Blackberry Lily - Iris domestica
The Blackberry Lily, also known as the Leopard Lily or the Belamcanda chinensis, is a hardy perennial that is native to Japan, China, and Russia. Despite its name, it is biologically closer to the iris family than the lily family and has more recently been renamed the Iris Domestica. It is easy to care for and will bloom its first summer. Therefore provide visual interest in winter gardens as well.
The Blackberry Lily is primarily planted in zones 8-10, and can also survive in zone 4-5.
Keep in mind that by winter it will no longer be flowering, though it will still have the cluster of attractive black seeds that follow its flowers.
During summer, this plant can bloom over several weeks, though individual flowers generally only last about a day. The blooms close at night. The flowers blossom on tall, delicate stems with long, stiff leaves, and are bright orange or dark yellow color. Those petals are further decorated with red speckles, sometimes likened to freckles or leopard markings. The six long, oval-shaped petals that make up each flower are arranged in a flat, fan-like circle. Once the flower itself dies, it is replaced by the aforementioned black seed cluster, which can survive for months into winter and is attractive in its own right. A healthy specimen can reach about two to three feet in height.
The Blackberry Lily is shipped as bulbs.
This lovely flower enjoys growing in sunny areas with well-drained soil or clay. It should not be under-watered but is otherwise not a finicky plant to grow. Though it can survive into winter without any protection, the seedlings should be started in warmer pots or soil, and only transplanted outside once the risk of frost has passed. The flowers of the plant can be quickly dried or used in flower arrangements.
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