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Tricyrtis (try-SIR-tiss)

Common Name:  Toad lily

Light:  - Part shade to full shade

Soil:  Humus-rich, moist but well-drained

Moisture:  Slightly moist

Blooms:  Late summer and fall

Zones:  varies by type, generally 5 - 9


Tricyrtis 'Moonlight Treasure' PP#16037

Tricyrtis 'Taipei Silk' PPAF

Tricyrtis Description and Cultural Information

Tricyrtis formosana, Formosa toad lily. 2 - 4'. These toad lilies have shiny, dark green leaves and upright stems with flowers near the terminal. The fall blooms are usually mauve to lavender with lightl purple-brown spots. 'Alba' is white with purple spots. Zones 5 - 9.

Tricyrtis hirta, hairy toad lily. 2 - 3'. The hairy toad lily differs from formosana in that it is less upright, growing more in an arch, and has purple spotted, cream flowers that appear at each of the leaf axils. 'Miyazaki Hybrids' are similar but more compact. Tricyrtis 'Raspberry Mousse' PP#16257 is a virus infected selection of Tricyrtis hirta. Zones 4 - 8.

There are many hybrids and seed grown plants on the market, and these are just a few of the plants often found at nurseries and by mail.

Tricyrtis 'Empress' is a Tricyrtis formosana hybrid with much larger flowers than the species and many dark purple spots and dark purple mottling in the flower, however the mottling may be due to a virus. Zones 5 - 9.

Tricyrtis 'Gilt Edge' and 'Samauri' are very similar with gold margined foliage and purple flowers with a cream center. They are hardy in zones 6 to 9 but will survive in zone 5 when planted deeply and mulched over the winter.

Tricyrtis 'Moonlight Treasure' PP#16037 is a wonderful compact toad lily with deep green, lightly spotted foliage growing 8 to 10" high with many yellow flowers blooming at each leaf axil in late summer and fall. Zones 4 - 9.

Tricyrtis 'Seiryu', formerly sold as Tricyrtis 'Hatatogisa', has medium green foliage topped in the fall with lightly purple spotted, white flowers with amethyst colored tips. It is very vigorous and quite hardy. Zones (4) 5 - 9.

Tricyrtis 'Taipei Silk' PPAF is a very attractive toad lily with glossy green foliage topped with many branching sprays of reddish-purple spotted, white flowers with deep purple tips. Zones (5) 6 - 9.

Tricyrtis 'Tojen', 'Togen', or 'Togan' is a vigorous, tall growing plant with large, lavender tipped, white flowers. The flowers are not spotted like other toad lilies and they bloom only at the top of the stems, branching out from the tips. Zones (5) 6 - 9.

Tricyrtis 'Tricolor' is an exciting plant with pink, cream, and green, glossy foliage in the spring changing to green and cream as the season progresses. It has small, purple spotted flowers at the terminals. Plants look best in the spring and are best placed where they will not be noticed if they burn or go dormant late in the season. Give them lots of shade and plenty of moisture for best results. Zones 5 - 7.

How to Grow:  Plant toad lilies in humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil in part to full shade. In northern areas give plants a southern exposure to ensure they break dormancy early enough to bloom before frost. Plants grow from underground rhizomes that produce new shoots as they creep, forming a colony over time. When planting the new shoots it is best to bury them about 5 to 6" below the soil to help keep them cool and moist in summer and protect them over the winter. If needed you can divide plants in spring.

Landscape uses:  Toad lilies add an exotic feel to the garden in late summer, early fall, when not many other plants are blooming, especially in the shade. The blooms are best appreciated close up, so plant them along a path or make sure there is a diversion to lead you to them. Combine them with hostas, ferns, Actaea (cimicifuga), and Aconitum.

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