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Eremurus (Foxtail Lily) Robustus

Eremurus (Foxtail Lily) Robustus

A great garden needs a varied cast of plants; the solid, reliable performers that change little but always offer something whatever the season, and the shooting stars that dominate for the briefest of moments before exiting stage right for another year. Into the latter category falls the foxtail lily Eremurus robustus, a herbaceous colossus.

A member of the lily family (Liliaceae), it comes from the semi-desert and dry grassland of the desolately beautiful Tien Shan and Pamir Mountain ranges of Central Asia. As a result it needs three key conditions: good drainage, full sun and, in order to induce flowering, a cold snap in winter. The root system of Eremurus robustus is fascinating in itself, consisting of the central growing point, the crown, which is encircled by fleshy, finger-thick tapering roots. The overall impression is of a cartoon of a very large starfish.

The plant grows away quickly in spring, forming a rosette of bluish-green strap-shaped leaves up to 4ft high, from which the flower spike -invariably one per crown - begins to rise during late April. By late May the spike will have risen as high as 9ft high, more typically 7ft or so, topped with densely packed buds that gradually relax into flower from the bottom upwards. Taken singly the flowers are quite small, the petals a pale almost peachy pink eventually bleaching to white, with contrasting orangey stamens and a yellow central boss. The overall effect is quite stunning, with hundreds of lightly scented flowers - much loved by honey bees - arrayed around the top 3ft of each spike.

It is the flower spike that gives the plant its common name of foxtail lily as it is usual for the spike to wander around rather than grow straight and true. The foxtail lily has a number of notable cousins, including the smaller, earlier flowering Eremurus Bungeii. Eremurus robustus only flowers for four weeks or so, but for that brief period it is every bit the leading player; the long wait between flowering only adds to the anticipation. We ship Top Size bulbs!

Eremurus (Foxtail Lily) Robustus

A great garden needs a varied cast of plants; the solid, reliable performers that change little but always offer something whatever the season, and the shooting stars that dominate for the briefest of moments before exiting stage right for another year. Into the latter category falls the foxtail lily Eremurus robustus, a herbaceous colossus.

A member of the lily family (Liliaceae), it comes from the semi-desert and dry grassland of the desolately beautiful Tien Shan and Pamir Mountain ranges of Central Asia. As a result it needs three key conditions: good drainage, full sun and, in order to induce flowering, a cold snap in winter. The root system of Eremurus robustus is fascinating in itself, consisting of the central growing point, the crown, which is encircled by fleshy, finger-thick tapering roots. The overall impression is of a cartoon of a very large starfish.

The plant grows away quickly in spring, forming a rosette of bluish-green strap-shaped leaves up to 4ft high, from which the flower spike -invariably one per crown - begins to rise during late April. By late May the spike will have risen as high as 9ft high, more typically 7ft or so, topped with densely packed buds that gradually relax into flower from the bottom upwards. Taken singly the flowers are quite small, the petals a pale almost peachy pink eventually bleaching to white, with contrasting orangey stamens and a yellow central boss. The overall effect is quite stunning, with hundreds of lightly scented flowers - much loved by honey bees - arrayed around the top 3ft of each spike.

It is the flower spike that gives the plant its common name of foxtail lily as it is usual for the spike to wander around rather than grow straight and true. The foxtail lily has a number of notable cousins, including the smaller, earlier flowering Eremurus Bungeii. Eremurus robustus only flowers for four weeks or so, but for that brief period it is every bit the leading player; the long wait between flowering only adds to the anticipation. We ship Top Size bulbs!

Quick Facts:

Please Note: Eremurus bulbs start shipping in October

Shipping Info:

Sold out for 2016

Detail

Additional Information

Flower Color Pink
Common Name Eremurus
Botanical Name Eremurus (Foxtail Lily) Robustus
Light Requirements Partial shade / Full sun
Bloom Time Late Spring to Early Summer
Estimated Mature Height 6 - 9 feet tall
Optimal planting spread 30-40" wide
Planting Season Autumn
Planting Depth 5-8 Inches deep
Soil Moisture Average
Description

Details

Given its provenance it should come as no surprise that Eremurus robustus needs well-drained - but not dry - soil. To help achieve this lay the crown and fleshy roots over a 1in- to 2in-deep layer of horticultural grit or sharp sand. When planted the crown should show above the surface of the soil and should never be mulched over, although the roots will benefit from the protection of mulch that stays fairly dry, such as shingle or bark. The early growth is prone to frost damage and, although established plants will grow away without difficulty after a frost it is usually at the expense of great size. That said, the foxtail lily is a pretty tough plant and, while it will benefit from a sheltered site, it is not essential. If the foxtail lily is happy it will produce seedlings at a healthy rate. At Hyde Hall, six Eremurus robustus planted in the late 1960s have multiplied to almost 600, and that doesn't include the many that have been given away. To enable the plant to self-seed leave the flower spike standing into autumn so that the seeds can ripen and drop. Seed can also be sown in a cold frame or cool greenhouse in autumn. After flowering the plant can be divided by carefully finding the root system and gently teasing the plant free of the surrounding soil.
How-To-Guides

Eremurus Robustus (Foxtail Lily)

Eremurus is a very large genus, originating from the middle East and Central Asia. Also known as the Foxtail Lily, Eremurus Robustus bulbs have rhizomatous or fleshy roots radiating from compact crowns. Eremurus bulbs flower towards the end of the growing period in the early summer, just as their leaves begin to die back.

Plant Foxtal Lily bulbs in the fall in fertile, well-drained (but not dry), gritty or sandy soil with their crowns just below soil level. When planted, it is important that the crown still remains sticking out above the surface of the soil

In areas with cold, wet winters but no snow cover, protect with mulch.

Eremurus do best with alkaline soils and an open, sunny location. In windy areas, it may be necessary to support their tall-stemmed flowers. 

Shipping Info

WHEN WILL THIS ITEM SHIP?

Eremurus bulbs are shipped from October through December.

 
Orders placed before Sept 15:
Expect your order to arrive mid October at your location.
Orders placed Oct 1 to Dec 15:
Orders are shipped the same week that they are placed.
 

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