Phoenix Perennials and Specialty Plants

From the E-Newsletter: September 2005

A Toadlily Extravaganza

Well, it's that time of year and I can't resist highlighting one of my favourite groups for the fall season: the toadlilies or Tricyrtis. Despite their not so complimentary name (apologies to any toad lovers out there) they are exquisite plants for shade and part shade gardens. They have lush green foliage that is often spotted or subtley variegated on elegantly arching stems from 1 to 4 feet tall. But what is most beguiling about the toadlilies are their incredibly detailed orchid or star-like flowers. The most common cultivars available are usually white with varying degrees of mauve, lavender and purple spots, though there are also yellow and blue flowers available. The other wonderful thing about toadies is that they bloom in late summer and fall when few other plants are available to add colour to the shade garden. In fact, many cultivars will bloom constantly until November when frost sends them into dormancy.

Tricyrtis are native to Korea, Japan and China and are part of the lily family, the Liliaceae. They are easy to care for and hardy to at least zone 6. They are best grown in evenly moist soil rich in organic matter and in light shade. They make wonderful companions to hostas, hellebores, brunneras, erythroniums and woodland lilies.

Here are some images of toadlilies currently in bloom at Phoenix.

Tricyrtis 'Dark Beauty'

Tricyrtis 'Empress'

Tricyrtis formosana

Tricyrtis hirta 'Tojen'

Tricyrtis hirta

'Raspberry Mousse'

Tricyrtis hybrid from Blue Haven Nursery

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