Flower Facts: Blackberry Lily

May 28, 2018

 

When not in bloom, blackberry lily looks like an iris, with beautiful foliage suitable for any garden. When in bloom, from a distance it looks more like a freesia. Blackberry lily thrives with plenty of sun, good drainage and little care. They aren't always long-lived, but their talent for self-seeding can keep them in a garden for decades. The seedpods that form after the plant has bloomed look the blackest, juiciest berries you ever saw, but they are only for not and not edible. In fact, the seeds are poisonous, so beware if you have pets and/or children.

 

Basics

Belamcanda chinensis

Height: 24 - 36"

Spread: 12 - 18"

Flower Color: bright yellow to orange

Blooms: early summer

Zones: 5 - 9

 

Planting

Seeding: Sow seeds directly outdoors in fall because a cold period is required for germination.

Planting Out: spring or fall

Spacing: 12 - 36"

 

 

Growing

Blackberry lily grows well in full sun or partial shade, in moist, well-drained soil of average fertility with plenty of organic matter mixed in. It can adapt to sandy soils and some clay soils, as long as lots of organic matter has been added. Plants grown in rich soil may need staking. Blackberry lily can be propagated by dividing the rhizomes in spring, or it can easily be grown from a seed.

 

Blackberry lilies last only a day, but during the blooming season, there are always more to replace them. Blooms of growing blackberry lilies close at night in a twisting form. Some U.S. gardeners don't yet know about the blackberry lily; however, Thomas Jefferson grew them as Monticello.

 

Recommended

Blackberry lily forms clumps of sword-shaped, green foliage arranged in fans like those of iris plants. It spreads slowly from thick rhizomes. Clusters of star-shaped, yellow to orange flowers with red or maroon spots rising above the foliage in early summer. The individual flowers last only one day but are produced in succession over a long period. In fall, the fruit splits open to reveal shine black berries.

 

 

Problems & Pests

Blackberry lily is most pest-free. It may suffer from crown rot in wet soils. The foliage may scorch if the soil is allowed to dry out too much.

 

Tips

Blackberry lily is used to provide a vertical element in mixed beds and borders.

Blackberry lily is actually no a lily at all, but a member of the iris family.

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