The Leopard Lily is an erect, rhizomatous perennial which typically grows 2-3' tall. Lily-like, deep orange flowers (to 2" across), heavily spotted with red dots, have 6 petal-like perianth segments. Flowers appear in early to-mid summer in sprays above the foliage on wiry, naked stems typically rising to 3' (less frequently to 4') tall. Sword-shaped, iris-like, medium green leaves (to 10" long) are in flattened fans. Flowers give way to pear-shaped seed pods which split open when ripe (late summer), with each pod revealing a blackberry-like seed cluster, hence the common name of blackberry lily. Spotting on the flowers gives rise to the additional common name of leopard lily. Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Hardy in zones 5-10.
Growing Instructions for the Leopard Lily
The seeds have a period of dormancy. They can be planted outdoors in the fall or winter for spring germination or they can be cold stratified to simulate winter conditions and to break their dormancy at any time of the year. 1. Soak the seed in water for 24 hours. 2. Place the seeds in a plastic bag and seal it. Store the bag in a refrigerator for 7 days. 3. The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. Put the soil in a pot. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet. 3. Put the seeds on the soil. 4. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil. 5. Water the seeds. 6. Place the pots in an area with warm temperatures in full sun or part shade. The seeds have uneven germination. They germinate over 21-60 days. 7. When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.