Narrow-leaved foxtail lily – info, planting, care and tips

Narrow-leaved foxtail lily (Eremurus stenophyllus)
Narrow-leaved foxtail lily (Eremurus stenophyllus)

Like a colorful torch, the narrow-leaved foxtail lily arises in the sunny border. These tips will help make it thrive in your garden too.

Profile of narrow-leaved foxtail lily:

Scientific name: Eremurus stenophyllus

Plant family: asphodel family (Asphodelaceae); subfamily Asphodeloideae

Other names: –

Sowing time: spring

Planting time: August to October

Flowering period: May to July

Location: sunny

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

These information are for temperate climate!

Use in: flowerbeds, group planting, borders, flower garden, natural 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 narrow-leaved foxtail lily

Plant order, origin and occurrence of narrow-leaved foxtail lily

The narrow-leaved foxtail lily from the genus of foxtail lilies or desert candles (Eremurus) is found in nature at locations between Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The climate there is dry and hot, but winters are often freezing cold. It belongs to the asphodel family (Asphodelaceae), within the subfamily Asphodeloideae.

Characteristics of narrow-leaved foxtail lily


Among the foxtail lilies this narrow-leaved representative is the smallest: The flower stems are only between half a meter (20 in) and a meter (40 in) high. Typical are thick-fleshed rhizomes, which spread spider-like.


The deciduous, basal leaves are less than 1 cm (0.4 in) wide. They are linearly shaped, about 50 centimeters (20 in) long and have a triangular cross-section. Five to eight of them grow rigidly upwards and are arranged in a rosette.


The flower stem is up to one meter (40 in) high and one third of the stem is covered with yellow star-shaped flowers. These open from bottom to top from June, sometimes as early as the end of May. The delicate, often differently colored stamens stand out from the petals.


The brown-black seeds of the plant sit in a three-part capsule fruit.

Narrow-leaved foxtail lily – cultivation and care


Like all desert candles Eremurus stenophyllus loves sunny and warm places.


The soil for the narrow-leaved foxtail lily should be permeable, deep and rich in nutrients. Everything between fresh and dry is welcome in terms of water content.


The narrow-leaved foxtail lily is planted in the soil from the beginning of August to the beginning of October. It is not the winter cold but too much moisture or wetness that causes the rhizomes of Eremurus stenophyllus most trouble. Where the soil is not completely permeable, coarse material is worked in to a depth of 40 centimeters (16 in). The planting hole should be about 15 centimeters (6 in) deep. The rhizomes are then placed on a nutrient-rich, sandy layer, and the soil is then filled in above.


The narrow-leaved foxtail lily only needs to be watered during persistent drought.


In spring the plant should be fertilized with compost or horn shavings.


The best time to divide the rootstock is the end of summer. Divide the plant every 2-3 years and remove weak roots and shoots.


The propagation of Eremurus stenophyllus, especially of the varieties, takes place exclusively by parts of the rootstock. The species can also be propagated by seed. However, Eremurus stenophyllus grown from seed need at least five years before they flower for the first time.

Diseases and pests

Narrow-leaved foxtail lily are extremely robust against plant diseases and animal pests. Too much moisture in the soil can cause them problems.


The narrow-leaved foxtail lily is hardy down to -26 °C / -15 °F. The leaves, which often sprout early, are protected from late frost by covering them with fir branches. It is possible to cut back wilted inflorescences up to the upper stem leaves. The stems can also be left standing during the winter. They are richly covered with inflorescences and look correspondingly decorative.

Use in the garden

The narrow-leaved foxtail lily needs companions in the near-natural prairie or perennial bed, which also love dryness and a deep soil. Allium atropurpureum and Himalaya desert candles (Eremurus himalaicus) are suitable for this. Because the leaves are already drawn in during flowering, the partners should cover them.


From the crossing of Eremurus stenophyllus with Eremurus olgae the so-called Ruiter hybrids of the Dutch breeder of the same name have been cultivated: The varieties ‘Brutus’, ‘Obelisk’ and ‘Line Dance’ bloom white, in orange tones ‘Cleopatra’, ‘Flamengo’ and ‘Pinokkio’. Different shades of yellow bring ‘Foxtrot’, ‘Image’, ‘Moneymaker’ and ‘Waltz’ into the bed.

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