The Q&A Archives: Tiger Lily Virus

Question: I have a small patio garden in which several types of Asiatic and a few Oriental ("Little Rascal", purchased from Burpee) lilies are planted. Last fall, I planted some more Asiatic lilies, and also planted four pink Tiger lilies that I got from one of the Holland bulb catalogs. Now I've read in two different places that Tigers quite often have a virus that doesn't harm them, and therefore can't be identified by the grower, but does spread to other lilies. I assume I need to get the Tigers out of my flower bed as soon as they come through the soil and I can find them. Since they're Orientals, I guess they'll come up after the Asiatics, and I'll be able to identify them that way. Then, I'll move them out front where there are no other lilies. Is there anything else I should be doing in the meantime to help save my "good" lilies - anything I can do to inhibit the spread of any virus or make the Asiatics stronger so that they can fight off whatever exposure they encounter? Will this virus attack just other lilies, or does it spread to other plants? How does it most commonly spread - will it help me that there are very few flying insects in my patio garden? What are the chances my Asiatics will be OK if I take stepsto guard them and get the Tigers out in a couple of months when they ID themselves?<br><br>Thanks in advance for your input.<br><br>-Laura

Answer: Viral or mosaic infection can be a problem with all lilies. To avoid it, buy healthy bulbs from reliable sources. (Which you have done.) Dig and destroy any lilies that show mottling in the leaves or seriously stunted growth. Also control aphids, which spread the infection. There is no cure for the virus, once it attacks a lily. Your chances of introducing a problem is very slim, so don't take extra measures to rogue out the tigers unless they show signs of infection.

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