Growing Foxtail Lily, The Stunning Flowers

Last Updated on August 9, 2022 by Real Men Sow

Foxtail lilies (Eremurus), are perennials that can withstand harsh conditions and produce stunning flower spikes in June and July. Each spike contains hundreds of star-shaped flowers, which are attractive to bees. Foxtail lilies bloom for approximately three weeks and provide valuable height at borders.

How To Grow Foxtail Lily

Plant foxtail lilies at the back of a sunny border in well-drained soil. Stake plants in windy areas and feed annually with a general purpose fertilizer. Cut back after flowering or leave to self-seed. Native to western and central Asia, foxtail lilies require a period of cold in winter, to encourage the best blooms.

Where To Plant Foxtail Lily

Foxtail lilies do best in full sun and well-drained soil, ideally sandy soil. The back of a border is perfect, as plants growing in front of them can hide unsightly foliage as the foxtail lilies start to die down after flowering. Though hardy, the young spring foliage is prone to frost damage. Avoid windy sites if growing taller species or cultivars. Give them plenty of space, however, as they don’t do well if crowded.

Eremurus originate from the dry grasslands and semi-desert of western and central Asia, therefore it can be difficult to mimic such growing conditions in the UK climate.

Foxtail Lily Root System and Root Damage

The fleshy, shallow root system resents disturbance and competition from other plants. Keep soil cultivation (e.g. hand weeding or digging) close to the plants to a minimum to prevent accidental root damage. Ideally, clear away any plants growing around them. They may cope with closer company of smaller bulbs or shallow-rooted annuals.

How To Plant Foxtail Lilies

Bare root crowns can be purchased in the spring and summer. It is important to plant as soon as you receive your purchase. You can soak the roots in water for at least two hours before planting if they appear dry. The roots should be handled as gently as possible. Add organic matter, such as garden compost, to prepare the site. To aid drainage, you can raise the soil’s level to make it lighter.

How Deep Should You Plant Foxtail Lily

A shallow planting hole should be 15-20cm (6-8in) deep and wider than the roots. Place the crown in the middle of a mound made of soil, sand, or coarse grit so that the soil’s surface is below it. The spacing of the crowns in clumps is between 30-90cm (3-3ft), depending on their size and cultivar vigor.

To avoid any accidental damage to the plant while it is dormant, mark the location of the plant using a cane. If necessary, this would be a good place to insert a stake. Potted plants may also be available in spring.

How To Care For Foxtail Lilies

Foxtail lilies require very little care if they are planted in the right spot. If they are more exposed, you can stake them in a protected spot. You can either deadhead the plants after they have faded or let them self-seed the garden. Removal of the crowns in the autumn is not necessary. However, it is important to avoid mulching them as this could cause them to rot. Use a general-purpose fertilizer for spring.

Can You Grow Foxtail Lilies In Windy Conditions

The plants might need to be staked in windy areas. In cooler climates, winter protection might also be necessary. It is recommended that plants are heavily mulched each fall with straw, leaves and grass clippings. However, this is important after planting.

Does Foxtail Lily Regrow

Although these plants may take some time to establish, once they do, they will be able to produce beautiful flowers and even reseed. However, plants grown from seeds take longer to produce flowers. They are not fond of being disturbed, but the foxtail-lily flower can be lifted or divided during the autumn planting season in case of overcrowding.

Pruning and Training Foxtail Lily

Taller plants may need to be staked, but it is important not to injure the delicate roots by inserting the stake/cane. If seeds are not required, the flower spike can easily be removed at the base after flowering. Wait for the foliage’s death before you remove it at the end of the season.

How To Propagate Foxtail Lilies

Foxtail lilies self-seed readily. For a natural look, you can either lift the seedlings and plant them in the desired location or leave them as they are. Avoid deadheading the seeds until autumn, and pick a dry day to collect them. To germinate the seed, place it in pots or trays and let them rest in a cool frame. After flowering, you can divide foxtail lilies but wait until the plants are established for several years.

Common Foxtail Lily Plant Problems 

Foxtail lilies are generally healthy, but it is possible for problems to occur. Young, newly planted Foxtail lilies may be susceptible to snails and slugs. Root rot can also be an issue if soil becomes too dry due to poor watering or overcrowding. 

Plant leaves can turn brown before they bloom due to this fungal disease. Plant problems can be alleviated by keeping them dry and ensuring adequate air circulation. Copper fungicides are also an option to help prevent problems.

Real Men Sow
Real Men Sow

Hello, I’m Pete and I’m currently based in the west of Scotland, in a small place called Rosneath, where I’m exploring my garden adventures. I personally started gardening around 6 years ago and initially, I started out by growing my favorite fruits and berries, such as strawberries, Raspberries & Gooseberries. Since then I’ve added a lot of vegetables and working closely with my neighbor, it’s been a lot of fun.