Are you looking for an interesting addition to your fall garden? Maybe something with a ’stop-you-in-your-tracks’ seedpod? Or perhaps what you really want is a tropical feel to your garden without the headaches of exotic (annual) plants? Or maybe you’re just looking for an easy-to-grow perennial that’s not going to be found in everyone else’s garden. Well, have I got a plant for you…
Blackberry Lily (Belamcanda chinensis) is all that, and more. This chinese native, hardy from zones 5 – 10, is terribly unassuming for weeks upon weeks. The quintessential wallflower. To tell you the truth, I completely forgot she was even in my garden this year. I got a few blackberry lily plants from a plant swap last fall, planted them in my perennial border and then simply forgot about them.
But, once she starts to flower, you’ll wonder how you ever forgot about her. To me, it seems like blackberry lily, aka leopard lily or freckle-face, is a garden chameleon, changing her look depending on the day. Don’t believe that this dainty, unassuming flower is capable of such a trick? Well, consider the evidence…
• Each flower looks like a mini daylily. And, just like a daylily, lasts only one day. But, contrary to its common name, blackberry lily is not related to a daylily.
• The sword-like foliage resembles the foliage of an iris. This is not too surprising since blackberry lily is actually a member of the iris family.
• The seed pods bear a striking resemblance to ripe blackberries. So much that you want to reach out and grab one to see if it’s soft and juicy. But don’t eat them, they are poisonous.
Here’s a slide show of blackberry lily in my garden this year. Look at the interesting way the spent flowers twirl tightly into themselves.
If you’re considering adding blackberry lily to your garden, keep in mind she prefers a location in full to part sun with fertile soil. Surround blackberry lily with earlier flowering companions, such as asclepias, baptisia and coreopsis, who will take center stage until she’s ready to flower. And then stand back and enjoy the show!