Sand Lily Cultivation: Can You Grow Sand Lilies In The Garden

sand lily
Image by Jpkole

By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

Sand lily plants (Leucocrinum montanum) grow across much of the open montane forests, dry grasslands and sagebrush deserts of the western United States. This rugged and beautiful little wildflower is easily recognized by the sweet-smelling, star-shaped white sand lily flowers on stalks rising from a basal clump of slender, grass-like leaves. Sand lily plants grow directly from an elongated rhizome buried deep in the soil. Sand lily is also known as star lily or mountain lily.

Can You Grow Sand Lilies?

Yes, you can grow sand lily plants if you live in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 9. The important question is, SHOULD you grow sand lilies? If you can find plants or seeds at a garden center or nursery that specializes in native desert plants, you’re in luck and you can grow these lovely desert wildflowers at your heart’s content.

If you can’t locate the plant or seeds commercially, please enjoy sand lily flowers in their natural environment. Attempting to start wildflowers is rarely successful, and sand lilies are particularly difficult because the rhizome is so deep, and the seed is also below ground level. It may be tempting to try your hand at digging and transplanting (which is almost certain to fail), but remember that although wildflowers are fragile, they are an important part of an ecosystem consisting of butterflies and other pollinators, as well as birds and small animals.

Sand Lily Cultivation

Advertisement

If you have access to sand lily plants from a commercial provider, you can grow the plant in wildflower gardens, rock gardens, beds or borders.

Sand lily flowers require rocky, well-drained, alkaline soil and plenty of bright sunlight. Keep the plant slightly moist until the roots are established, but be careful not to overwater.

Care of Sand Lily

In the natural environment, sand lilies survive punishing heat and poor, dry soil. Conditions in the garden should be similar, and taking care of sand lily is easy because this plant doesn’t appreciate being fussed over.

Water the plant only when the top 2 to 3 inches of soil are dry or when the plant looks slightly wilted, as the plant will rot quickly in soggy soil.

Sand lily plants generally require no fertilizer, but if growth seems weak in early spring, you can feed the plant very lightly, using any balanced garden fertilizer.

Print This Article
This article was last updated on
Did you find this helpful?
Share it with your friends!

Additional Help & Information

Didn't find the answer to your question? Ask one of our friendly gardening experts.

Do you know anything about gardening? Help answer someone's gardening question.

Read more articles about Sand Lily Plants.

Search for more information

Use the search box below to find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: