How to Plant Tiger Lily Bulbs

Written by david mckinney
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Tiger lilies, with their electric orange and brown-speckled bloom, are a staple in any wild flower garden. Planting tiger lily bulbs is both easy and affordable and can yield years of enjoyment because of their hardiness as a perennial. One need only drive along a rural road and see an abandoned farmhouse surrounded by tiger lilies to know how this special flower that originated in Asia can thrive for decades without requiring much attention.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tiger lily bulbs
  • 11-48-0 or 16-20-0 fertiliser
  • Shovel

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  1. 1

    Seek a sunny, well-drained location to build your tiger lily bed. Buy bulbs in the fall and plant by mid-October. Dig holes approximately 6 inches deep, leaving 12 to 18 inches between each hole.

  2. 2

    Place 11-48-0 or 16-20-0 fertiliser in the hole. Plant bulbs in groups of three in each hole you have dug. Position roots downward so the bulbs' scales are situated on top. Cover the bulbs with dirt, tamping down the soil firmly to eliminate any air pockets that could dry out the tiger lilies' roots.

  3. 3

    Water thoroughly. Provide up to three more soakings before the ground freezes in the fall, which will help the bulbs establish roots and endure over the winter.

  4. 4

    Apply another round of fertiliser in early spring before the plant's shoots break the surface of the soil. Apply 28.4 to 56.7gr of fertiliser per 10 square feet. Provide periodic watering, ensuring moisture reaches the bulbs and their roots.

  5. 5

    Remove spent flowers after blooming, being sure to leave leaves intact. Weed occasionally.

Tips and warnings

  • Tiger lilies are midsummer bloomers, typically showing off their brightest colours in July.
  • If after several years, tiger lilies will appear short and spindly if bulbs become overcrowded. Clumps of bulbs can be carefully split apart. Excess bulb material can be planted elsewhere.
  • Avoid using manure when planting tiger lilies.

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