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Past Articles Library | How to Grow Tricyrtis - The Toad Lily

If you can't grow orchids, try a Toad Lily


If you're not familiar with Tricyrtis also known somewhat unfairly as the Toad Lily, this is a plant you'll want in your garden.

This perennial plant is so easy to grow it's not even funny. It's very frost-hardy, and it's tough enough to grow in Zones 4 to 9 which means it can easily grow outdoors in the toughest winter climates.

To give you an idea of how tough it is, it's a native plant from Nepal to the Philippines.


It grows by rhizomes which are normally available from spring through summer and it flowers from summer through fall.

Stunning Flowers

The very thick, waxy, and orchidlike flowers add a bit of the tropics to any garden, and are very attractive in their colorings and shapes which range from star, bell, or funnel-shaped set amidst dark green and attractive foliage.

Growing Requirements

Toad lilies like rich, well composted, moist soil and as long as they get part shade and are kept moist, they can grow in almost any climate.

Tricyrtis are great grown with hostas and ferns underneath trees in a woodland setting.

Growth Characteristics

Toad lilies grow to be 2 to 3 feet (.61 to 1 m) tall and as wide, so they are a good size for containers or smaller garden areas.

Tricyrtis also make great cut flowers so you can have orchidlike flowers in floral arrangements which lends a bit of the exotic to your other more ordinary cut flowers.

Planting and Care

When you buy Tricyrtis rhizomes they are like a Lily of the Valley in that you want to plant the pip side up and about three inches (7.5 cm) deep and keep them well watered through their first summer.

Once they are established, they are tough and will grow and flower for you for years and years.

Several Varieties Available

As Tricyrtis plants gain in popularity, all kinds of great new varieties are being developed with flowers ranging from delicate pink, maroon, purple, yellow, and white, some of which include:

"Moonlight Treasure'
'Imperial Banner'
'Taipei Silk'

So if you want something truly exotic looking in your yard, and something that looks tough to grow but in reality is as simple as planting it, then give Tricyrtis a chance to perform for you and dazzle friends and family with your gardening skill!


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When to Water

If you can, it is always best to water early in the morning. This allows the plant's leaves and flowers to dry off as the day warms up.

If you water at night, the plant stays wet for hours in the cool, which are prime conditions for fungi and other problems to set in.

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