How does foxtail lily propagate/multiply?

(Question)

Hello fellow Gardeners,

I’ve been doing research about how to propagate foxtail lilies all over the internet but could not find any info. I just purchased 2 bulbs; one of them looks healthy with some roots, however the other one is a bit suspicious. The inside is rotten but there are some adjacent little protrusions that are kind of round? I was wondering if the main stem just died and bulblets are being created on the sides around the rotting centre or were they becoming roots but the stem already died so there wont any flowers from it? If anyone could let me know I’d really appreciate.

Thank you,
Tomasz

(Answer)

Hi Tomasz – I agree that your second bulb does look suspicious.  First of all Foxtail Lilies (Eremurus sp.) are not true bulbs but rather grow from a tuberous root.  Foxtail lilies are propagated by division or by seed.  The plant grows a new root every year, eventually creating a multi-stemmed clump which can be lifted and gently pulled apart.  Foxtail lilies will sometimes reseed when conditions are good but take many years to bloom when grown from seed. I’m including a link below to our response to an earlier question on Foxtail lilies to give you some additional information.

I too did some internet searching too to see if I could identify the round protrusions you pointed out on the bulb in question. They are not bulblets but could they be the start of new roots?  Maybe, but if so I think they are too immature to continue to develop once planted. In addition, there are very few of the healthier, tentacle type roots that you see in the other bulb.  If at all possible, I suggest you send your photo to the vendor you purchased the bulb from and request a replacement.  If that isn’t possible, you could plant the bulb in a pot to ensure it has optimum conditions. If you get some growth in your potted bulb, you can move it to your garden next fall. Note that it does take these plants awhile to establish so you may get only a limited amount of foliage the first year and no flowers on either plant.

Good luck with your Foxtail lilies.

How to successfully plant a foxtail lily in toronto

27/10/21