particularly suitable for this.


A new planting with tiger lily bulbs should preferably take place in autumn in rather cooler places in the garden. Planting in autumn has the advantage that the bulb can form roots before the first frosts appear. Alternatively, planting is also possible at the end of April to May. Since lily bulbs bought in stores dry out quickly, they should be planted without long storage periods if possible. If nothing else is possible, cool temperatures are better for storage than warm ones.

  • When: early fall (September to October)
  • Planting distance: 30 cm
  • more depending on the neighboring plants
  • Planting hole: three times the size of the onion
  • create drainage if necessary
  • mix heavy soils with sand and compost
  • Planting depth: 15 cm
  • make sure the tip is pointing up
Tip: If the tiger lilies stop blooming after years, the bulbs can be removed and planted somewhere else where they can recover. Sometimes the bulbs also need to be renewed.


The tiger lily is best planted in a wind-protected place in the garden, such as in front of a wall. If this is not possible, the fast-growing Lilium lancifolium, which sometimes reaches a height of two meters, can be supported with a pole. Even heavy rain often leads to buckling of the rigid flower stalks in unfavorable locations. Otherwise, the pretty flowering plants are not particularly high-maintenance.

watering, fertilizing and cutting

The tiger lily does not like waterlogging and extreme dryness. In the worst case, wetness leads to diseases such as stem rot or the onion rotting in the soil. During the drier summer months, the soil around the lily should be kept slightly moist. The surface can be mulched so that the moisture is better retained in the soil.

As soon as the tiger lilies begin to sprout in spring, the plants can be supplied with a small amount of organic fertilizer. Both mature compost and horn shavings or horn meal are suitable for this. At the latest, when the lily begins to form buds, you should supply it with nutrients. A fertilization with slow-release fertilizer once a year (compost or horn shavings) is sufficient to supply the plant with nutrients.

The only important pruning is done in late autumn, when the Lilium tigrinum is already completely wilted or dried up. Green plants store nutrients in the bulb in late summer so that they can sprout again next spring. The stalks are cut just above the ground and can be disposed of in the compost. If you want, you can also remove withered flowers.


Tiger lilies are almost always sterile in culture and therefore cannot be propagated from seed. However, there is still the simple possibility of vegetative propagation via the axillary bulbs, which produce genetically identical daughter plants. Incidentally, these nodules also form on severed onion scales.

1. Bulbillen

The bulbils, also called brood buds, are easy to recognize in Lilium tigrinum: the spherical bulbs form in the leaf axils and are green-black in colour. When ripe, the nodules are easy to loosen or even fall off by themselves.

  • Time: from the beginning of September
  • Remove ripe bulbs and plant directly in the substrate
  • Substrate: sandy peat soil
  • Distance: about 5 cm
  • Planting depth: maximum 3 cm
  • push a hole in the ground with your finger
  • Insert bulbils
  • cover with fine soil or peat moss
  • two to three buds per pot
  • Keep substrate slightly moist

The planted bulbs stay in a bright place in the apartment without direct sunlight over the winter. From May, the pots can also be placed in a sheltered spot on the patio or in the garden. It is best for the small onions to spend the coming winter in a frost-free, dark place such as a cellar or in the garage. From May they can then be planted in their final place in the garden.

2. Onion scales

The outer scales can be detached from the bulb in the ground in late summer or autumn, when the tiger lily has withdrawn and the above-ground parts have died. They are usually quite loose and can easily be broken off by hand. If they lie moist, the scales also form brood buds after a while, which usually grow out of the breakage.

  • Time: autumn, when the plant has withered
  • Lightly press scales into peat moss or sand-peat mixture
  • Tips must stick out
  • can also be placed on damp kitchen paper or cotton wool
  • place in freezer bag (prevents evaporation)
  • keep warm and dark
  • air daily to avoid mold
  • it can take up to three months for the daughter bulbs to form

If small onions have formed on the edges of the onion scales, the pot or bag must first be stored in a cool and dark place for a few weeks. The buds continue to develop at temperatures between four and eight degrees. Then you can plant them in pots with sandy standard soil (about two to three centimeters deep). A partially shaded location on the east or west window sill offers the young plants an optimal location. The young plants can be planted in the bed from May.


Even if the tiger lily is very hardy, its bulbs can be damaged by very severe frosts. In harsh locations, the gardener should therefore ensure winter protection. Old leaves or spruce or fir branches are suitable for this. These also keep rainwater away from the bulb. Usually it is not the low temperatures, but waterlogging that destroys the onion in winter.

Popular Varieties

The individual varieties and hybrids of the tiger lily sometimes differ greatly in the color of the flowers. There are also simple and filled flower shapes. The bulbs are usually commercially available under the name Lilium tigrinum, sometimes also as Lilium lancifolium.

  • Lilium tigrinum var. splendens: the best-known variety with bright orange flowers, conspicuously dark dots, sweet-smelling, up to 120 cm in height
  • var. flavifolium: Yellow flowering tiger lily
  • var. floreplenum (also ‘Flore Pleno’, double tiger lily): double flowers in different shades of color with dark spots
  • ‘Citronella’: hanging flowers in strong yellow with dark spots, fragrant, growth height up to 120 cm, robust, ideal for beginners
  • ‘Fire King’: deep orange-red flowers with red spots, height of growth 120 cm
  • ‘Pink Tiger’: pink flowers with brown spots, height of growth up to 100 cm
  • ‘Purple Life’: white flowers with countless purple spots, rather low-growing at only 80 cm
  • ‘Red Flavour’: fire-red flowers with reddish-brown spots, up to 100 cm tall
  • ‘Salmon Flavour’: Very light salmon-colored flowers (almost white), up to 100 cm tall
  • ‘Salmon Tiger’: salmon-colored flowers with dark spots in the throat, growth height up to 120 cm
  • ‘White Tiger’: creamy-white flowers with small reddish-brown dots in the throat, height of growth up to 100 cm

risk of confusion

The tiger lily (Lilium lancifolium) is often confused with the Mexican tiger lily (Tigrida pavonia), which has only three large petals on the outside and three smaller ones on the inside. Lilium lancifolium (syn. Lilium tigrinum) has six strongly curved petals with very large and long stamens.

diseases and pests

Lily beetles often appear in the tiger lily. To prevent infestation with the beetles and larvae, you should plant the lilies in cooler areas of the garden, such as on the edge of a tree.

  • Lily beetle (control biologically with parasitic wasps)
  • Snails (take precautions early)

The tiger lily is considered a particularly robust species of lily that can reach remarkable growth heights of over 1.5 meters. Up to 20 downward-sloping flowers are formed on each stem, which can be very differently colored depending on the variety. The tiger lily is particularly easy to care for and is also suitable for beginners who would like to decorate their garden with a late-flowering bulbous plant.

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