Family: Asphodelaceae
Common Name: Desert Candle, Foxtail Lily

These splendid perennials from western and central Asia make a striking garden feature. The tall, straight stems rise from rosettes of strap-like leaves and each is crowned with a single flower spike comprising as many as 100 tiny, star-like flowers. The plants die back to the crown after flowering. Some species grow as tall as 3 m (10 ft) and all have fleshy, brittle roots.


E. olgae, zone 6, grows to 1.5 m (5 ft) and produces sweetly fragrant, white flowers, tinged with pink.

E. robustus, foxtail lily, zone 6, has pale pink, summer flowers and grows to 3 m (10 ft).

E. spectabilis, zone 6, grows to 1.5 m (5 ft) and has pale yellow flowers flushed with orange.

E. stenophyllus, zone 5, grows to 1 m (3 ft), with narrow, linear leaves and yellow, summer flowers. Hybrids of this species and E. olgae have spectacular flowers, ranging from pure white through many shades of pink to orange-red.


These plants are quite frost-hardy and can resist the coldest winters, remaining dormant from late summer to early spring. Plant in autumn in a well-drained, sunny position, with protection from strong winds. Once planted they should not he disturbed for several years. Eremurus species can be grown from seed but may take up to three years to flower. Propagation is best by division, though this must be done very carefully as the roots break easily. If they do break when being lifted, clean the damaged roots and dust with sulphur before replanting 8-10 cm (4-5 in) deep.


Best in cool climates; plants need cold winters to flower.

Eremophila      Erica