Monday, November 1, 2010

Toad Lily Growing Tips

Toad lilies are dainty flowers that resemble an orchid.  Gardeners who reside in USDA growing zone 5-9 plant the shade loving toad lily amongst their hosta’s, ferns,  astilbe, or in a woodland  setting..  The toad lily will start to bloom in September and will continue to bloom into October, thus adding eye appealing color and interest to ones shade garden.

A few years ago, I discovered  toad lilies growing in my garden.  I took several pictures of the orchid-like flower and went to the library to research the flower. The botanical name is Tricyritis Toad Lily and it is grows in shade to part shade. A woodland setting is ideal for growing the toad lily.  
The following spring I planted the yellow with red dots and the white with purple dots toad lilies in my shade garden.  In the later part of summer the stems pushed up through the soil and grew very quickly. 

When fully grown the stems have a hair texture and the leaves are dark to pale green.  Toad lily stems will grow to the heights of 18 to 28 inches and the spread is that of the same. T

Toad lily flower buds as a cluster and are funnel shaped and open from the tip of the bud.  The flowers come in a variety of colors: White with purple dots, white with red dots, yellow with red dots or white with light purple dots.  If you are like me I know you will want to grow all of the color combination's.  
Plant the toad lily rhizomes in early spring after the danger of frost has past. Toad lilies grow best in an area of shade to part shade, with moist hummus rich well-drained soil.  

Clear the planting area and amend the soil with compost.  Dig a hole that is three inches deep and plant the rhizome, pointy side up.  Fill the hole with soil and water well.  Keep the soil moist during the growing season. 

You can also grow these lilies from seed.  The toad lily will reseed itself or you can buy seeds to fill your garden with this exotic looking flower.

Caring for Toad Lilies

The toad lily is very easy to grow and is cold weather; frost, snow and icy hardy.  For best results plant according to requirement and water so that the soil is evenly moist.  Do not let the soil dry out.  I water my toad lilies daily to keep the soil moist.  In late August I will feed the toad lilies with a liquid fertilizer and in a few weeks my toad lilies will have many clusters of buds.  

Care for toad lilies after a hard frost by cutting stems back to soil level.  Do a hand pull of any weeds in the garden and then apply two inches of compost topped with 3 inches of organic mulch; pine needles, freshly chipped wood, or grass clippings.


If you were unsuccessful in growing the orchid, then grow the Toad Lily.  For small yards, garden, or shady apartment balconies you may grow the toad lily in a container.

This orchid like perennial will continue to grow in my shade garden for many years to come.

*The toad lily image with multiple cluster buds is an original photograph of the flowers that grow in my garden. 


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