The torch lily, which belongs to the Affodill family, is a very decorative plant that is particularly noticeable for its bright, colorful flowers. It is also often called the rocket flower because of its magnificent flowers, which look like a torch. This perennial, herbaceous plant is represented worldwide with around 70 species, all of which are closely related to one another.


Most varieties are evergreen and reach heights of between 80 and 160 cm. The smaller relatives, the dwarf torch lilies, reach a maximum height of 70 cm. The inflorescences are similar to a piston. The slender inflorescences are predominantly two-colored, with the upper part of the flowers being scarlet in most cases and changing to orange-yellow to golden yellow at the bottom. In the meantime there are also many two-tone blooms, some single-colored blooms in yellow or orange as well as particularly eye-catching flares with white-greenish tints.

The mostly evergreen foliage has a reed-like, long, narrow shape and forms an up to 60 cm high eyrie from which the strong stems with the fascinating cobs grow. These slender inflorescences then appear in all their glory from June to October, depending on the variety. The leaf margins can be both smooth and serrated.


  • The best time to plant torch lilies is spring.
  • To do this, a sufficiently large planting hole is first dug.
  • This should be big enough that the roots are not crushed or bent.
  • If the soil is not permeable enough, a drainage layer is recommended.
  • The same applies if the substrate cannot store enough water.
  • A corresponding drainage layer is then added to the planting hole as the bottom layer.
  • A soil improvement can also be achieved by adding compost.
  • Now the plant is planted at a depth of about 8 cm.
  • Ultimately, the rosette of the torch lily should be planted close to the ground or level with the surface.


The torch lily prefers above all sheltered and sunny locations in a permeable, nutrient-rich, moderately dry and fresh and humus soil. Soils with a high proportion of lime or sand are just as suitable. Regardless of the nature of the soil, it should by no means dry out in summer and again not get too wet in winter.

Watering and fertilizing

During the growth phase, from spring to summer, it should be watered regularly, especially if it is persistent drought. Waterlogging must be avoided at all costs. Watering should always be postponed to the early morning or evening hours, especially in summer.

In full sunlight should not be poured. Possible water droplets on the leaves could cause burns and, moreover, a lot of water evaporates in the midday sun. In winter, make sure that the torch lily is not too wet.
One should be particularly careful with fertilizer. This should only be administered very sparingly. Over-fertilization must be avoided at all costs, as this could damage the plants and make them susceptible to diseases and pests. In spring you can fertilize with ripe compost, which should then be easily worked into the soil and, if necessary, give horn shavings in autumn. Further fertilization is usually not necessary.

Propagation by sowing

This fascinating plant can be sown from spring to early autumn. The seeds are placed flat in a sowing container in a suitable substrate. The substrate should be well drained and humus as well as sandy or gravel.

Germination is relatively problem-free at temperatures of around 20 degrees. It takes about 7-14 days. Germination then takes longer at lower temperatures. The substrate should always be kept moist. Moistening the substrate with a suitable spray device or a spray bottle, as is available in every hardware store, is better than normal watering. There is no risk of the substrate getting too wet.

Once germination has occurred, the seedlings need a lot of light. However, you should avoid direct sunlight. It is best to place it in a sheltered place outdoors. Even now you shouldn’t let the substrate dry out, but you should definitely avoid too much moisture.

After about 2-4 leaves have formed, the seedlings can be pricked or separated into small pots. It is advisable to leave the plants in these pots until autumn, which also makes maintenance easier. The young plants can then be planted in the garden in the following spring between March and May. Planting in autumn is not recommended, as the torch lily would then not grow as well until winter.

If you want to use self-harvested seeds for sowing, you have to stratify them immediately after harvesting, ie subject them to cold treatment. To do this, you put them in a plastic bag, for example, and put the whole thing in the refrigerator for the entire winter. In the coming spring, for example, they can be moved forward on the windowsill and the seedlings transplanted accordingly later.

Multiplication by division

The division is the easiest way to multiply the torch lily. In addition, it is the only form of propagation from which pure plants emerge, ie plants whose properties are one hundred percent identical to the mother plant. The fleshy rhizome is divided. This can happen both in early spring and immediately after flowering in autumn.
For the division, the rhizome is first carefully dug out. Most of the earth is then shaken off and the roots are cut up with a sharp knife. The sections obtained in this way can then be planted separately from one another, provided that each individual section has sufficient root mass.

The torch lily can also be divided using so-called daughter rosettes. These sometimes form on the edge of plants that have been around for about 3 years. In order to separate these daughter rosettes from the mother plant, this is dug up in autumn and the daughter rosettes with part of the roots are separated from the plant. Then these sections should be planted immediately. Under no circumstances should the root area dry out during this time.


Most species of the torch lily are relatively sensitive to frost or only partially hardy. Therefore, winter protection is strongly recommended. To protect the heart of the torch lily from heavy frosts, the evergreen foliage of the plants should not be cut off, but rather twisted slightly and loosely tied together on the forehead before winter. A loose layer of heaped leaves or fir branches around the plant provides additional protection. The foliage used for this should be as dry as possible to prevent the sensitive roots from rotting during the cold season.

Just as dangerous as frost is waterlogging in the area of ​​the roots in winter for the torch lily. This damages the plant and in the worst case can lead to complete loss. Here, too, an appropriate cover can provide protection during the winter. In addition, it offers protection from the blazing winter sun, because the torch lily is also relatively sensitive to this.

For cold locations, the orange-red and yellow-flowered grandiflora varieties as well as the salmon and cream-colored varieties Safranvogel and the hybrid Royal Standard with red-yellow flowers are best.

The varieties ‘porphyrantha’, ‘hirsuta’, ‘ritualis’, ‘triangularis’ and the hybrid ‘Galpinii’ are also particularly hardy or only slightly sensitive to frost. Despite everything, they should also be protected against severe frosts by a cover.

To cut

In spring, the leaves can then be cut off about a hand’s breadth above the ground and the plant can be supplied with fertilizer, for example in the form of compost. So it can sprout again vigorously. The inflorescences are cut off in autumn as soon as they have faded.


As with most plants, the torch lily can also become infected with pests. In the event of insufficient care or unfavorable site conditions, it can be attacked by thrips, for example. This pest is also known under the names thunderstorms or bubble feet.

Torch lilies are also eagerly eaten by snails and earwigs like to nestle in the flowers of this plant, although they are beneficial insects. This can be lured out of the plant by, for example, placing a wet rag next to the plant in question. The earwigs then use this rag as a hiding place and can thus be removed from the plant.

An infestation with thrips indicate, for example, silvery spots on the upper side of the leaf and brown dots of excrement on the underside of the leaves. The flowers can also be affected.
Useful insects, ie natural predators such as predatory mites, lacewings or flower bugs, can be used for control. Neem oil products and decoctions made from nettle, garlic or onion are also effective.

To make a suitable brew, first chop stinging nettles, garlic or onion pieces and then pour hot water over them. The whole thing is left to stand overnight and the next day the brew is poured through a sieve and then the infested plants are sprayed with it. The whole thing should then be repeated after 10-14 days, if necessary several times.

A problem with snails is usually obvious; you can usually see the animals sitting by the plants. In addition, traces of eating on the leaves indicate a possible snail problem. In addition to slug pellets, beneficial insects such as roundworms can also be used. You can also collect the pests regularly, preferably in the evening hours. Although this method is very effective in the long term, it is extremely uncomfortable.

Particularly beautiful varieties

  • ‘Praecox’ – This torch lily captivates with its orange-yellow flower stems. With a stature height of 90 cm, the plant is more in the middle range. They bloom from June to September.
  • ‘Orange vanila popsicle’ – An extraordinary multicolored variety, with the colors red, orange and creamy white, is the variety ‘orange vanila popsicle’. At 50 cm, it is shorter than most of the others and blooms from June to October.
  • ‘Green Jade’ – The ‘Green Jade’ torch lily has a striking green and white flower color. It blooms from July to September and is about 80 to 100 cm high.
  • ‘Citrina’ – The flowers of this impressive flowering plant shine in a bright, light yellow, greenish color. It blooms from June to September and is between 40 and 80 cm high.
  • ‘Little Maid’ – The attractive ‘Little Maid’ variety produces beige-yellow flowers. With a stature height of around 40 cm, it is also one of the small specimens. Its magnificent flowers appear from July to September.

The torch lily is an exceptionally decorative plant. It is relatively robust and it does not make any special demands on maintenance. It is hardy to a limited extent and should be provided with appropriate winter protection. Too much moisture should be avoided in both summer and winter, but especially in winter. If you take all of this to heart, nothing stands in the way of healthy growth and, above all, magnificent and lasting bloom.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *