Toad Lily

“Toad Lily”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

Toad lily (Tricyrtis formsana) is sending out blooms early.  These flowers usually do not appear until fall.  There are not that many showing up yet, but there are a few.  I wonder if they are showing up early because of the dry weather we have been having.  We are not usually this dry until late September or October with October being our driest month. We have only had 2.15 inches of rain this month which is less then half of what we usually have for the month of July.

This is the only variety that is showing blooms.  There are two varieties in the garden, and the other one, Tricyrtis hirta x miazaka, is not showing any signs of blooms.  I have been deep watering the garden, but with no rain, I think some plants are beginning to think it is fall and are blooming extra early.

There are some things to consider if growing toad lilies. These plants like a lot of shade.  Mine only get about an hour of morning sun.  The foliage will bleach out if they are in too much sun.  They like a moist, fertile soil with plenty of humus.  They like open shade and will grow anywhere from six to twelve inches tall with some two feet high.  Plant them in the front of the border so that when in bloom they will be easily seen.  The flowers are small, but prolific.  I have mine in front of a bed of holly ferns. They do spread, but not invasively.  The one that is blooming now is evergreen for me, while miazaka is not.

I do not believe toad lilies are widely grown, but, for a fall blooming show, they can’t be beat.  This lovely little lavender flower is like a little jewel in the garden.



  1. Anna said,

    July 23, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    I’ve never seen a toad lily–it looks like a trillium and orchid bloom. It’s very pretty but unfortunately–I don’t have any place it would grow well.

  2. Jan said,

    July 24, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    Oh, Anna, they are so pretty. They are often described as looking like a tiny orchid. They are so nice in the fall garden when other plants are looking tired or spent.

  3. Marcia said,

    August 21, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    I’m in zone 6/7 and have a Toad Lily planted in almost total shade. It probably gets an hour of early morning sun. This is not an established plant as it was just plantied this year. I do not see any buds on this plant. It is very green and healthy looking otherwise. Is it just to early or maybe they do not bloom the first year?

  4. Jan said,

    August 22, 2008 at 4:33 am

    Hi, Marcia. It just may be too early for it to bloom at all. I wrote about mine because it was sending out flowers so early. Most of my toad lilies don’t even have buds yet. They usually bloom in late September around here, so I would imagine maybe mid September for you. Mine bloomed the first year I planted it, so if yours does not bloom they may need a little more sun. I hope this helps.

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