Lilium philadelphicum, the wood lily or prairie lily, must be one of our most beautiful wildflowers. It produces stunning, funnel-shaped, fiery-orange flowers that appear at the ideal time, just as spring gives way to summer. While other native lilies, like Michigan lily, have flowers that dangle, the wood lily’s flowers remain erect. Apparently, this is because the anthers can close their pores temporarily in response to rain, thereby protecting the pollen. Cool, right?
In the wild, wood lilies can be found in full to partial sun in open woods, dry-mesic prairies, and moist, sandy prairies. It is an uncommon plant whose populations have likely suffered from overcorrecting, much like orchids.
The website, Illinois Wildflowers, offers a comprehensive list of faunal associates (https://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/prairie/plantx/pr_lily.html) that includes a range of bees, butterflies, beetles, and hummingbirds.
We are offering the both corms (scaly bulbs) and seeds of the midwestern variety of the wood lily, Lilium philadelphicum var. andinum, which has leaves scattered along the stem. We ship the corms during the dormant season. These are graded according to size. Medium bulbs are from 1/2″. Large corms are from 1″. Extra-large corms are from 1.5″. These will produce healthy, blooming-sized plants.* The biggest challenge we’ve encountered is protecting the newly-planted corms until they become established. We recommend placing a small section of hardware cloth over the planting area. The holes should be large enough to allow the lily to grow through, but small enough to deter chipmunks, squirrels, voles, and other critters.
* Note: We cultivate these plants in the nursery until they reach maturity. Many have bloomed for us here. However, we cannot guarantee your plants will bloom during their first year.