Eremurus × isabellinus (Shelford Hybrids)

Common Name: foxtail lily 
Type: Bulb
Family: Asphodelaceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: White, pink, red, yellow and orange
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy


Grow in organically rich, well-drained soils in full sun. Plant crowns 4-6" deep over a mound of soil, spreading the finger-like roots over the mound as one would plant a bare root rose. Space 1-2' apart. Soils must be well-drained or root rot may occur. Best in locations protected from strong winds. Winter mulch will help protect tuberous roots and help prevent damage to young foliage in spring from late frosts. In years where late frosts occur, additional steps should be taken to protect the young foliage (e.g., cover with waste basket or cardboard box). Foliage goes dormant in summer after bloom.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Eremurus × isabellinus is a cultivated, interspecific hybrid foxtail lily resulting from crossing E. stenophyllus and E. olgae. A dense, upright spike of small, yellow-orange flowers emerge from the center of the rosettes of strap-like, blue-green leaves in late spring. The foliage dies back after flowering.

Genus name comes from the Greek words eremia meaning desert and oura meaning a tail for the appearance of the flower spike.

Specific epithet means yellowish or tawny yellow.

The Shelford hybrid strain of foxtail lily features 2'x 2' clumps of strap-shaped leaves from which thick leafless stalks rise to 3-4' tall bearing erect, foxtail-like terminal racemes of tiny flowers in a variety of colors including white, pink, red, yellow and orange. Flowers appear in mid to late spring, blooming bottom to top on the racemes. The Shelford hybrid strain was developed by Sir Michael Foster of Great Shelford, Cambridge, England. Sometimes sold as Eremurus × shelford.


No serious insect or disease problems. Root rot may occur in poorly drained clay soils.


Border rears. Vertical Accents. Cut flowers.