Optimum Planting Time: September – November
Flowers: June - July
Height: 1.2m (47in)
Where to plant
Commonly known as the Foxtail lily because of its stunning long orange flowerplumes, Eremurus originates from dry grasslands and semi-desert conditions, so needs to be grown in very well-drained soil in full sun to flower well.
How to plant in the ground
1. With their long, radiating roots, Eremurus crowns look rather like starfish. When the crowns arrive, they may be brittle, so soak them in tepid water for a couple of hours to rehydrate them before planting.
2. Before planting, prepare the ground by digging in a good quality garden compost to improve drainage
3. Using a spade, dig a shallow hole around 15-20cm deep and wider than the tentacle-like roots.
4. On heavy soils, place a small mound of grit in the centre of the hole, then place the Eremurus crown on this mound so that the roots can drape naturally downwards and the centre of the crown sits just below the surface of the soil.
5. Put in a cane to mark the position of the crown – this can also act as a support later if the plant needs staking.
6. Cover the crown with soil, taking care not to damage the fragile roots, and water in.
7. Space crowns 30-90cm apart, depending on the final size and vigour of the plant.
How to plant in containers
1. Eremurus are not ideal for growing in containers, due to the size of the crowns. If you need to plant in a container, choose one large enough to fit the crown without damaging the roots, and heavy enough to avoid the tall flowerstem becoming top-heavy and overbalancing.
2. Part-fill the container with a 50/50 mix of compost and grit. Place the crown on the compost with its roots spread out, then cover with the compost/grit mix.
3. Water the container and place it in a sunny, sheltered spot.
1. Feed with a high potassium fertiliser such as sulphate of potash or tomato feed once a month in late spring and summer.
2. During the growing period, water regularly to ensure that the plants do not dry out when in leaf. Stop watering when the plant is dormant.
3. Protect early shoots from frost by covering them with fleece or cloches.
4. Tall Eremurus may require staking. Take care not to damage the roots when inserting the cane supports.
5. Once flowering has finished, cut the flower spike down at the base and wait for the foliage to die naturally before removing it.
6. Mature Eremurus clumps can be lifted and divided once the flowers and foliage have died back.
Pests and Diseases
Eremurus are generally disease-free, but the young shoots can be attacked by slugs and snails. Deterrents such as environmentally-friendly slug pellets or nematode biological control can help protect plants from these pests.