How to Grow Tricyrtis Plants

Guide to Growing Toad Lily

Tricyrtis are hardy or half-hardy perennials.

They bloom sporadically from the middle of summer through to early autumn.

When in bloom, Tricyrtis plants carry upturned bell-shaped flowers. These are usually freckled. Flowers may be red, purple, pink, yellow, or white.

Tricyrtis by wlcutler.

A common name for a member of Tricyrtis is the Toad Lily.

Commonly Grown Tricyrtis Species Photographs and Plant Identification

Tricyrtis hirta

Tricyrtis hirta
Tricyrtis hirta (Toad lily / Hairy Toad Lily), photograph by Anoldent; CC.

Tricyrtis formosana

Tricyrtis formosana
Tricyrtis formosana (Taiwanese Toad Lily), picture by Derek Keats; CC.

Tricyrtis Growing and Care Guide

  • Common Names: Toad Lily.
  • Life Cycle: Hardy perennial. Half-hardy perennial.
  • Height: 24 to 60 inches (60—150 cm).
  • Native: East Asia.
  • Growing Region: Zones 4 to 9.
  • Flowers: Middle of summer to autumn.
  • Flower Details: Pink, red, yellow, purple, white. Orchid-like. Freckled / spotted. Star or bell-shaped. Waxy. Thick. Some species have solitary flowers while others contain up to 50 flowers on terminal or axillary clusters. Six tepals in two whorls.
  • Foliage: Herbaceous. Alternate. Lance-shaped. Stems are usually stiff and erect, but may be arched. Clump-forming habit.

  • Sow Outside: Seeds: 1/8 inch (3 mm). Before the last light frost of spring or towards the end of autumn.
  • Sow Inside: Germination time: one to three months. Temperature: 68°F (20°C). Seven or eight weeks in advance. Use peat pots and add a layer of grit to the top. Transplant outdoors following the last frost or in autumn. Space at 4 to 8 inches (10—20 cm).
  • Requirements and care: Partial shade to full sunlight (in colder areas). Slightly acidic woodland soil. Moist, peaty, and rich in organic matter. Regular watering during dry periods. Bring indoors in the autumn in cold areas. Protect from slugs. Propagate: by dividing in the spring.
  • Family: Liliaceae.
  • Closely Related Species: Lilies.
  • Miscellaneous: These plants are known as Hototogisu (cuckoo) in Japan, this name is derived from the spotted nature of the flowers.

How to Grow Toad Lily and Other Tricyrtis

Toad Lilies are not the easiest plants to grow from seeds, and you may consider purchasing them from a garden centre or from divided plants.

The seeds of Tricyrtis plants should be sown at a depth of 3 mm (1/8th inch) in autumn or before the last frost of spring.

They should be spaced at about 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inches) apart, and prefer a partially shaded part of the garden.

Ideally the soil in which plants grow in will be rich, slightly acidic, peaty, and moist.

If you want to attempt growing Tricyrtis indoors, then sow the seeds into peat pots about a month and a half before you expect the last frost.

It can take from one to three months to germinate the seeds. This should be performed at 18 to 21 degrees Celsius (64 to 70°F). Transplant outdoors following the last frost of spring.

How to care for Tricyrtis

Though fairly difficult to grow from seed, it is fairly easy to care for toad Lily and other Tricyrtis members once they are growing.

During hot and dry spells they should be watered regularly to help keep the soil moist. Plants require a mulch in the spring time to help keep soil cool and moist.

If you require more plants then toad lilies can be propagated by division in the spring.

Common Questions

How many members does the Tricyrtis genus have?

The Tricyrtis genus, commonly known as Toad Lily, contains about 20 species.

Do members of Tricyrtis make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Tricyrtis species are valued for their uniquely spotted flowers. They're great for shady borders or woodland gardens.

Which Tricyrtis species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

The most commonly grown species is Tricyrtis hirta, also known as the Hairy Toad Lily.

Are members of the Tricyrtis plant genus fragrant?

Tricyrtis species are not typically known for fragrance, but their exotic, orchid-like flowers are quite appealing.

What is the perfect location to grow Tricyrtis?

Tricyrtis prefers a location with partial to full shade and moist, well-drained soil. It's a perfect choice for a shaded border or woodland garden.

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

Currently, Tricyrtis is not known to be invasive in the USA. Always refer to local regulations for accurate information.

How do I remove Tricyrtis plants from my garden?

To remove Tricyrtis, uproot the entire plant including the root system to prevent regrowth.


The Tricyrtis plant genus belongs to the Liliaceae family. This genus includes about 20 species of perennial plants native to Asia, particularly in Japan, China, and the Philippines.

For best growth, Tricyrtis plants prefer shade or part-shade and rich, moist, well-drained soil. They can be propagated from seeds in spring or by division in the autumn. The plants are admired for their unique, speckled, lily-like flowers.

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