Foxtail lily (Eremurus elwesii) are magnificent garden accents, commonly referred to as desert candles. Mixed beds and borders can benefit from the interest their tapered spikes of orange, yellow, pink, or white flowers can bring.
Instead of a single foxtail lily bulb, the foxtail lily plant has distinctive tuberous roots that set it apart from other lilies. In the sections below, you may learn more about foxtail lily planting and maintenance.
How To Plant Foxtail Lily
Foxtail lily flower planting often occurs in the fall (around September).
The extremely brittle tuberous roots should be planted approximately 4 inches (10 cm) deep, with a minimum of 2 to 3 feet (61-91 cm) between plants.
Make the planting hole larger for better outcomes, keeping the bud or crown facing upward.
Keep the crown a few inches (5 cm) below the soil’s surface, but thoroughly cover any residual tuberous roots.
Foxtail Lilies Environment
Foxtail lilies require full sun and well-drained soil. A warm, dryish site is ideal. As the plants increase, the crowns tend to grow out of the ground. When this happens, lift the plants after the leaves die back in summer.
Do this before early autumn. Carefully pull the crowns apart to keep each one’s roots intact, and replant.
Set the crowns just below the soil surface, surrounding them with coarse sand if your soil is not already light and sandy-textured.
Lay the fleshy roots, which radiate from the crown-like spokes on a wheel, horizontally around the crown before covering the plant with soil.
Care for Fox Lily
After they have been planted, foxtail lilies only need to be watered occasionally. The plants might need to be staked in windy locations. Additionally, winter protection could be required, particularly in colder areas.
Accordingly, it is typically advised to heavily mulch plants each fall with straw, leaves, grass clippings, or other suitable material. This is also significant after planting.
Sometimes it takes a bit for these plants to become established, but once they do, they will blossom and may even self-seed. However, those raised from seeds take a lot longer to bloom.
The fox lily blossom can be pulled and divided during the autumn planting season if there is overcrowding, even if they do not like disturbance.
Common Issues with Foxtail Lily Plants
In general, foxtail lilies have a few issues, but they occasionally arise like any other plant.
Young, newly planted foxtails may be affected by slugs and snails. Additionally, if the soil is allowed to become overly moist due to inadequate watering techniques or overcrowding, it may be vulnerable to root rot.
Plant leaves frequently turn brown with this fungus before blossoming. Keeping plants dry and ensuring sufficient airflow might help solve issues. Fungicides made of copper can also help in prevention.
Most Common Fox Lily Varieties
- The Shelford and Ruiter hybrids are especially recommended. Foxtail lilies, which sometimes take two years to bloom, can be a show-stopper in the garden for many years. Summer bulbs and bulblike plants, some of which must be dug up in the fall for overwintering, can add colorful splashes to the garden.
- Magic lily (Lycoris squamigera) is so named because its lilylike, pale, pink flowers magically pop out of the ground in August, long after the grasslike foliage has emerged and faded in spring.
- Calla lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica) bears flowers resembling a delicate, fluted champagne glass among arrow-shaped leaves. These rhizomes must be dug in fall to avoid winter freezing.
- Montbretia (Crocosmia x crocosmiflora), which produces tubular flowers from arching clusters, creates a spectacle in the border with its orange-red color.
- Cyclamen (Cyclamen neapolitanum) is winter-hardy cyclamen related to the florists’ cyclamen and a delightful shade garden feature in pink with silvery, ivy-shaped leaves.
* Blackberry lily (Belamcanda chinensis) bears loose clusters of three to 12 red-spotted, orange flowers. The resulting seedpods also resemble blackberries, and the dried pods work well in dried floral arrangements. The freckled-flowered plants reach 3 to 4 feet in height.
- Canna (Canna x hybrida) comes in variable heights, green or bronze foliage, and various dazzling colors. Be sure to dig them up in the fall. These plants go well in water gardens.
- Anemone (Anemone coronaria) produces single flowers that are great in the flower or vegetable border. Each bulb produces six to eight single flowers in one- to two-week intervals.
- Rain lily (Zephranthes Grandiflora) is so named because the plant blooms magically after every summer rain in beautiful, rose-colored flowers.
In the fall, bulbs must be dug up to prevent freezing. There are many more summer-flowering bulbs or their relatives, including lilies, lily-of-the-Nile, tuberous begonia, and dahlia.
Foxtail Lily, Fox Lily, Desert Lily
- Botanical Name: Eremurus sp.
- Description: More local gardeners are planting this tall, stately plant, which ranges from 2 to 5 feet tall. The cylindrical racemes of flowers are shown in catalogs in shades of pink, yellow, and white.
Yellow seems most common here, probably because the variety E. stenophyllus is hardy to Zone 4 while others require Zone 6 or, for adventurous gardeners, a sheltered microclimate.
There are 40 to 50 species, so choose carefully. Fall is the time to plant.
The bold vertical lines of Eremurus are stunning when planted in drifts.
The name comes from the Greek word ekemos (solitary) and oura (tall), and all the several dozen species originated in Asia.
- Challenges: Eremurus likes sites that are protected from the wind and have well-drained soil. Because it prefers sandy soil, some authorities suggest adding sand when planting in heavy clay.
The fleshy, tuberous roots that fan out from a central hub must be handled carefully when planted because they can easily break.
Foxtail lilies may be borderline hardy here, as they grow in early spring, so mulch well the first few years. Once established, eremurus don’t like to be moved.
Did you know?
Around this time of year, people begin thinking of dried arrangements to last through the winter months.
Experienced arrangers already have collected or dried treasure troves of materials, but there are plenty of pods, branches, grains, and grasses for beginners.
While it may be too late to gather some materials at the perfect time — as they mature — there are still hydrangeas to be cut in September or October and Chinese lanterns, chrysanthemums, and other fall bloomers to experiment with.