Toad Lily Adds Beauty to Fall Shade Gardens

Updated: May 22, 2023

Discover the quirky flowers and late-season charm of toad lily — a shade-blooming plant that will brighten up any dark areas in your yard.

How to Grow Toad Lily

Toad-Lily-Plant, best fall flowersCourtesy Heather Labuda
Toad lily plant

Scientific Name: Tricyrtis
Growing Zones: 4 to 8
Light Needs: Shade to part shade
Soil Needs: Moist, well-draining
Attracts: Bees, butterflies, hummingbirds

Don’t be fooled by the name! Toad lily, a gorgeous fall flower, adds splashes of color to the dark and shady areas of your yard. Originating from Asia, gardeners adore these plants for their eye-catching speckled blossoms and rich green foliage.

Generally regarded as useful border or accent plants, they grow best in moist, slightly acidic soil and in shady areas. Moisture is important for a toad lily. Without it, leaves can turn brown. The flowers might not bloom in sunny conditions. Plants usually grow 1 to 3 feet in height.

What’s the difference between a true lily vs a daylily?

Care and Growing Tips

A spotted purple toad lily in full bloom in summer.dmf87/Getty Images

Those interested in adding toad lily to their gardens should watch out for a handful of pest problems, including fungal leaf spot, slugs, and rabbits. (Check out our guide to rabbit-resistant flowers and how best to keep these critters away from your garden.) Some toad lily cultivars can be grown in containers, where they make good cut flowers.

Relatively low in maintenance, toad lilies don’t require much fuss. Note that as long as they’re planted in nutrient-rich soil that suits their growing needs, there’s no need to fertilize them. Toad lilies don’t need to be deadheaded, either.

For another shade garden star, grow native trout lily.

Benefits of Growing Toad Lily

251146178 1 Samantha Koss Bnb Bypc2020Courtesy Samantha Koss
The speckled blooms stand out in shade gardens

With its charming speckles and colorful purple blooms, this unique-looking lily is sure to be a standout in your garden. It’ll add fall interest because it flowers later than many other woodland or shade-tolerant plants. It’s a perfect late-season addition to your yard. Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds are all drawn to the plant.

Best of all, the flowers exhibit some disease resistance and grow well in complete shade. This makes them an excellent choice for less-than-sunny areas.

Next, learn How to Grow and Care for Asiatic lily plants,