Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Toad Lily

We have two types of toad lily (Tricyrtis).  Both are growing in pots on the covered patio, where I can more easily keep them shaded and watered.

My favorite of the two has variegated foliage and may be 'Autumn Glow'.  (It wasn't clearly labeled, so that's just a guess.)  It blooms earlier, in summer.  Here's a photo of a flower (and buds) from June:

Toad Lily Bloom

And here's a photo from March that shows the lovely variegation of the leaves...

Toad Lily Foliage

The second toad lily is solid green and not as much to look at until it blooms.  Its flowers come in late summer or early autumn.  It's blooming now, and I've been impressed by the number of flowers on just those few stems.

Toad Lily (Tricyrtis)

Each flower is very small (about the size of a quarter), but there's an amazing amount of detail packed into those tiny flowers!

Toad Lily (Tricyrtis)

I think they're gorgeous.

Toad Lily (Tricyrtis)

They look like itsy-bitsy orchids, but they're hardy enough to live outdoors year-round.  Give them humus-y soil, shade (in hot climates like ours, at least), and adequate water-- maybe a little fertilizer when you think about it-- and they're happy.

Toad Lily (Tricyrtis)

Toad Lily (Tricyrtis)

Unfortunately, most varieties of toad lily seem to be rather hard to come by.

They can be ordered online-- if you can find a source and are willing to make a gamble.  (In my brief search, I've seen enough negative reviews to make me a bit wary.  If you want a particular plant badly enough, it might be worth a try.  It may even be the only way you can get it!  They can be pricey, though, like so many plants...)

Apparently they're easy to grow from seed, but I have no idea how long it takes them to reach flowering size/age.  (It seems likely that some types-- the hybrids?-- can't be grown from seed.)

For now, I'll just be content to enjoy the two types already in our garden!

If you're interested in learning more about Tricyrtis, this article from Plant Delights Nursery, Inc. is a good place to start.