Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

Deer Resistant Tiger Lily

...
Tiger Lily image by mhiser from Fotolia.com

Anyone who has ever walked into a dew-fresh garden with a cup of morning coffee only to discover that white-tailed deer have made salad with prized hostas knows how frustrating living with deer can be. Perennial gardeners who live in areas with a lot of deer learn to interplant attractive plants with plants that deer avoid. Tiger lilies make a lovely choice for deer-resistant plantings.

Considerations

Most deer damage occurs during winter when food is scarce. Increasingly, though, human population shifts to rural areas, elimination of predators and growing controls of hunting have forced deer populations to forage in areas inhabited by humans. Barriers, noise and repellents have limited success against starving deer.

Identification

...
magnificient yellow lily image by alri from Fotolia.com

Lilium lancifolium, commonly called tiger lilies, are native to China but are ancient adaptees to the United States. They are perennial bulbs that grow to 6 feet tall and bloom in midsummer. Formerly named L. tigrinum, their scentless flowers are reddish orange to yellow pendant 3- to 5-inch recurved blooms. Their petals are covered with purplish-brown spots. The plants are sterile and reproduce by numerous bulbils that grow along their stems.

  • Anyone who has ever walked into a dew-fresh garden with a cup of morning coffee only to discover that white-tailed deer have made salad with prized hostas knows how frustrating living with deer can be.
  • Barriers, noise and repellents have limited success against starving deer.

Native Advantage

...
fallen lily image by Igor Zhorov from Fotolia.com

Native or adapted plants like tiger lilies have advantages that many garden plants lack when it comes to resisting deer. According to Cornell University’s extension service, deer will choose fertilized plants over unfertilized plants and plants that are irrigated or watered over those that are not. Tiger lilies and other plants that grow in the wild without cultural aids are less attractive to deer.

Geography

...
Tiger Lilies image by Jon Yuschock from Fotolia.com

In addition to its native China and Taiwan, Harvard’s eFlora project charts the tiger lily’s naturalized range in North America from New England south to Virginia and west to the Mississippi. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Plant Database adds Eastern Canada, North Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, North Dakota and Montana to this range. In these areas, the plant would be most deer-resistant because it has naturalized and requires no cultural aid.

Misconceptions

...
lily martagon image by hazel proudlove from Fotolia.com

Several other plants are called tiger lilies. Tawny daylilies (Hemerocallis fulva) are actually deer favorites but may be mistaken for tiger lilies. Other recurved lilies like the martagons are often mistaken for tiger lilies; they require fertilizer and irrigation in most of their range, making them more likely candidates for grazing. Only L. lancifolium is the reliably deer-resistant tiger lily.

  • Native or adapted plants like tiger lilies have advantages that many garden plants lack when it comes to resisting deer.
  • Other recurved lilies like the martagons are often mistaken for tiger lilies; they require fertilizer and irrigation in most of their range, making them more likely candidates for grazing.

Related Articles

Deer Resistant Plants in Wisconsin
Deer Resistant Plants in Wisconsin
Do Deer Eat Pansies?
Do Deer Eat Pansies?
How to Keep Deer From Eating Hostas
How to Keep Deer From Eating Hostas
Do Deer Eat Zinnias or Gerber Daisies?
Do Deer Eat Zinnias or Gerber Daisies?
Cosmos Flowers & Deer
Cosmos Flowers & Deer
Do Deer Eat Holly Bush Berries?
Do Deer Eat Holly Bush Berries?
What Flowers Do Florida Deer Not Eat?
What Flowers Do Florida Deer Not Eat?
Flowers That Rabbits Don't Eat
Flowers That Rabbits Don't Eat
Tall Perennials for Shade
Tall Perennials for Shade
Are Old Fashioned Snowball Bushes Deer Resistant?
Are Old Fashioned Snowball Bushes Deer Resistant?
Raspberry Plant Adaptations
Raspberry Plant Adaptations
Hostas Care & Feeding
Hostas Care & Feeding
Are Pansies Toxic to Dogs?
Are Pansies Toxic to Dogs?
Flowers That Rabbits Do Not Eat in the Garden
Flowers That Rabbits Do Not Eat in the Garden
Flowers That Deer Hate
Flowers That Deer Hate
Is Calibrachoa Deer Resistant?
Is Calibrachoa Deer Resistant?
Flowers to Keep Squirrels Away
Flowers to Keep Squirrels Away
Garden Guides
×