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Foxtail Lily

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Tuesday, August 20, 2019 - 7:15am

Foxtail lily is one plant that can put on a show in late summer with its tall striking flower spikes for Mississippi gardens today on Southern Gardening. 

Foxtail lily produces outstanding flower spikes, many reaching four foot tall and taller.  The flowers actually resemble a bushy fox tail.  The colors include salmon pink, pastel yellows, and pale pinks.  The flowers on the spike begin to open at the bottom and progress upward to the tip of the spike.  This progression gives the illusion of movement. 

The foliage appears in the spring without the flowers.  It is clumpy with slender, intense green leaves.  The flowers emerge in midsummer and can last for several weeks.  The flowers are also excellent cut flowers able to stay fresh in the vase for a couple of weeks. 

Plant with a back drop of evergreens to show off the flower colors.  Groups of three to five are sufficient to create an intense planting. 

Foxtail lily doesn’t grow well at all in dry conditions; the soil needs to maintain a consistent moisture level.  Location is everything with foxtail lily.  Choose the planting spot carefully because this plant doesn’t like to be transplanted. 

Plant the tubers in early fall in well drained fertile soil, amend the soil if necessary.  Plant the tubers with the fleshy fingers pointing downward.  Carefully backfill until there is about two inches of soil covering the extremely fragile tubers.  In Mississippi foxtail lily is cold hardy except in those infrequent years having extreme cold temperature. 

Once established you will enjoy the flower spikes of this long lived perennial for many years.  I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.

Department: Coastal Research & Extension Center

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