Lilium martagon

Lilium martagon
Common Name: Turkscap lily 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Liliaceae
Native Range: Asia, Europe
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Pink to white, spotted maroon
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies


Best grown in moist, slightly alkaline, well-draining, organically rich and sandy loams in full sun to part shade. The more shade, the longer the flowering stems, so part shade is ideal for producing the showiest blooms. Can tolerate some clay, but lightening the soil texture will greatly improve their performance. A top dressing of organic matter in the form of leaf mold or compost should be added to the planting site yearly in fall. Hardy from Zones 3-8. In climates with very hot summers, plant in a location with afternoon shade to dappled sun.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Lilium martagon, known as martagon lily or Turk's cap lily, is a Eurasian species of lily native to much of Europe and central Asia. A mature martagon lily will typically reach 3-6' tall and bloom in mid to late summer. The lance-shaped leaves (to 6" long) form whorls along the length of the stem. The flowers emerge from the top half of the stem, up to 30 on each plant (occasionally 50 on large specimens), and range in color from pink to white, with dark maroon specks on the interiors of the recurved petals. Stems can be cut back in fall once the leaves turn yellow. Martagon lilies can be a challenge to establish in the garden. They may not bloom their first year, and should not be moved once established. However, in ideal conditions this lily can form small colonies, creating a stunning mid summer floral display. They are also long-lived, virtually free of pests and disease issues, and attractive to swallowtail butterflies and hummingbirds.

Genus name comes from the Latin name meaning lily.

The specific epithet martagon comes from a French adoption of a Turkish word for turban.

The common name Turk's cap lily refers to the shape of the highly reflex sepals and petals of the flowers, which are said to resemble a "Turk's cap".


Once established, this plant is relatively free of pest and disease issues. Protect the new growth from slug damage using diatomaceous earth.


Shade gardens, mixed borders, cottage gardens, cutting gardens and meadows. Can also be grown in containers with well-draining, sandy soil. Do not use peat-based soil mixes, as these hold on to too much moisture and can cause the bulbs to rot.