Foxtail Lily, Desert Candle
Imposing lily relatives from western and central Asia, grown for 3–9-ft.-tall spires of blooms. Bell-shaped, 1/4–1-in.-wide white, pink, or yellow flowers are massed closely in graceful, pointed spikes on the upper one-third to one-half of the stem. Plants bloom in late spring, early summer; need winter cold to bloom well. Rosettes of strap-shaped basal leaves appear in early spring, fade away after bloom in summer.
Magnificent in large borders against a background of dark green foliage, a wall, or a solid fence. Dramatic in arrangements; cut when lowest flowers on spike open.
Handle the thick, brittle roots carefully; they tend to rot when bruised or broken. Plant them in rich, fast-draining soil, setting crown just below the surface in mild-winter climates, 4–6 in. deep in colder ones. Space roots 2–4 ft. apart. When leaves die down, mark the spot; don’t disturb the roots. Don’t let the soil dry out completely during dormancy. Provide winter mulch in coldest areas.
Grows to 4–8 ft. tall, with white flowers. Leaves to 1 1/2 ft. long.
Probably best known in this group are the Shelford Hybrids, 4–5 ft. tall, with blossoms in mixed colors (white, yellow, pink, orange). ‘Cleopatra’ is a 3–6-ft.-tall, orange-and-red selection of the Ruiter Hybrids, a Dutch strain featuring bright, clear flower colors.
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