Eremuri or foxtail lilies are wonderful star-shaped tuberous roots producing long, bushy flower heads on elegant, leafless stems from mid-summer onwards. Bringing height and architectural interest to the garden, these tall perennials will compliment a vast range of plants in the herbaceous border; try mixing with achilleas, erysimums or kniphofias. They also make excellent cut flowers.
Eremuri require a cold period in winter to start them into growth and although it is not easy to recreate their original habitat, the results are worth the effort.
Prior to planting, gently soak crowns for around two hours, taking care when handling their brittle roots. Plant in full sun in a humus rich, sandy, free-draining soil — if a little heavy, make sure to add grit to aid drainage as eremuri will fail to grow if the ground is too heavy. Dig a hole wider than the roots — around 20 cm deep — before building a mound of earth in the centre and placing your crown on top so it can sit just below the surface. Cover the whole root with soil and take care not to damage the tubers. Mark the position of planting and give them plenty of space — 40 to 60 cm — to avoid any damage to the roots whilst weeding. Feed every couple of weeks with high potash feed. If you garden organically liquid seaweed is ideal as it is organic and comes from a sustainable source. As the first signs of growth appear, protect from late frosts. Once flowering is finished, cut back the stem to just above ground level and leave any foliage to die back naturally. Large mature clumps should be divided with care so as not to damage the roots.
Please note that taller varieties will need careful staking, especially in windy locations.
Always unpack and plant on arrival.
Potential problems, pests and diseases:
Snails and slugs:these pests enjoy munching on young shoots, stems, leaves and flowers. Watch out for damage!
Poor flowering can be the result of:
Water-logging: to avoid this, plant your crowns in well drained soil.
Frost damage on new young growth: to prevent this, provide them with light mulch or use fleece.