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How to Plant Tiger Lily Bulbs

By Melissa Lewis ; Updated September 21, 2017

Tiger lilies bloom large orange flowers with black spots which usually make their appearance in late spring or early summer and last for several weeks. They are hardy bulbs that can be planted anytime the soil is workable; however, tiger lily bulbs are best planted in the fall so they can take root during the cold winter. They should then grow and bloom the first spring. Tiger lilies are typically planted in USDA hardiness zones 2 to 7.

Prepare the planting bed. Tiger lilies prefer full sun, but can withstand some shade as long as they receive at least six hours of sunlight a day. A week before you plant your bulbs, rake or till the top 12 inches of the soil and mix in about 3 or 4 inches of compost, peat moss or manure.

Dig holes that are about 4 to 8 inches deep. Typically, lilies are planted three times as deep as they are in height. The hole should also one and a half times as wide. Multiple bulbs should be spaced 10 to 12 inches apart which will leave plenty of room for the plants to grow.

Plant the tiger lily bulbs with the tips pointing toward the sky. Backfill the soil and tamp it down with your hands. Water the bulbs and pack down the soil again to remove any possible air pockets which can later lead to root rot.

Cover the new planting bed with a couple inches of mulch, such as pine needles or bark. This will help retain water and soil temperatures, as well as keep weeds at bay.


Things You Will Need

  • Garden rake
  • Compost, manure or peat moss
  • Trowel
  • Water
  • Mulch

About the Author


Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.