Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Tiger Flower, Mexican Shell Flower
Tigridia pavonia

Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Tigridia (ty-GRID-dee-uh) (Info)
Species: pavonia (pav-ON-ee-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Moraea pavonia
Synonym:Ferraria pavonia
Synonym:Tigridia oxypetala

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

30 members have or want this plant for trade.


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
Magenta (Pink-Purple)
Gold (Yellow-Orange)
Bright Yellow
Maroon (Purple-Brown)
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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There are a total of 55 photos.
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12 positives
7 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive billyvanbakker On Feb 26, 2015, billyvanbakker from Yonkers, NY wrote:

Zone7a....NY. Grows like a weed for me. Truly hardy pere

Positive Alexander_R On Jul 16, 2014, Alexander_R from Santa Clarita, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Very beautiful. Rarely seen in person, yet pest free and easy to grow. Started blooming for me in early June after only nine weeks from planting. Each plant will produce 2-3 flowers over a period of a few weeks, and each flower lasts only about 10 hours. Interesting palm-like foliage is attractive even when not in bloom. Slim airy plants can be spaced and inch and a half apart. I got mine from Brent and Becky's bulbs.

Positive harrryr On Aug 5, 2012, harrryr from Shoreline, WA wrote:

I live in Seattle Washington and planted my tigridia about three years ago. The first couple of years it had a few blooms that were tri-petal cream color. This year it has multiple blooms that are are six petal, 3 yellow and 3 orange with yellow accents. The flower lasts one day so it must be tigridia, it seems unusual. I will have about a month of blooms when all the pods have been expended. It is a real conversation piece for my yard.

Positive eukofios On Jul 14, 2012, eukofios from Vancouver, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I bought these in a packet of bulbs at a big box store. I didn't know what to do with them so stuck the little bulbs in the soil of planters around the deck, which contained other plants. Today I was surprised with Trigridia blossoms. They are quite beautiful. The duration of one day is not an issue for me - they are exotic and something to look forward to. They look more beautiful in person than in a photo. Thanks to the other people who have posted here, I'll know what to do with them this fall, for flowers next year!

Neutral BillandJan On Sep 3, 2010, BillandJan from New Milford, PA wrote:

They are beautiful and very easy to grow. I bought mine on sale at a Christmas Tree Store for almost nothing at the closeout.

Positive Tigerlilylou On Aug 13, 2008, Tigerlilylou from Monaghan
Ireland wrote:

My favourite plant ever!! I first planted 20 of these bulbs last April (2007) & only got 3 blooms- but what blooms!! Im actually devastated by looking at the photographs- I didnt think anybody would have blooms as beautiful as mine!! I had them in pots last summer & forgot about them all winter- they were outside with little or no shelter & Ireland can be very frosty. I planted the bulbs to the ground in April this year & have just photographed my 4th bloom, with 5 more on the way so far. Its such a pity they only last 1 day, but its a great excuse out to the garden in the mornings before work!

Positive Palonias On Jul 8, 2008, Palonias from Brigantine, NJ wrote:

I live in Brigantine, NJ next to Atlantic City - (on the bay). My tigridia get full sun but is mixed well with acidanthera and glads, as well as heliopsis, ice plants, well the list goes on. I mulch very well, four times a year, but it comes back every year so far and it is going on its fourth year.

Positive mojavegardener On Aug 30, 2006, mojavegardener from Inyokern, CA (Zone 8a) wrote:

Bloomed a lot later than I expected. Soil here in the Mojave is very, very sandy, so all bulbs do well with plenty of water, as it drains away quickly. A beautiful late summer surprise. As this is the first year I've planted them, I have a feeling they will come up sooner next year.

Neutral Bartramsgarden On Jul 30, 2006, Bartramsgarden from Trenton, FL wrote:

I have successfully grown this plant here in my zone 8b garden in North Florida for one season. I am planning to lift the bulbs and bring them inside for the winter in order to avoid exposing them to too much moisture while they are dormant.

I agree with the previous commenter that staking may be required.

Blooms last only 1 day, but are quite large and unusual. Mine bloomed almost daily for about a month in early summer.

I have mine growing in a pot at the foot of some larger potted plants in full sun on my back patio. It is a nice accent in this type of situation, with the larger plants providing it some support for its legginess. Be sure to place it where you can observe the blooms up close.

Positive JeanneTX On May 1, 2006, JeanneTX from Willis, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have enjoyed this flower so is planted in full sun and had been popping up all over my garden..beautiful foliage as's true..the bloom only lasts one day....Jeanne

Neutral suelfrancis On May 1, 2006, suelfrancis from San Antonio, TX wrote:

I planted bulbs of these plants approximately 6 weeks ago, at about 4 inches deep in containers. The bulbs have not produced any shoots as of yet. This is unusual for me with bulbs. Is this normal? How long do these usually take to produce sprouts?

Neutral GrnXnham On Oct 10, 2005, GrnXnham from Graham, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:

Planted in April. Bloomed in Sep-Oct. Beautiful flowers but only bloomed for a day.

Positive MN_Darren On Oct 7, 2005, MN_Darren from Saint Paul, MN wrote:

We have been growing these in Minnesota for many years. They are not hardy, but the bulbs are easily lifted by just yanking the whole plant by the leaves in October, then we clean them, snip off the stems, let them dry, and them place them in trays filled with peat moss for the winter, and store that in the basement in a cool, dark place. We always store them "ready to go" so that the tray just needs to be watered and fed in late winter to get them started. They have been increasing in numbers, and we haven't had to buy any since the first time we got them. Super easy... Just be sure to start watering the tray at the beginning of March. They take several months to show leaves above the soil, so it doesn't matter much if you don't have that tray in a bright location until April, when it's warm enough for us to use one of those mini-greenhouses heated with a 60w lightbulb outdoors. They seem to be really tough, and can even tolerate light frost. This is a beautiful, interesting tropical bulb that's easy to lift and overwinter, and it does really well in zone 4 summers.

Neutral spaceman_spiff On Aug 21, 2005, spaceman_spiff from Saint Petersburg, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I wonder if this plant will grow in Florida, or whether it's too moist here?


Positive fluffygrue On Aug 18, 2005, fluffygrue from Manchester
United Kingdom (Zone 8a) wrote:

Very stunning and easy to grow - I've largely ignored these and they've bloomed spectacularly. Would be interested to test their frost-hardiness.. The foliage is surprisingly nice, too. Doesn't need staking here.

On the downside, flowers do only last a day. :(

Positive htop On Feb 6, 2005, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have 3 areas in which I have these. In one area, they are in containers of them. I had purchased them as bulbs (no growth on them). I have no clue as to why they have not bloomed. Can anyone assist me with directions as to what I need to do to encourage bloom formation? I think I had read that they take 3 or 4 years to become bloom producing size. thought that maybe they are not receiving enough sunlight. They have been cold hardy here with the lowest temperature in the past 3 years being about 25 degrees or so.

Planting from seed:
They will germinate at 55-65F. Surface sow because the seeds require light for germination. Surface sow the seeds on top of sterilized sandy soil and then sprinkled sparingly with coarse gravel. The seeds shoud be refrigerated until it is time to plant them to keep the seeds fresh. In most regions it is best to lift the bulbs in the autumn and store them in dry sand in a cool basement until spring. Replant when all danger of frost has passed. In warmer locals, heavily mulch. Bulbs should be planted 4 inches deep.

Positive Lophophora On Jun 24, 2002, Lophophora from Tokyo
Japan wrote:

Actually much hardier than thought. Mine have survived to -4 degrees C. with 2-4 cm. frost heaving with no adverse effects. I once saw this species blooming wild in the Chiapas highlands - and boy! was it cold that morning!! IMHO it's autumn and winter moisture that kills this plant in northern climes - not temperature.

Neutral Azalea On Jun 23, 2002, Azalea from Jonesboro, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Very pretty 2-3" blossoms, but they only last one day. They come in many different colors and are not cold hardy north of zone 7 so corms must be lifted in the fall. Plants have bloom spikes of about 18"-24". I was disappointed in that they probably should be staked. The straight sword like leaves are similar to gladiolus. Another name is Shell Flower - they are native to Mexico

Neutral kat7 On Jul 21, 2001, kat7 from Bloomingdale, NJ (Zone 6a) wrote:

exotic member of the iris family with sword-like foliage and stunning 4" blooms of red, pink, and white with chocolate speckled throat. Easily grown from seed and best planted for the summer in well drained soil, either in a sheltered position or permanently in a large container. Prefers full sun. Hardy only in frost free climates. Lift in autumn and store in dry,cool and frost free place. replant in spring.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Alameda, California
Canyon Country, California
Dixon, California
Eureka, California
Fremont, California
Huntington Beach, California
Inyokern, California
La Jolla, California
Marysville, California
Sacramento, California
San Francisco, California
San Jose, California
Sebastopol, California
Vista, California
Trenton, Florida
Jonesboro, Georgia
Mountain View, Hawaii
Olathe, Kansas
Topeka, Kansas
Lebanon, Maine
Mansfield, Massachusetts
Melrose, Massachusetts
Owosso, Michigan
Lincoln, Nebraska
Waverly, Nebraska
Brigantine, New Jersey
Yonkers, New York
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Sanford, North Carolina
Madison, Ohio
New Milford, Pennsylvania
Fair Play, South Carolina
Greer, South Carolina
Moore, South Carolina
Cleveland, Tennessee (2 reports)
Knoxville, Tennessee
Mc Donald, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Fate, Texas
Houston, Texas
Marion, Texas
Mc Kinney, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Willis, Texas
Everett, Washington
Graham, Washington
Kalama, Washington
Lakewood, Washington
Port Townsend, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Vancouver, Washington
Walla Walla, Washington
Black Earth, Wisconsin
West Bend, Wisconsin

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