New toad lilies have arrived


Several new toad lilies arrived in iffy condition, and this late in the season it will be spring before I know that all have survived. A note was attached from the Washington state mail order nursery that one was headed into dormancy, most likely due to recent extreme heat on the west coast, I suspect. A second arrived with weakly yellowing foliage, which dropped quickly a few days after planting.

I’ll be disappointed if these don’t grow in the spring, but the third was the one that I was most enthused about. It had a few blooms on it (Tricyrtis macrantha ssp. macranthopsis, below), though it’s so spindly I had to prop it up with twigs to take a photo. But, it’s healthy, and if it’s the only one of the three to survive I won’t be too upset. I really think all will be okay, but this is the hazard in shipping small, tender plants over several days across the country when they aren’t dormant .Yellow toad lily

I’ve likely written too much in recent weeks touting toad lilies, but nothing else in the garden in early autumn is so lovely. To my thinking the flowers are the equal in form and color to any hardy or tropical orchid, and since they are as sturdy as any plant in the garden I can’t imagine why toad lilies are not more commonly grown. The recent acquisitions are a bit out of the ordinary, so they lack the trade names of more common cultivars (Tricyrtis ‘Empress’, below), and it will  not be surprising if they are slightly less stunning than others in the garden.

Empress toad lily in mid October

Another less common toad lily (Tricyrtis formosana var. grandiflora ‘W-Ho-ping Toad’ BSWJ 6905, below) was delivered and planted while dormant this spring, and it has grown vigorously. While its it promises larger flowers, they are barely so, but today it has been in bloom for six weeks, with many more buds still to open if frost is delayed for another few weeks. Of course, I am overjoyed.

Toad lily

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Laurin Lindsey says:

    They are gorgeous! What a great addition.

  2. Diana says:

    I like toad lilies but I haven’t grown them since moving to New England. I don’t have a wet area and I don’t regularly water anything in my garden except my tomatoes. Maybe next year when I add a patio to my backyard I can create a spot near the patio for them so I’ll see them and remember to water them… The question is, are they worth the special treatment?

    1. Dave says:

      In my experience toad lilies do not require any special treatment. In fact, in this garden no plants get any special treatment at all. Other than maybe watering one time when I first plant, I haven’t watered anything in at least three or four years.

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