How to Grow, Propagate and Care for Toad Lilies
The Common Toad Lily is an easy to care for, slow spreading, clump forming perennial with 4"-6", deep green leaves alternating along multiple, 30"-36" upright, arching stems, resembling those of an orchid.
They are hardy in USDA zones 4-9.
Beginning at mid-summer and continuing well into the fall, Tricyrtis hirta produces loose clusters of individual Toad flowers at each node along the stem. These are no ordinary flowers, though. They are AWESOME flowers!
These intricate, 1½"-2" orchid like flowers are typically white or pale yellow and are covered with hundreds of tiny, dark purple or burgundy colored spots.
Toad Lilies are great plants reasonably moist areas in partially of fully shaded areas of the garden, and are suited for growing in containers if they are never allowed to dry out. Toad Lilies make great cut flowers for exotic looking floral arrangements.
The Growing Requirements of a Toad Lily Plant
Toad Lily plants should be grown in a site with light to moderate shade, except in the deep South, where they will require full, deep shade to survive. They will tolerate morning sun in cool summer regions, as long as they have sufficient moisture. Toad Lily rhizomes should be planted 3" deep in evenly moist, organically rich, slightly acidic soil. Water regularly and thoroughly.
Although they will tolerate a short period of drought once established, for the best results they should be kept evenly moist all the time. Spotted leaves or brown edges are usually caused by insufficient moisture.
A generous topdressing of compost each spring, is normally all the feeding that your Toad Lily will require. Take precautions to protect new spring growth from slugs and snails.
Propagating New Toad Lily Plants and Growing Them from Seed
Toad Lilies can be propagated with 4" stem cuttings taken in early summer, before the flowers buds begin to develop. Each cutting should contain a leaf at the top end. After dipping the lower end of the cutting, strike it into moistened rooting medium up to the leaf axis and place in a bright, warm area. A new plant will develope at the base of the leaf.
Toad Lily plants seldom need dividing, but for propagation purposes they can be divided in the spring, making certain that each division includes a new growth bud on the underground rhizome.
Toad Lily seeds require light for germination so do not cover them! They require a period of cold stratification before germination. These tiny seeds should always be sown while fresh.
Sow Toad Lily seeds directly in the garden in late fall, or early in the spring, up until one month before the last killing frost date. If you are starting your Toad Lilies indoors, place your fresh seeds in the refrigerator for a month (or longer) before planting. Sow the seeds onto a moist growing medium and maintain a temperature of 65°-70° until germination which takes from 4 to 6 weeks.