How To Grow Toad Lilies

Toad lilies produce speckled, brightly colored flowers. image by L'eau Bleue:


Toad lilies are herbaceous perennials that naturally grow on the edges of forests in Asia. They produce ornamental flowers that are speckled and brightly colored. Toad lilies bloom for about two months, usually in August and September. They can grow up to 3 feet in height and can be very invasive. Toad lilies are easy to grow in most temperate regions around the world, and with proper care, they can survive temperatures as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 1

Sow toad lily seeds in a location that receives partial shade and has well-drained, fertile soil. Plant the seeds just after the final frost of winter in a hole about 2 inches deep, and water thoroughly to initiate growth. Space seeds 15 to 18 inches apart for the best results.

Step 2

Water frequently during the first year of growth, between three and four times per week. Do not allow the soil to become excessively damp or soggy, but maintain an even level of moisture throughout. Reduce watering to twice per week after the first year, and only on weeks with less than 1 inch of rainfall.

Step 3

Feed toad lilies once per year in early spring using a balanced 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer. Use half of the dosage recommended on the packaging to prevent root burn. Water thoroughly before and after application to integrate the nutrients into the soil.

Step 4

Spread a 4-inch layer of mulch around toad lily plants in late fall to protect them from the winter cold. Remove the mulch after the average temperature has warmed to 50 degrees Fahrenheit or higher to allow the plants to grow in the spring.

Step 5

Check toad lily plants regularly for snails or slugs. If not physically present, they can be identified by shiny, slimy tracks on the foliage. Pick them off manually, or place a slug poison near the toad lilies according to the manufacturer's directions.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never expose toad lilies to direct sunlight. They flourish in shade, but too much light can burn the delicate foliage and flowers.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Slug poison (optional)


  • Toad Lilies: Gems of the Fall
  • An Encyclopedia of Shade Perennials; Wolfram George Schmid; 2002
  • Making the Most of Shade; Larry Hodgson; 2005
Keywords: toad lilies, toad lily, toad lily plants

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including

Photo by: L'eau Bleue: