Tiger Lily Mosaic Virus – Are Tiger Lilies Prone To Mosaic Virus

Orange Tiger Lily Flowers With Dark Spots
tiger lilies
(Image credit: Abrada)

Are tiger lilies prone to mosaic virus? If you know how destructive this disease is and you love the lilies in your garden, this is an important question to ask. Tiger lilies can carry mosaic virus, and although it has little impact on them, it can be spread to the other lilies in your beds.

Tiger Lily Mosaic Virus

Lilies are some of the most regal and beautiful flowers in the garden but, unfortunately, most of them are susceptible to a disease called mosaic virus. Tiger lily is particularly notorious for carrying this disease and spreading it to other lilies in a garden. Tiger lilies will not be affected by the disease they carry but will cause damage by spreading it to the other plants that are nearby. Mosaic virus is primarily spread through aphids. These little bugs suck on plants to feed and then pass the virus from one to another. The characteristic signs of mosaic virus include irregular and elongated yellow streaks on the leaves. They vary in width and length. The flowers may also look unhealthy or weakened, and the overall plant may also show signs of weakness. The problem with mosaic virus in tiger lilies is that even though it carries the disease, it shows no signs of it. You may be planting a tiger lily in your garden that looks perfectly healthy but that is about to spread disease to the rest of your lily plants.

Preventing Tiger Lily Mosaic Virus in the Garden

Although they are beautiful, many lily gardeners avoid the tiger lily altogether. At the very least, don’t plant tiger lilies near other lilies or you could inadvertently spread mosaic virus and lose your entire lily collection. Not having them in the garden at all is the only sure way to avoid mosaic virus. If you do have tiger lilies, you can minimize the risks by minimizing aphids. For instance, release ladybugs in your garden to combat aphids. You can also keep an eye on plants in your garden for signs of aphids and use synthetic or natural products to get rid of them. Aphids are particularly drawn to cooler, shadier areas of gardens, so sunny and hot gardens are less likely to cultivate these pests. Another way to grow all lilies, including tiger lilies, while avoiding mosaic virus, is to grow lilies from seed. The virus infects every part of the plant, except for the seeds. Still, adding tiger lilies to a garden with other lilies is always risky. There will always be a chance that the virus will be lurking and will spread to your other plants. Not planting tiger lily at all is your only foolproof way to eliminate mosaic virus.

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.