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Cut Flower
of the Month


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Eremurus spp.

(AIR-ah-MUR-us or er-EM-u-RUS)



Foxtail lily, Desert candle, King’s spear



Eremuruses are tuberous-root plants that grow from 2 to 8 feet tall and spread about 3 feet wide. Their spikelike racemes have dense clusters of small, star-shaped flowers. They have long, straplike green leaves that grow in basal rosette-shaped clumps and die when the plants are in bloom, so foliage is rarely present with cut flowers.



The flowers are available in hues of yellow, white, pink, rose, orange, apricot and copper.



With proper care, Eremuruses can last from 10 to 14 days..



In general, Eremuruses are in good supply from March through August.


notable species

 Eremurus bungei (syn. E. stenophyllus) - This is one of the most commonly grown species for the cut-flower industry, and it is also one of the smallest of the Eremurus species; stem lengths range from 2 to 3 feet. Flowers are bright golden yellow.

 E. x isabellinus ‘Shelford’ and ‘Ruiter’ hybrids - These stems grow to about 4 feet tall. The colors include gorgeous hues of pink, salmon, yellow, apricot, orange and white. Certain cultivars display striking bicolor combinations.



REFRIGERATION Eremuruses can be held in floral refrigerators at 34 F to 38 F.


WATER Check the water level daily, and add warm flower-food solution as needed. Remove any damaged or dying florets. Recut the stems every two to three days to ensure effective water uptake.


ETHYLENE SENSITIVITY Eremuruses are sensitive to ethylene gas. Check with your supplier to make sure your flowers have been treated with an anti-ethylene agent at the grower level or during transportation. Signs of exposure to ethylene gas include shattering (florets falling) and premature color fading.


DISPLAY LOCATIONS Advise customers to display their flowers in cool locations, out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources.


HANDLE WITH CARE Take care not to break the elegant but brittle tips of the flowers.






fun facts

WHAT'S IN A NAME "Eremurus” is from the Greek words ““eremia” meaning “desert” and “oura” meaning “tall.”

FAMILY Eremuruses are members of the Liliaceae family. Common relatives include lilies, tulips, Fritillarias and lilies-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis).  

HOME SWEET HOME These hardy perennials are native to central and western Asia, particularly Afghanistan and Pakistan.  


of note
DESIGN TIPS Spikes flattened in shipping can be fluffed up by rolling the stems back and forth several times between the hands before hydrating.


quality checklist
BLOOMS Purchase Eremuruses when the lower one-third of florets on the spikes have opened and the upper buds are showing color. Watch for spikes that may be crushed or bruised. sfr  



Some information provided by::

The Chain of Life Network®,

Flowers and Plants Association,

Van Engelen Inc.,


Reach “Cut Flower of the Month” writer Steven W. Brown, AIFD, at or (415) 239-3140.


Photos courtesy of the Flower Council of Holland

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Super Floral Retailing  Copyright 2003
Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.