I notice that a toad lily (Tricyrtis) shaded beside the summerhouse has disappeared, finally after several years of decline as the area became more shaded. This is now a bit of a hidden spot, obscured on three sides, and another toad lily will not be planted. At the moment a grouping of small ferns seems ideal, though minds will change in the months before spring planting. This is an excellent excuse to add to the growing collection of ferns, and while I had long bypassed this toad lily with others more prominent and vigorous, an unusual fern will be a reason to again enjoy this spot.

I don’t recall the variety of the lost toad lily, but the loss is a reminder that I continue to be unsuccessful in growing any with yellow flowers. I will look to try again in spring. The formula for growing toad lilies is clear from handfuls of vigorous, nearly shrub-like clumps that provide flowers from late August until frost. Several hours of sun are ideal, while too much or little results in diminished growth or browned edges of foliage. For whatever reason, yellow flowered toad lilies have been shoehorned into spots doomed to failure. I must do better next time.

There seems little reason to invest in other toad lilies with shades of purple spotted blooms. The handfuls in the garden are splendid, but I see little difference between several. I am surprised that toad lilies are not more common in gardens, but there seems little interest in late summer and autumn flowers.

Following the season’s first frost, with temperatures falling into the mid-thirties, toad lilies show no damage, and hopefully colder temperatures will delay so remaining flower buds can open. Recent cold has discouraged bees that were a constant presence a few weeks ago, but I’m in no hurry for the garden to descend into its winter dormancy.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Linus Chen says:

    What yellow tricyrtis are you referring to? T. latifolia? Or T. macranthopsis?

    1. Dave says:

      I’ve tried and failed with both, but this is not a weakness of the plant but entirely due to a lack of attention. I avoid three and four inch pots if possible since I so often fail to monitor their moisture needs soon after planting. Transplants almost always survive since I time their digging to an incoming rain, but deliveries come at any time. I’ve started potting small plants into larger pots to get them off to a better start, so I’m confident that next go round with yellow toad lilies will be successful.

  2. Nora says:

    I love your toad Lillie’s!

  3. Bonnie C. says:

    I think the “little interest” has a lot to do with the extremely small stature of both the plants & the flowers, in addition to the fact that – at least around here – deer like them.

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