Nomocharis Plant Growing & Care Guide for Gardeners

In this Gardener's HQ guide, we'll explore cultivating Nomocharis plants in your garden, indoor spaces, and other settings.

Tibetan Lily, Himalayan lily: Cultivation & Garden Use

Nomocharis plants are similar in appearance to Lilies. They are usually grown from bulbs by gardeners.

They reach an height of 30 to 90 cm (1 to 3 feet tall), making them useful in garden borders.

The Nomocharis genus consists of seven species. These may have white, pink, or purple flowers that resemble flattish lilies. The plant blooms in the middle of summer.

Nomocharis photograph by Brewbooks.

Nomocharis aperta
Nomocharis aperta picture by dracobotanicus.

Nomocharis Growing and Care Guide

  • Common Names: Nomocharis. Tibetan lily, Himalayan lily
  • Life Cycle: Hardy bulb.
  • Height: 10 to 36 inches (25—90 cm).
  • Native: Northern India, Myanmar, and eastern China.
  • Growing Region: Zones 7 to 9.
  • Flowers: Middle of summer.
  • Flower Details: Lily-like. Saucer-shaped. Flat. White, pink, purple; often spotted pink. 2.5 to 3 inches (6—7.5 cm) in diameter.
  • Foliage: Herbaceous. Slim erect stalks. Solitary leaves lower down the stem. Whorls further up. Two inches (5 cm) long. Linear to sublate. Green.
  • Sowing/Planting Outside:
    Seeds: Cover seed. Germination time: 3—6 weeks. Temperature: 50 to 57°F (10—14°C). At the start of spring, mix seeds in a moist growing medium, then put in containers, wrap in a large plastic bag, then stratify by refrigeration for three weeks. Next bury the flat into the ground in an area that offers shade, preferably close to a wall that faces north. Allow seedlings to grow for two years before transplanting to their final location. Bulbs: Four inches (10 cm) deep. Space at 6 to 16 inches (15—40 cm).
  • Requirements and care: Full sunlight or partial shade. Good drainage. Deep, acidic, moist soil. Spring mulch. Overwinters under snow in its native areas, so thrives in similar environments. Do not disturb once established. Propagate from seed or purchased bulbs. Division of bulbs is not recommended as they are fragile.
  • Family: Liliaceae.
  • Closely Related Species: Lilies: Clintonia, Fritillaria, Lilium, Tulipa, Scoliopus.
  • Miscellaneous: Nomocharis are closely related to the Lilium plants, and share the similar characteristics of scaly bulbs and leafy stems.

How to Grow Nomocharis

It is probably easiest to grow Nomocharis from bulbs; these should be burried about 8 to 10 cm (3 to 4 inches) deep, and spaced from 12 cm (5 inches; small Nomocharis species) to 40 cm (16 inches; large Nomocharis varieties) apart. Plant in the spring.

They can grow in either a sunny or partially shaded part of the garden. The soil should be well drained yet moist. Nomocharis prefers to grow in an acidic and deep soil.

If growing Nomocharis from seed, then sow the seed in the autumn into flats and lightly cover with soil. The flat should then be sunk into a shaded area of the garden and covered in glass.

Germination can take up to six months. Allow the Nomocharis seedlings to grow to about 8 cm (~3 inches) in height. Next, transplant to the desired part of the garden the following spring after the last frost.

Caring for Nomocharis Plants in the Garden

Not the easiest of plants to look after, Nomocharis should be mulched in the spring.

The soil must be kept moist, but not wet, throughout the growing and flowering period in the summer.

It is best to propagate further plants from seed, or purchase bulbs from a garden center.

Nomocharis bulbs are susceptible to damage, so dividing them may destroy your plants if not done extremely carefully.

Common Questions

How many members does the Nomocharis genus contain?

The Nomocharis genus is quite small, with about 10 recognized species. These alpine plants have beautiful, lily-like flowers.

Do Nomocharis members make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Nomocharis make delightful additions to alpine gardens or rockeries, with their charming flowers and attractive foliage.

Which Nomocharis species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

Nomocharis aperta is often grown by gardeners for its large, bell-shaped flowers that display a beautiful mix of white, pink, and purple hues.

Are Nomocharis plants fragrant?

Nomocharis are not known for being particularly fragrant. Their allure lies more in their ornamental flowers and foliage.

What is the perfect location to grow Nomocharis?

Being alpine plants, Nomocharis thrive in well-drained, gritty soil and partial shade. They do best in cool, mountainous climates.

Is Nomocharis invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

At present, Nomocharis is not considered invasive in the USA. However, as with all plants, it should be grown responsibly to avoid uncontrolled spread.

How do I remove Nomocharis plants from my garden?

If needed, Nomocharis plants can be removed by carefully digging up the bulbs. Be mindful of the surrounding plants, as these plants usually grow in mixed communities.


Nomocharis is a small genus in the Liliaceae family, native to the Himalayan region. These bulbous perennials are admired for their striking, lily-like flowers, often featuring intricate markings.

Plant Nomocharis in a sheltered location with partial shade and humus-rich, well-drained soil. They can be planted in spring or autumn. These plants are a delightful addition to woodland or rock gardens, or shaded borders, providing a burst of colour in the summer months.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Nomocharis plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Canna, Acer negundo, and Tricyrtis plants.