Psychology of the leopard lily.

The leopard lilies are peeking up! I love this Northwest wildflower, tall and graceful and likely magic of some sort. They have the orange of the native tiger lily but with some additional red and maroon on the flowers, which makes them appear kind of reckless and passionate and theatrical.

return of the leopard lily

Happy leopard lily reappears, looking like more than one bulb this time!

But there are rumors, whisperings, that they are difficult to grow, which is only semi-true. Like you and me and your sister-in-law and just about everyone else, leopard lilies do have ideas about where they will and will not dwell, definite ideas, so the trick is to find the right location.  Because I have noticed that they either thrive and tower over everything or they die.

leopard lily moved out

Vacant site of less happy lily of last year.

Anyway, as a gardener you must sort of feel out the little micro climates in your gardens to find the place that these lilies have in mind, because they are very secretive about it. You might think you have found just the real estate for them, with lovely filtered light and moist woodland soil, in a neighborhood with ferns and wild ginger, and they might even grow there, once. Then the next year they are gone, and that is when you know they weren’t happy, not happy at all, and it’s all your fault and too late to make amends. (You know the type.)

If you are a Star Trek follower you also know about the Expendable Ensign; what you may need here are some Expendable leopard lilies. Just go around your gardens and find two or three nice little homes that they are sure to like and plant one lily in each of the perfect places and then you wait and see which ones flourish and which ones are devastated. And that’s how you know.

leopard lily blooms

Why I grow leopard lilies.

And next time you will be a little better in tune with their little psyches and the odds of success will increase. (In my gardens these lilies prefer getting their sun, which they do seem to need, in the morning, with afternoon shade or filtered light and good attention to watering. Too much shade can really be too much shade.)

tall leopard lily

Tall leopard lily mingles with red columbine.

But all you need is success once and you will be ready to gamble, because when they are happy they are so lovely and romantic and exotic, gracefully dancing among the other garden inhabitants. And with luck they will live long and prosper.


About linniew

Unpublished novelist seeks therapy in gardening. Westie assists.
This entry was posted in Pacific Northwest native plants and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Psychology of the leopard lily.

  1. Cindy Eber says:

    I’m off to the nursery now to see if they have some – they must as it is the PNW!

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