Himalaya desert candles – planting, care and tips

Himalaya desert candles (Eremurus himalaicus)
Himalaya desert candles (Eremurus himalaicus) - by Sten Porse, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2179397

In vivid white, the blossom-candle of the Himalaya desert candles rises into the sky, like a lighthouse in the sunny shrub bed, well worth seeing.

Profile of Himalaya desert candles:

Scientific name: Eremurus himalaicus

Plant family: borage family (Boraginaceae)

Sowing time: late autumn

Planting time: September to October

Flowering period: May to June

Location: sunny

Soil quality: sandy to loamy, nutrient rich, humus rich

These information are for temperate climate!

Use in: flowerbeds, stand alone, group planting, borders, flower garden, prairie garden

Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 5 (-26 °C / -15 °F)

Bee and insect friendly: Yes

Plant characteristics and classification of Himalaya desert candles

Plant order, origin and occurrence

The Himalaya desert candles (Eremurus himalaicus) comes originally from the northwestern Himalayas and was the first representative of the desert candles in Europe and North America. In the mountains, it thrives, despite extreme climatic conditions, up to an altitude of 3,600 meters (11,800 ft).

Characteristics of Himalaya desert candles


Himalaya desert candles is a bulbous plant that forms flower stalks up to 2 meters (6 ft 8 in) high. You can literally watch the desert candle growing. Typical are fleshy roots with one or two knots.


The summer-green, basal leaves have short hairs on the edge and are sword-shaped. They become over half a meter (20 in) long. Often they die off during flowering. The tuft of leaves should be protected by a cover of brushwood, especially in late frost.


As early as the end of May, the Himalaya desert candles blooms on stems one to two meters (40 to 8ß in) high. The top 80 centimeters (32 in) are covered with white star-shaped flowers, on the outside they are striped brown. The single flowers open from the bottom up.


The brown-black seeds of Eremurus himalaicus sit in a three-part fruit.

Himalaya desert candles – cultivation and care


Like all Eremurus representatives, the plant loves sunny and warm locations in the bed.


Himalaya desert candles has certain requirements: The soil in the bed should be deep and well supplied with nutrients.


The period between the beginning of September and the beginning of October is ideal for planting a desert candle. Moisture or wetness in particular can quickly destroy the rhizomes. Therefore, you should loosen heavy and wet soils with coarse sand or gravel. In windy locations it may make sense to tie up the inflorescences.

Care / Watering / Fertilization

The fruit stands look attractive in winter, so they should not be cut until next spring.

The plant is extremely sensitive to waterlogging. Drought, on the other hand, does not bother it, everything between dry and fresh water balance is good.

At this point in time you can also give the plants some ripe compost as fertilizer.


Late summer is the appropriate time to split the rhizome. It should still be big enough, otherwise the next bloom will be poor.


The propagation takes place mainly by dividing the root stock. Wherever the location suits, the Himalaya desert candles seed itself. However, you have to wait a few years for the first bloom of the cold germinator, whose seeds are sown before winter.

Diseases and pests

Eremurus himalaicus is extremely robust. Most problems cause waterlogging and wet soil, especially in winter.


The flower is hardy down to -26 °C / -15 °F. It is best to cover the plant with fleece or fir branches before winter.

Use in the garden

The Himalaya desert candles comes into its own because of its distinctive growth as a solitaire. Nevertheless, it is also a team player who feels comfortable in the gravel or prairie garden among other perennials that love drought and sun. The plant sets beautiful accents, for example, with the spherical flowers of the ornamental Allium or other desert candles. The wilting, unsightly leaves can be made to “disappear” under grass clusters. Ground cover plants or catnip, woodland sage, wormwood or milkweed are also suitable for this. For the vase, cut the white flower candles as soon as the lower buds open.

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