Blooming Allium in the Summer Sun

What’s blooming at Blumen? Blackberry Lilies!

Belamcanda Blackberry Lilies

Looking to add some perennial color to your garden?  During these peak-summer months, we will be celebrating the perennial garden by introducing you to some of our lesser known but equally beautiful blooming perennials.

Our Featured Perennial for this week is the Blackberry Lily (Belamcanda chinensis).

Belamcanda, or Blackberry Lily boasts colorful orange and red trumpet flowers. These flowers are smaller than your average Lily, but no less striking against their dense green foliage. Their petals are spotted, which sometimes lends them names like ‘leopard flower’ or ‘leopard lily’. The flowers last just a day, but during the bloom season there are always more to replace them. They will thrive in full sun and begin to flower by midsummer (right now!).

Belamcanda are actually part of the Iris family, and this is evident in their sword-like foliage which holds its color through the end of summer. These sturdy leaves will reach 1-3 feet tall. Once their flowers are finished blooming, they will be followed by a dry cluster of black fruits in autumn. This is where they get their common name from – Blackberry Lily. See below for more photos. 

It said that one of our most famous gardeners, Thomas Jefferson, grew them at Monticello. Here’s your chance to lend a presidential touch to your garden.

Planting & Growing

Blackberry Lily will fill in a space approximately 24” x 24”, with flower height reaching 36” at maturity. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 5 years. This plant should only be grown in full sunlight. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, and grows best in rich soils. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in both summer and winter to conserve soil moisture and protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates.

Companion plants

Since most of us like variety in the garden, we like to recommend flowers that go with Belamcanda. Try a grouping of dark maroon-colored Heuchara ‘Black Pearl’ in the foreground. This low grower will contrast wonderfully with the sworded leaves of the Lily. Sprinkle in some Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) here and there or on either side of the Lilies – we recommend the red/yellow blooms of ‘Strawberry Seduction’ or the red/white petals of ‘Laura’. See below for photos of these as well, or find them near the checkout in our Garden Center!

Belamcanda Blackberry Lily in its many seasonal phases, along with recommended companions:

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