Canada Lily Wildflowers – How To Grow Canada Lilies In Gardens

By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

Also known as wild yellow lily or meadow lily, Canada lily (Lilium canadense) is a stunning wildflower that produces lance-shaped leaves and enchanting yellow, orange or red, trumpet-shaped flowers in midsummer. Wondering how to grow Canada lilies in your garden? Read on to find out.

Wild Yellow Lily Information

Canada lily wildflowers, native to the eastern areas of Canada and the United States, are hardy plants that grow in USDA growing zones 3 through 9. The plants, which reach mature heights of 2 to 5 feet, are commonly found growing along roadsides, in moist meadows and woodlands, along streams, or in marshy areas.

The nectar from the fragrant blooms is highly attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies and bees.

Canada Lily Propagation


Although it isn’t difficult to plant Canada lily seeds, expect to wait five or six years for the plants to bloom. Purchase seeds or just let the pods dry on the plant in autumn. Save the dry seeds for planting the following spring.

The easiest (and fastest) way to start Canada lilies in your garden is to plant bulbs, which are available at garden centers that specialize in native plants or wild lilies. You can also purchase Canada lily bulbs online.

Canada lily propagation can also be accomplished by dividing rhizomes or offsets.

How to Grow Canada Lilies in the Garden

Canada lily cultivation isn’t all that complicated. Canada lily wildflowers prefer sun or partial shade and loamy, slightly acidic soil, much like that of their native woodland homes. Good drainage is critical for successful Canada lilies. If your soil doesn’t quite fill the bill, mix several inches of compost, mulch or other organic material into the top of the soil.

Plant Canada lily bulbs twice their depth, which generally means each bulb should be covered with about 4 inches of soil. Space the bulbs 12 to 15 inches apart.

A layer of bark chips or other mulch does the plant a world of good. Apply mulch in late spring, and then, if possible, refresh the mulch in midsummer. You can also fertilize the plant at these times. Experts recommend using a fertilizer formulated for potatoes or tomatoes, which has all the nutrients required by lily wildflowers.

Water the area regularly at soil level to keep the soil moist but not drenched. Do your best to keep the foliage dry and beware of overwatering. Canada lily wildflowers thrive in moist, but not soggy soil.

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