Eremurus robustus - Foxtail Lily

All of the foxtail lilies are a loners, and Eremurus robustus is no exception. They scream, leave me alone and are not the easiest plants to transplant. So why are these so popular. It could be the wonderful tall flower spikes that appear in spring to early summer and last for 4 - 5 weeks. Or maybe the fact that butterflies and bees love them. They also add height to the border, with flower spikes reaching nearly 3m. Flower colours range from white through to yellow and pink.

Grown for the tall flower spikes that rise above the foliage in mid summer. This is a foxtail lily that reaches a good height and planted in a group puts on a fantastic display of white flowers tinged with pink held on tall stems, yes they can get over 6ft (2m)

This is a clump forming deciduous plant that prefers a slightly alkaline soil. As mentioned this is a tall growing plant reaching a height of 3 - 9ft depending on soil conditions and position, so consider this when deciding where to position. Also remember that by the end of summer the basal foliage will have started to disappear.

Eremurus robustus Care

From central asia Eremurus robustus requires a warm sunny position in summer, and a cold winter to help it set its flower spike. Not to many problems or pests, new shoots may need protection from late frosts (try a little light mulch in early spring) and slugs. A well drained soil is essential and sun though to autumn is required.

You will need a sunny position for this tuberous perennial, dig the soil over well before planting, add some well rotted compost and remember they need space. Plant at about .5m spacing and 3 or 40 are a good start.

Remember, no shade, mulch well and well drained, especially during winter. They will form a clump and can be divided when dormant, be carful when digging so as not to break or disturb the roots if possible.

Growing the Foxtail Lily in containers

Yes they can be grown in containers as a single specimen however it is in the border where Eremurus robustus planted in group really struts its stuff.


Propagation is from seeds, best started in a cold frame in autumn, mature clumps can be divided, but take care as they can be a little 'tricky' to transplant, the root systems are prone to break.

Eremurus robustus is also grown for cut flowers for the long graceful flower stems, also known as the Desert Candle.

You may also be interested in :