The foxtail lily or Eremurus lily is breathtaking in beauty and size.
A well-grown plant of Eremurus himalaicus will send up a flower spike 8′ to 10′ feet tall, while the plant itself is over 3′ feet wide.
But it takes space, lots of it, to grow the foxtail lilies.
A city gardener with a small amount of space never thought they had room for foxtail lilies.
However, you can enjoy them in all their loveliest colors.
There are smaller foxtail varieties which can be tucked into a fence corner or placed on the edge of the patio.
And, they can be set as close as two feet apart. They are especially effective against a wall, building or fence.
The Shelford hybrids come in a broader range of colors than do the species. Hybrids come in cream, primrose, gold, apricot, salmon, orange, bronze and several shades of pink.
They are late-blooming, in comparison to the species, which is an advantage in colder parts of the country as they aren’t so apt to be nipped by late frosts.
While the species bloom in May and June, the hybrids are at their best in early July.
Each spike is three to five feet tall and covered with hundreds of small star-shaped flowers which open successively from bottom to top.
The spike blooms for a month if the weather isn’t extremely hot.
If you like lilies with large spikes and flowers, check out the Giant Himalayan Lily (Cardiocrinum Giganteum)
Growing Foxtail Lily Bulbs
Foxtails must have full sun and planted in well-drained soil. They are heavy feeders.
Plant foxtails 6″ inches deep. If the soil is heavy, bed the roots on a cushion of sand, then cover them several inches deep with sand. This prevents water from standing around roots.
Once planted leave Eremurus alone, they resent being disturbed.
As the flower spike develops, several feedings of liquid manure, organic compost tea or liquid fertilizer are helpful.
Keep moist before and during flowering, then, after bloom is over, encourage the leaves to stay green as long as possible.
Cut the bloom stalk down after the flowers fade. When the leaves die naturally, withhold water and let the plants go dormant for the rest of the summer.
In cold climates, apply a mulch of straw, leaves or hay. Put the mulch on after freezing to prevent plants from sending their flower stalks up too soon in spring.