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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Recent Comments

Eremurus ‘White Beauty’: New For 2010

Posted by Graham Rice on 18 Feb 2010 at 06:55 PM

Eremurus 'White Beauty' Ruiter. Image ©, 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.


hydropiper said:

Eremurus are a quite difficult to grow, aren't they? Am I right in thinking they don't like crowding by other plants or heavy soils? That pretty much rules out anyone who gardens on London Clay (the whole of the South East). They scare me a little too because their roots look like large spiders. I believe slugs like to eat them too (although slugs like to eat most things). When I grew them, I just got the leaves coming up every year and no flower. Sad face.

By the way Graham, I did like your gushing gemstone analogy of spring flowers in March's Garden Mag p.186:

"Early flowers are like jewels scattered across black velvet - rubies and sapphires and diamonds; jasper, agate, garnet and amethyst".

Is that a quote from somewhere, or did you come up with that yourself?

on 23 Feb 2010 at 04:00 PM

Graham Rice said:

Well, hydropiper, you're right in thinking that eremurus are best given some space. It's because the roots radiate out quite shallowly from the crown. They're perhaps best placed at the back of the border where giving them the space they need is much less obvious when you look across at the border from the path or lawn. Heavy soil is not so much a problem - they thrive at Great Dixter - although in raw clay they'll suffer as so many plants do.

Glad you like the intro to my piece in this month's issue of The Garden; all my own work!

on 23 Feb 2010 at 06:41 PM

hydropiper said:

Thanks for the reply Graham and the tips on growing these beauties. I might, I would say squeeze, some in at the back of a border, but I'll make sure they get ample room.

on 23 Feb 2010 at 08:33 PM