By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Like most bulbs, tiger lilies will naturalize over time, creating even more bulbs and plants. Dividing the cluster of bulbs and transplanting tiger lilies will enhance growth and blooming, and further increase your stock of these charming lilies. The process is easy and you can even give a few of these stunning flowering bulbs away every few years.
Tiger lilies are vigorous perennial bulbs that bloom in summer. They may be white, yellow or red, but are usually deeply orange with speckled petals. Plants may grow up to 4 feet (1 m.) tall and over time the number of blooms will increase. Tiger lilies can be propagated through bulbs, scales, bulbils or seed, but the quickest and easiest method is through division of established bulbs. Transplanting tiger lilies will result in a crop the next year if you time it just right.
Transplanting summer-blooming bulbs like tiger lilies can be done at any time of the year, but you might sacrifice flowers if you don’t get the timing right. The best time for transplanting tiger lily bulbs is when the foliage has died back. Just remember to mark the area before all the greenery disappears or you may miss the bulbs.
The bulbs are quite hardy even in areas with sustained freezes and don’t usually need to overwinter indoors. Autumn is generally the time the greenery is dying back and the best time to transplant the bulbs. If you are transplanting live plants, make sure to plant them at the same depth in which they were growing and provide them with adequate water to reestablish.
It’s not actually the plants you will transplant unless you opt to lose some flowers and move them during the growing season. If you wait until fall, all that is left to move are the bulbs. To remove the bulbs, use a shovel and cut straight down several inches away from where the plants were.
Dig as far out from the main clump of the plant, or plants, as needed to avoid cutting the bulbs. Then, carefully excavate inward until you find the bulbs. Lift the bulbs gently and brush off the soil. If the bulbs are in a big clump, delicately separate them. If any plant material remains on the bulbs, clip it off.
After you have lifted and separated the bulbs, check for rotten spots and discoloration. Discard any bulbs which aren’t healthy. Prepare the bed by loosening the soil to a depth of 8 inches (20 cm.) and adding in organic matter and bone meal.
Plant the bulbs 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 cm.) apart at a depth of 6 inches (15 cm.). Bulbs need to be situated with the pointed side up and the roots downward. Press soil around the bulbs and water to settle the soil. If you have snoopy squirrels or other digging animals, place a section of chicken wire over the area until plant sprout in spring.
Transplanting tiger lily bulbs is easy and the results will be bigger flowers and more than ever before.
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When it comes to foolproof perennials for sunny garden spots, few plants can beat the cheerful daylily. The plants are as tough as nails, shrugging off all insect pests and diseases, and some varieties (think of the ubiquitous 'Stella D'Oro') have bloom times that stretch into four months long. Daylilies have the added characteristic of growing ever-expanding clumps each year, giving the gardener more plants to populate the landscape or share with friends and family. For gardeners new to transplanting and dividing plants, the daylily is a most forgiving specimen for learning these techniques.
I planted tiger lily bulbs last fall, which are growing nicely. They are about 14-16 inches tall but while out in the garden, I accidently snapped about 5-6 inches off the top of one. Will it continue to grow and flower this year, or will I have to wait until next year?
Most likely, they will not bloom this year. There is a chance though that they will grow an offshoot from the main stem and this will bloom.
Tiger lilies are perennial bulbs. They should be dug up and transplanted every few years to allow for efficient blooming. Transplanting is most successful if done in the early fall or late winter.
If you decide to transplant tiger lilies while they are in bloom during spring and summer, clip off the flowers so the plant's energy goes toward storing food for the winter. However, transplanting is best in early fall when the leaves' foliage is yellowing or in late winter right before they begin to grow again. At this time, the bulbs are most easily divided.
When digging up the plant, pierce the ground with the shovel a few inches away from the center of the plant. Use the end of the shovel to pry up the bulb gently. If you are unsure of the bulb's location in the soil, dig gently to avoid damaging the plant. The main bulb resembles a large clove of garlic. Remove the smaller bulbs that have formed on the main bulb. They should be easy to pull right off.
Large bulbs should be planted in groups of at least three. Plant them 8 to 10 inches apart and 4 to 6 inches deep in a well-drained and nutrient-rich soil. Smaller bulbs should only be planted 2 inches deep. Once you cover the bulbs with soil, give the newly planted lilies a good soaking so the soil sets around them.
Spider lily, magic lily, hurricane lily, and surprise lily are all given names for the lily that grows in an abundance of lance shaped, green leaves, which die before a flower ever blooms. Later in the season, a slender stem will arch up and produce a single delicate lily with slender petals that resemble spider's legs. Varieties of the spider lily bloom in shades of pink, gold, and bright red. These bulb bloomers are prized for their ability to multiply quickly, enabling the gardener to dig up and divide the daughter bulbs for new plantings. Divide the clumps every five years or sooner if flowers appear smaller or not as vigorous.
Dig bulbs in the fall, making a wide circle around the clump of spider lilies. Take care not to cut through the spreading bulbs.
Gently lift the clump with a shovel or garden fork and place on a mesh screen over a garbage can. Spray the clump with water until the soil and debris is removed into the can. Allow the bulbs to dry completely.
Divide the small bulbs from the mother bulb carefully. You will notice mature bulbs, with diameters of up to 2 inches and smaller bulbs. Sandra Mason, Unit Educator of Horticulture & Environment for the University of Illinois Extension, suggests that although the mature bulbs are the most likely to flower, all bulb sizes may be re-planted.
Store bulbs if you live in a zone colder than 5, as frost damage could kill them if left in the ground. Pack dry bulbs upside down, with the roots intact, in vermiculite. Place in a container in a dark, cool place, safe from pests.
Re-plant bulbs in the fall in zones 5 and above. Spring planting is best for zones below 5 where bulbs are stored indoors over winter. Plant in clumps of up to five bulbs at 4 to 6 inches deep. Clumps should be spaced 6 inches apart to allow for future bulb division.
Water the transplanted spider lily bulbs in the fall if rainfall is not adequate. Water spring planted spider lily bulbs to ensure root establishment for summer blooms. Do not allow the soil to get soggy, which will encourage root rot.
I have a bed of tiger lilies and lemon daylilies. The tiger lilies have taken over. Can I dig them now before they really get growing?
Yes. First determine if the tiger lilies are hardy lilies (Lilium lancifolium) or an orange flowered daylily. Daylilies have grass like leaves while the true tiger lily has leaves like an Easter lily. Both are sturdy plants but multiply differently. Dig and divide tiger lilies in the fall. Check the soil for bulbs and bulbils (small pea like structures that start new lilies) as you dig and divide. Make sure you get the small lilies as well as the larger bulbs out of the way of the daylilies. Early spring is the next best time to dig and divide these plants. If the orange flowering plant is truly a daylily, you can dig and divide these plants in spring or late summer for best results or as time allows during the growing season. Dig the plant, divide into smaller pieces and place the divisions throughout the landscape in properly prepared soil. If these are what many gardeners call “ditch lilies” you may want to compost the divisions instead of spreading this aggressive plant throughout the landscape.
As tiger lily bulbs never become dormant, according to North Dakota State University Extension, you need to choose the best time to transplant them. The best time is during autumn when the weather is chilly, and after the plants have died back.
Similarly, can I transplant lilies after they start to bloom? Lilies produce from bulbs and need to be divided and transplanted in the fall for the best results. Experts say late September or early October is when to move lilies. Immediately start transplanting lily bulbs once they have been lifted. This way the plant can gather energy to store in the bulb for massive blooms.
Also know, can I transplant tiger lilies?
Transplanting summer-blooming bulbs like tiger lilies can be done at any time of the year, but you might sacrifice flowers if you don't get the timing right. The best time for transplanting tiger lily bulbs is when the foliage has died back.
Do tiger lilies need sun or shade?
Lilium lancifolium, which also has the botanical synonym Lilium tigrinum, prefer full sun or partial shade. These tiger lilies will likely appreciate afternoon shade in areas with hot, dry summers.