What is an Orange Lily?

Jacob Queen

Orange lilies, also known as tiger lilies, are wild flowers that grow in many parts of North America. They are tall flowers with orange blooms that are usually spotted with tiny black dots. Though they grow wild, many people cultivate them for their home gardens, as they are very hardy and easy to grow. Since they so frequently grow in ditches, they have also come to be called ditch lilies.

Man mowing the grass
Man mowing the grass

Growing the orange lily typically does not require a great deal of gardening skill. In fact, once they have taken hold, they grow so well that many American states have them listed as invasive plants. They emerge from tubular pods that develop between the leaves and the stalk and, like many other lilies, they are slow to develop. It typically takes four growing seasons for orange lilies to come to mature bloom. The orange lily sometimes carries plant toxins that can be dangerous for other plants, so it is best for individuals to group them together in an isolated area of the garden.

Orange lilies prefer lots of moisture, so it is important for planters to keep the soil uniformly wet at all times. This is also one of the reasons they do not do well as houseplants or in arid or semi-arid climates. Generally, the atmosphere inside the home does not provide enough moisture to keep them healthy. The near constant misting required would be difficult for the average person to maintain.

Planting of orange lilies should be done in spring or summer. They need full to partial sun, and bedding can be flat or sloped. They do not require a lot of spacing between plants; in fact, it is very common to see them grouped tightly together. They are such hardy plants that fertilization is generally not required, but if necessary, it is best to choose an organic variety.

The roots and buds of the orange lily are edible and are believed to have medicinal uses. Early Native Americans included the roots as part of their daily diet. The roots are usually baked, and the buds are often dried and eaten in salads.

Tincture of orange lily was developed to help cure a variety of conditions, such as nausea and neuralgia. It is also believed to help cure diarrhea and vomiting. These remedies have long been used by eastern cultures, but as yet, no studies have conclusively proven their credibility. Care should be taken when growing orange lilies around pets, especially cats, as they contain toxins that may be harmful when ingested by smaller animals.

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