Eremurus, or foxtail lily, is one of the most dramatic of garden perennials. Tall slender spikes are lined with hundreds of starry flowers in white, pink, yellow and orange shades. But this is a case when it’s important to choose named plants, don’t raise plants from seed unless you don’t mind what colours you end up with.
Dutch hybridiser N. C. Ruiter raised many fine varieties derived from crosses between yellow E. stenophyllus and the rarely seen pink E. olgae. Selections have been made from these Ruiter Hybrids over many years but they often deteriorate in quality. It’s good advice to buy them when they’re first released.
So the time is right for ‘White Beauty’, a gorgeous new white form. At 4-5ft/1.2-1.5m in height, ‘White Beauty’ is a little more manageable in height than many and much more likely to be self supporting in most gardens. The buds open from the bottom up to create quite a spectacle and a clump of three or five plants really is impressive – especially set against the plain green background of a trimmed hedge.
‘White Beauty’ will also makes a fine cut flower – so order plenty of plants. Cut the spikes when the bottom third of the flowers have opened and keep them upright – if you lay them on the ground, as well as damaging the flowers the tips will tend to turn towards the light and you’ll lose that straightness in the spike. They take up a lot of water, so be prepared to keep topping up; they should last about two weeks.
You can order plants of Eremurus ‘White Beauty’ from the RHS Online Plant Shop, from de Jaeger and from Rose Cottage Nursery.