Georgia Gardener Newsletter Cool Plant: July 9, 2009

Turk's Cap Lily
Lilium superbum

Species Native Range: Eastern third of the U.S.
Hardiness: USDA Zones (4)5-9
Mature Size: 4-7 feet tall & 2 feet wide
Exposure: Full sun to light shade
Soil: Moist, rich
Drought Tolerance: Good
Ease of Culture: Easy

Our native turk's cap lily is the tallest lily that I have ever seen in cultivation or in the wild. Easily reaching 6 or more feet, these summer-blooming beauties are hard to miss. Take a trip up the Blue Ridge Parkway at you will see these plants towering in open, moist meadows and in damp places along the road. They grow easily in the garden as long as they are given ample space. Although the plant flowers atop strong stems, be prepared to stake your plant if it flops over.

Plant turk's cap lily in reliably moist rich soil that is high in organic matter. They perform best in full sun where mature plants will produce dozens of spotted orange/red/yellow flowers from late June until August. The flowers are very attractive to butterflies.

Grow turk's cap lily at the back of a perennial/shrub bed or border or as part of a meadow, butterfly or cottage garden. Keep in mind their mature height and site them accordingly. Good companion plants include bee balm (Monarda spp.), joe-pye weed (Eupatorium spp.), buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), swamp hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus), etc.

Note: Deer may browse on turk's cap lily, so be prepared to protect them.


Turk's cap lily can be purchased via mail order or by checking with nurseries listed on the web site of the Georgia Native Plant Society:

American Meadows Nursery: mailorder
Easy Living Wildflowers: mail order
GNPS Nursery List

If you have comments or questions about this article, please email me.

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