Tiger Lily, also known as Columbia Lily or Oregon Lily, is a late spring - summer blooming bulb with slender, erect stems that can grow up to 5’ tall flaunting multiple gorgeous, nodding orange flowers. It’s maroon-speckled tepals flare back elegantly toward the stem creating visual space for the striking stamen that protrude well beyond the petals in a tight cluster. Bright green leaves are predominantly at the base of the stems in whorled clusters, while smaller, lance-shaped leaves dot the stem upwards.
- Plant type/canopy layer: deciduous, perennial, herbaceous plant
- Size at maturity: 1-5' tall, 1' wide
- Light requirements: full sun, part sun / part shade
- Moisture requirements: perennially moist soil, may require summer watering
- Bloom time: May to August
- Growth rate/ease: moderate growth rate, moderately easy to grow
- Wildlife support: Nectar source for adult butterflies, bees and other insect pollinators. Oregon plants tend to have exerted stamens and a flower form associated with large butterfly pollination. Patches of flowering plants can be thick with western tiger swallowtails and pale swallowtails. Caterpillar host plant/larval food source. Attracts and supports hummingbirds. (Oregon Flora Project)
- Native habitat/range: Locally common in westside and subalpine meadows, forests gaps and roadsides in conifer forest especially along coast up to 2000 meters from north western CA to British Columbia. Portland Plant List - yes.
- Special features & uses: hummingbird favorite
Gardening with Tiger Lily: This is a treasure to behold when hiking in the woods. So, even a single Tiger Lily blooming in the home meadow or woodland garden is a delight, while successfully establishing a small patch would be a sheer joy. This bulb is a good fit for mature natural gardens, where beds have been built up over time and are rich in organic matter or works quite nicely intermixed in part sun/part shade container plantings. It requires part-to-full sun and moist soils; so moderate summer water may be needed, particularly in sunnier areas that tend to dry out. It is a favored food of many garden critters that have learned over millennia that the booty humans cache in the ground is worth digging for. Consider caging this bulb immediately after planting, until your scent and visible ground disturbance is long gone to keep it safe from above ground diggers like squirrels and chipmunks.
Photo Credits: Nikkie West