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Mr. Smarty Plants - Tiger lilies for Austin

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Thursday - July 12, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Tiger lilies for Austin
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My dear friend absolutely loves tiger lilies, and I would love to plant some for her, but I wonder if the short winters here in Austin, TX make growing these difficult.. I know little of growing flowers, but I would love to make this happen for her... ANY advice you can give me is valued advice because I know so little about growing or planting flowers here... Thanks..

ANSWER:

What a wonderful friend you are! We don't know of a nicer gift than a garden.

There are three North American native species that are called "tiger lilies": The first is the Columbia or tiger lily (Lilium colombianum) with a range of California and the Northwest. The second is the Sierra tiger lily (Lilium parvum) with a range of California, Oregon, and Nevada. Finally, although not commonly called "tiger lily", is the Carolina lily (Lilium michauxii), which looks very similar to the first two above and is native to eastern Texas.

Lilium lancifolium is a non-native, Asiatic species called tiger lily that also looks very similar to the ones above.

Your best bet for growing tiger lilies in Austin is to pick the the species (Lilium michauxii) that is native to Texas. The area of Texas where it grows is only slightly north of Austin so the length of winter will not likely be a problem. The soil type, however, is very different in Central Texas compared to East Texas. Our heavy black clay or caliche soils (sometimes known in other parts of the country as "rocks") will need to be lightened considerably with sand and/or organic matter to make the tiger lilies happy. The bulbs should be planted in the fall. They will require very little, if any, fertilizer; but will require some moisture. The plants do well in full sun or part shade.

The Texas native Carolina lily is found deep in the woods of East Texas. We would suggest you go to our National Suppliers List to find a source for the bulbs.


Lilium columbianum

Lilium parvum

Lilium michauxii

 

 



 

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