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How to Plant Tiger Lily Seeds

By Robin Coe ; Updated September 21, 2017
Tiger lilies can be grown from bulbs or seeds.
Tiger Lily image by Jim Mills from Fotolia.com

Tiger lilies are well-known as the orange-spotted lily that grows in ditches across North America. The roots of the lilies were eaten by Native Americans. The lilies are also popular in Asian dishes, with the flower being also edible. Medicinally, tiger lilies are believed to relieve congestion and nausea. Most lilies, including the tiger lily, are grown from bulbs. However, the tiger lily can also be grown from seeds harvested from the plants.

Put two tiger lily seeds into each of your plastic sandwich bags about three weeks before the last frost. Add about 2 inches of vermiculite to each bag. Shake them gently to mix the seeds into the vermiculite.

Add just enough water to the soil in each plastic bag to dampen it. Seal each bag and place it in an area where it will receive indirect sunlight. The seed will begin to germinate within two weeks.

Begin to carefully remove the seedlings from the plastic bags when they have 4-inch leaves on them. Fill your starter flats with potting soil, and sow each seedling about 1/2 inch deep in the flat. Place the flat under a grow light or in a sunny window where it will receive eight to 12 hours of sunlight a day.

Prepare an outdoor bed for your tiger lily seedlings after the last frost. Choose an area that gets full sun or partial shade. Use your shovel to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 inches, and add compost to the soil so that it drains well.

Lift each seedling with the dirt around its roots from the bed. Dig a hole that is large enough to bury the roots and soil around the root. Press the soil firmly around the base of the plant. Plant each seedling at least 6 inches apart.

Add about an inch of wood chips around your plants as mulch to protect the roots from colder temperatures. Water your plants immediately so that the soil is moist. Continue to water your plants every other day for two weeks. Make sure to water the soil, and to avoid the leaves during watering.

Add 1 tbsp. of 5-10-10 fertilizer around each plant once a month. Keep the fertilizer about 3 inches from the base of each plant during application.


Things You Will Need

  • Tiger lily seeds
  • Plastic sandwich bags
  • Vermiculite
  • Starter flats
  • Potting soil
  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Wood chips
  • 5-10-10 fertilizer

About the Author


Based in Ann Arbor, Mich., Robin Coe has reported on a variety of subjects for more than 15 years. Coe has worked on environmental health and safety issues in communities across Ohio and Michigan. Coe holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism with a double-major in international politics from Bowling Green State University. She has also received training and experience as a nurse aide.