Summer is such a splendid season for flowers that many a beautiful bloom can be overlooked among the flowering profusion – but not the Foxtail Lily or Eremurus! Towering above its lesser neighbours, Eremurus offer both sculptural splendour and colour that ranges from the intense to the delicate depending on the variety you choose.
Despite this, Foxtail lilies are often overlooked when gardeners plan their summer colour palette. After all, everybody knows about Dahlias and loves Lilies – even when they don’t know anything else about gardening. But although these popular plants should certainly be among your summer flowers, variety is the spice of life, and so is something that will make people stop and ask: “What is that?”
Easy Does it With Eremerus
You might well be wondering whether Foxtail Lilies are difficult to grow, but they’re really ideal for 'lazy' (or you could also say 'smart') gardeners who don’t have a lot of time to coddle their plants. There are no big mysteries or particularly special tricks you need to know, but we’ll go through the basics so that you can see just how easy it really is.
Not too soggy
Foxtail Lilies are also known as Desert Candles. They’re not really desert plants, but in nature, they grow in a relatively well-drained and exposed habitat: mountain slopes. You don’t have to go to great lengths to emulate this, but well-drained soil is a must. Composting does the trick!
A bit of foresight
If you only plan your summer flowers in spring, it’s time to rethink. A good gardener plans two seasons ahead, and sometimes even three. If you want magnificent spires of Eremurus to grace your garden, autumn is the tie to get started.
Tubers (of course)
It would be technically incorrect to call Eremurus 'bulbs', and when you get them, you might just find yourself marvelling at the idea that the rather ugly tubers will give rise to beautiful flowers.
Just a little care during planting
Eremurus tubers look like octopi with fleshy roots springing from a central crown. Handle them carefully so that you don’t break them during planting. Make a cone-shaped pedestal in each planting hole so that you can drape the “tentacles” downwards. If you’re still a little worried about drainage during winter, you can use a little sand or grit to help.
Ready, steady, grow
There isn’t really anything special you need to do to care for Foxtail Lilies, and as for the flower spikes, you certainly won’t be able to overlook them!
And a touch of aftercare
Decide whether you want the plant to put maximum energy into the roots or whether you want to collect seed. Seeds germinate easily, but it will take a few years before the young ones flower.
To boost nutrition to the roots, cut off the spent flower spikes. For the same reason, you will want to allow the leaves to feed the roots. Let them yellow fully before trimming back. There’s no need to lift the tubers, just mark the spot with a short stake so that you don’t harm them when you’re maintaining your garden beds.
Amazing Eremerus Varieties to Try
Striking golden yellow:
Regal apricot and gold: