Another fall bloomer

Tricyrtis hirta or Toad Lilly is an attractive clumping perennial.   It blooms from late summer – early fall in my garden.  I noticed the first buds forming this past weekend.  The common name really does this plant an injustice, because the star shaped flowers are quite pretty with their markings.  I wasn’t sure if mine was going to be okay this year because it has been getting more sun than in years past.  This summer was so hot & dry that the foliage was getting quite ratty looking.  It does prefer a rich humus soil that stays quite moist.  My bed gets morning sun with afternoon shade and is quite dry.  I will have to remember to give this plant a good dose of compost and some regular watering from here on out.  The flowers are white with splashes of purple on their petals which I think is a quite interesting contrast against the green foliage.  Now here are the facts on this early fall perennial:

  • Moderately easy to grow
  • Bloom September to October
  • Propogate by seed or division in spring
  • Hardy in zones 5-9 (must be protected in zone 5)
  • require moist humus soil
  • prefer partial-full shade

22 responses to this post.

  1. It is a very pretty flower. Almost exotic looking. It makes me think of an orchid bloom.

    That’s what it reminds me of too Cynthia. I love the exotic look of the bloom. Very easy to grow plant too. I have to admit I’ve neglected it this summer & it still is going to bloom. 🙂


  2. Hello! Nice new site! I always laugh when I hear the term “Toad Lily.”
    Who in the world gave that name to such a sweet little plant!

    Hi Linda! I’m glad you like the new digs. 🙂 It is such an inaccurate name to describe a lovely little flower. They say it is because of the speckled petals that this common name came about.


  3. PGL-Girl, we just got a tray of these in day before yesterday and I sold 6 to a little lady. I love their little blooms but have never grown it. I hope yours do well for you.

    You should definitely get you some of these Susie. They are very easy to grow in a part shade-full shade area. Mine get morning sunlight. If they put these in the throwaway plants I would say grab them. 🙂


  4. I’m always looking for something that blooms late in the season.

    Me too Donna. It’s nice to be able to extend the blooming season.


  5. Posted by fairegarden on September 11, 2008 at 9:14 am

    Hi PGL, I was considering this until you wrote the words “soil that stays quite moist”. We always need more fall bloomers and this is for sale in some local nurseries now. The flowers are unique and complex, the name is offputting, the question is why haven’t the namers of things come up with a better moniker? Thanks for showcasing this, even though we cannot grow it, others can, those rain drenched souls.
    Frances at Fairegarden

    You should still consider it Frances, because my soil is quite dry where it is planted and it still is going to bloom this year. I am going to supplement that bed with more compost which seems to retain the moisture better. It is an extremely easy plant to grow.


  6. I forgot when this bloomed. With our dry, dry summer I am afraid mine perished. I hope it will come back next year. The blooms really are quite attractive.

    That is a shame Cindy. I hope it returns next year. I’ve had mine forever it seems & it loyally returns each season.


  7. Great, great flower. In fact, I am deciding between it and a few others for September’s plant of the month. I think this one!

    Frances, You should be able to grow this. It is not picky and does well in dry soil. Do buy you some as you will not regret it!

    I think this would be a great September plant of the month Tina. I really love the exotic little blooms especially at a time of the year when most things are tired & fading. Thanks for encouraging Frances to give it a try. It is actually a very forgiving & easy plant to grow.


  8. I love your blog. I am a newbie. I am a bad gardener in the sense that I don’t like to piddle in the yard. I want my yard to look a certain way and put in the ward, and when I am doing it, it feels good but still feels like work. I only plant perennials.

    I added you to my blog roll. Maybe I will learn something love it more:)

    Thanks Adventure Girl for adding me to your blogroll and visiting today! I’m glad you are enjoying my blog. Well I don’t know what to tell you about your gardening style, lol I do like to piddle & it doesn’t seem like work to me. I’m obsessed with it I’m afraid. 🙂 I love perennials too, but next year I’ve decided to add more annuals to extend the blooming season & to attract more beneficial insects.


  9. This is a very pretty flower, perhaps named for the color pattern on the petals? It looks very tropical. 🙂

    That’s where the common name came from Nancy, the speckled petals. It does have a tropical or exotic look to it.


  10. That is a great flower. The colors are interesting too.

    Thanks DP, I’m glad you liked the Toadlilly. It does have a very pretty coloring. 🙂


  11. D’oh! Zone 5!!!

    Sorry HG, you’re zone 4 right? You could treat them as a tender perennial or annual. Or maybe like you would with cannas & dig them up.


  12. I have fallen in love with these unusual looking flowers and have them on my wish list! Besides being great eye candy, their bloom time is perfect. Just getting going when most are winding down.

    They are a great addition to the garden Beckie. With their late season blooming it extends the season which is a plus in my books too. 🙂


  13. I wonder where I can purchase some of these?

    Most mail order catalogs are great sources to find this perennial. I think I got mine through Dutch Bulbs. Some garden centers carry them right now too.


  14. I’ll ahve to look for some of these. They would make a great addition to my shade garden. Thanks! Jean

    Glad I could add another plant to your wish list Jean. 🙂 They are definitely a great shade garden perennial. You are very welcome.


  15. That’s a real beauty!

    Thanks Cameron, I’m glad you enjoyed the bloom today.


  16. I agree with your experience that, although Toad Lilies may prefer moist soil, most do great in less than ideal conditions. My soil is so well-drained it makes a sucking sound when I water & even cracks when it dries out. I have grown Tricyrtis for years & lost only a ‘Hatatogisu.’ ‘Tojen’ is tough as nails, & ‘Gilt Edge’ manages to hold its own as well. I hope Frances will try them. I just love these plants.

    I have alot of plants in my garden MMD that are in less than ideal conditions that do very well. My soil is very similar to yours, I’ve found over the years adding compost & peat has made it easier to grow perennials that don’t like my native clay. You at least know the names, I lost the tag for this one years ago. 🙂 I hope Frances gives them a try too, their a great addition to the shade garden in fall.


  17. I agree that they look exotic and even orchid-like. I have seen these pictured on several other blogs lately (now yours) and it makes me want to try them again. I bought a single plant several years ago and it did not make it in the dry shade area where I planted it. Now I have several other sites in mind that might be better suited. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    You should definitely give them a second chance Kathleen. I hope the new locations work out better. They are a great addition to the fall garden. Your welcome. 🙂


  18. How funny that when you think of things looking “toad-like” you think of them being sort of ugly. Not this gorgeous bloom! Beautiful! (I think I may have the wrong address for you on my blogroll. Did you recently move? I just clicked over from I think Brambleberries In The Rain from your comment there, and thought: now where am I? Maybe it’s my menopausal memory lapses…)

    I think the speckled petals gave this plant it’s unworthy common name Brenda. My new address is Sorry about that, I did a posting at my old address with the new link a couple of days ago. I will come to your site & leave you a message with the new address.


  19. You moved and I followed! And your spotlight is my favorite TOADLILY!! Love the Toadlily!

    Thanks for following Carla! I’m glad you enjoyed my post today on the Toadlily. It is a wonderful perennial for the fall garden. 🙂


  20. Good luck with the new blog. I’m still not listed at blotanical but I’ve had to move blogs too many times to change again. I do know the frustrations with moving one so hugs to ya as you get your stuff set up.

    Your load of mulch looks yummy and the Toad Lily is kinda hard to grow–unless you got just the right condition. Yours looks healthy and pretty.

    Thanks Anna. Looks like Stuart fixed the problem, he listed it in the news section this morning. It was fairly painless moving since I was able to import all my posts over in a matter of 2 minutes. My blogroll on the other hand had to be done manually. Still trying to get everyone’s url over. I’ve been lucky with the Toadlily then, because it doesn’t get the the type of site it prefers and keeps on blooming year after year.


  21. My blog is still not feeding over at blotanical but I’ve no time to figure out what’s going on.

    I like your new blog format… have been considering changing over to wordpress for a while.

    That compost looks great in the previous post.

    The toad lily is a plant I’ve only heard of since blogging. I must remember to put this one on my ‘wish list’ to try out. I like that you and MMD verify its ability to do well in conditions not exactly recommended… that’s always encouraging. I have the humus soil… the test for me would be if it could do well in zone 9b… a little stretch from the hardiness zone.
    Have a great night!
    Meems @Hoe&Shovel

    Stuart figured out the problem Meems, it has something to do with the feedburner feed. If you get a change to new at the news tab it explains how to fix the problem. I just got tired of Blogger always having some problems & I am happy with the clean look of WordPress. It was a pretty painless transition all & all. Thanks about the compost, it’s some lovely stuff. You should give the Toadlily a try, I think it would love the extra moisture you get in your garden, just find a shady spot for it. It’s been pretty foolproof for me. Things aren’t always as picky as the tags state, that’s been my experience anyhow. I don’t baby things normally so they either survive or I move on to something else. Sounds harsh huh? 🙂


  22. I love the markings on the flower. Pretty!

    Thanks Kanak, it has a lovely exotic feel like some of your plants. 🙂


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