Lilium philadelphicum, also known as western red or wood lily, is a perennial wildflower that is prized for the 2-inch, brown-freckled, red orange blossoms that grace the plant from June through August. Native to North America, western red lily is especially popular in Saskatchewan, Canada, where it was chosen to appear on their provincial flag. A stunning yet low maintenance plant, western red lily thrives in gardens and home landscapes with moist, cool soil.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Provide your western red lilies with 1 inch of supplemental irrigation every two weeks in the absence of rain. Apply the water to the soil around the base of the plant, rather than applying it to the plant itself.
Cover the soil around western red lilies with a 1-inch layer of peat moss, pine straw or similar organic mulching material to help conserve soil moisture during the dry summer months. Add additional organic mulch as needed to maintain a 1-inch layer.
Feed western red lilies with an application of a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer in the early spring, once they have emerged from the soil. Apply a second fertilizer application approximately one month later to ensure that your plants have the nutrients they need to bloom prolifically. Follow the application instructions on the fertilizer package.
Prune your western red lilies using a process known as deadheading. Pinch spent lily blossoms off between your fingers or snip them from the plant with a pair of pruning shears. Use sharpened and sterilized pruning shears to avoid spreading disease from plant to plant. Deadheading western red lilies encourages them to focus their energies on producing new blooms.
Western red lilies become leggy and stretch toward the sunlight when grown in shady areas. If your lilies are performing poorly in a shaded location, consider transplanting them to a full sun spot that receives a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight per day.
Never pick western red lilies that you see growing in the wild. Western red lilies are a protected species in many parts of the United States and Canada.