Eremurus

Common name: Foxtail lily

Eremurus asphodelaceae is a herbaceous hardy perennial from western and central Asia.

Its tall clump forming habit, make it a suitable subject for the back of the herbaceous border.

It can grow up to 2 metres high (7ft) tall meaning the plants may require staking.

The 600mm long spikes of small star or cup-shaped flowers appear from May to July.

Eremurus requires cold winters to flower well.

Although it is a drought and frost resistant plant, the soil should be covered with a layer of mulch in winter to prevent the roots from freezing.

This mulch should then be cleared away in spring to prevent the flower stems and emerging leaves from rotting.

In early spring when the basal growth appears they might need some protection from slugs and snails.

If during the growing season the plants lack vigour, give them a feed with a balanced liquid fertiliser.

Cultivation

Week 13: Sow purchased seed into trays of seed compost and germinate at a temperature of 15°C (60°F).

Germination should about 4-5 days.

Week 15: If large enough to handle prick out seedlings into 70mm (3") pots of potting compost and grow them on in a cold frame or nursery bed for two years.

Week 34: Collect seed and sow immediately into trays of seed compost and germinate at a temperature of 15°C (60°F).

Prick out plants into 70mm (3") pots and grow them on in a cold frame or nursery bed for two years.

Week 35: Once the spikes have finished flowering and you have collected all the seed you require, the flower stems can be cut down to the base of the plant to leave the foliage to die down naturally.

Week 36: Plant out in full sun, 600-900mm (2-3ft) apart, and 150mm (6") deep in a moisture retentive alkaline soil.

Plants not receiving enough sun will often fail to flower.

If planting in light soil add copious amounts of organic matter such as well-rotted farmyard manure prior to planting.

On heavy soils add coarse sand or grit to form a drainage layer in the base of the planting hole.

If practical plant out in a sheltered sunny spot that avoids the morning sun.

If buying in bare rooted plants spread the roots horizontally with the crown just below the surface so the bud is at soil level.

Week 38: If necessary, divide established overcrowded plants and replant them immediately.





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