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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Some Have Spots and Some Don't

There are a few perennials in the garden that cause me to wonder how my garden lived so long without them.

Belamcanda chinensis is one of those just-plain-fun plants that was passed along to me by a neighbor initially. Soon after, two other gardening friends increased my supply of these plants with divisions from their gardens. And I am forever grateful to all three friends!

Leopard lily is one of the common names associated with the variety that sports dark spots on its petals. They remind me of freckles. Cute, sun-kissed spots in summertime.

The ones without spots are equally appreciated. They have all the same characteristics except for the deep coral color and the silky smooth petals absent of any freckles.

Candy lily is also a common name for these lily-like flowers that are in actuality a member of the Iris family. I'm not positive about this but I think spotless varieties are considered Candy lily. Does anyone know for certain?

Its foliage reaches a full four feet tall in my garden towering over caladiums and agapanthus foliage. In winter it will shrink back a bit but never fully disappears. In spring it perks up quickly, multiplies, and tolerates dry spells. In summer it blooms continually.

The clusters of flowers seem to dance in thin air above the distinctly fanned out foliage. Mine are planted in partial sun with a second patch in very filtered light.

Opening mid-morning and lasting for only the length of a day, each flower twists its way into this unique formation as it fades. I adore every beautiful phase of this fun, summer perennial.
Perhaps the most common name associated with this great plant is Blackberry Lily. In Autumn, seed pods burst open to reveal glossy black seeds that resemble blackberries.

Surprisingly, you don't find these plants in Florida garden centers. They are propogated by division of rhizomes and by seed. Finding a passalong is your best opportunity for obtaining this summer perennial beauty for your Florida garden.


  1. They are such beautiful flowers and your photos are delightful. I received my first Leopard Lily/Blackberry Lily just last year as a pass-along and I've been over the moon with the blooms.

    Here in Oz, Belamcanda chinensis has been re-named Iris domestica, because, as you point out, it is indeed an Iris.

    The other plant without the spots is I think Pardancanda, which is commonly called Candy Lily. Both Pardancanda and Belamcanda, of course, belong to the Iridaceae family.

  2. Thanks for spreading the word on Blackberry Lilies. They are such a great perennial for Florida and have been in the same spot in our garden for 20 years. We use a tomato cage to keep them upright as mature plants can have many branches and fall over into and cover up all the coonties in the sunny bed where they are so happy. Sydney has been promoting them too. From a growers point of view, they are a hard sell in mid summer and unwieldy to produce and handle through the delivery process to the store. Great from seed and side shoots would be a good to share with friends and at pass-along events like Penny was hosting.

  3. I was also going to say Blackberry Lily...I have I started from seed last year and have buds on them now. I am curious to see what they look like. There is just something wholesome about the freckle faces.

  4. I really like blackberry lilies. I have a few in the garden. They haven't spread much in my garden. They were a pass along plant too.

  5. I love the Blackberry Lily/iris. I grew mine from seeds. I need to collect more seeds this fall so that I can plant some more. I love your pretty one without the spots, it is a wonderful color. Right now my leaves of the plant are on the yellow side, so I must need to feed them something.

    Thanks for this informative post and the great pictures.

    Happy Summer Gardening ~ FlowerLady

  6. All I can say is..............BEAUTIFUL! Thanks for sharing the lilies Meems. Can you imagine having a yard large enough so every time you fall in ♥ with a plant after seeing it's photo on a blog, you could plant one (or several)? my dreams.

  7. Mine are just now starting to bloom.I started mine from seed.I love 'em.

  8. Oh I wish I could get some of those!

    Candy lilies are hybrids between Belamcanda chinensis and Pardanthopsis dichotoma-first commercially bred and released by Parks.They look like Belamcanda but are slightly bigger and come in many colors.

  9. Gorgeous perennials, Meems. Leopard (lily) and its spots- how apropos. :-D

    Does the candy lily unfurl again the following day? Or does it just stay twisted until it falls off? Do you know that bacon was the first thing that popped into my mind when I saw the picture? I think it's time I stop my blog crawl and go have breakfast. LOL!

  10. Oh I love how that bloom twists itself up at the end of the day! Like it is wringing every drop of sunshine out of the day!

  11. What a gorgeous flower. I love them with or without freckles.

  12. Hi Meems, those are definitely beautiful flowers to have. If it grows in Florida, they might grow also here in our country. I will try asking my friends there to look for some seeds there and bring home here, haha! How i wish they stood open for at least 2 days!

  13. Love the spotted ones! The photo of the unfurled bloom is remarkable!

  14. Bernie,
    You confirm information I read online but wasn't sure enough to repeat. I've only had my passalongs for a couple of years and they are already multiplying nicely. You are going to love them for years to come.

    I recently staked mine individually as I now remember having to do last year, too. They are so tall and heavy that once they start blooming they begin to lean this way and that. It does make sense why they are difficult to produce and handle now that you explain it from a growers point of view. We'll just have to keep sharing the love with other gardeners by way of passalongs.

    Yours will be blooming any day. I like the freckles on the flowers but not the ones on my face. LOL

    Down here in the warmer climate they never completely disappear even in winter. Between the seeds dropping and the rhizomes spreading I think they like this environment for multiplying.

  15. FlowerLady,
    The unspotted one is a luscious color. I didn't collect the seeds last year but I might try that this year. I'm curious if you started them in a grow pot and then moved them?

    Siesta Sister,
    I know your dreams... we all have it I think. Which is part of the reason I'm losing my grass one foot at a time. :-)

    I'm impressed you started yours from seed. Aren't they a fun plant!

    Thank you for the information. I would think these would do well for you. I'd be happy to mail you some seeds if that's possible (not sure about the laws and such) once they turn to seed in the fall. Shoot me an email hoe and shovel garden at gmail dot com.

    Some plant names make perfect sense and others... well you know how it goes.

    Bacon? Hmmm... don't see the resemblance myself so I think you must've been ready for breakfast. It does not unfurl but dries up and falls off in its twisted state.

    Every bit of sunshine indeed. I do love that tiny twist of spent petals and can admire it for long moments... one of those remarkable characteristics of blackberry lily.

  16. Grace,
    Thank you. It has proven to be a great plant year round here. The foliage and the flower are much admired.

    Good idea to check with friends. You might even be able to grow a hedge of them. *grin*. Not to worry when a patch of them closes... another patch opens the next day and on it goes all summer long.

    I think the spotted ones are my favorite, too. Thank you.

  17. Mine have no spots but they sure do have lots of blooms! Love these plants and love that they multiply. I am just getting around to catching up on blog reading (and trying to get back to posting) after vacation with no internet service. So, I will be reading your back posts with another cup of coffee this morning. It will be a treat. Love seeing all your gorgeous pics.

  18. Lilies, they are just beautiful. I love 'em.

  19. Kay,
    Summer is a time for fun things other than blogs, too. Glad you are back. The Belamcanda chinensis is a fabulous Florida plant. It takes our crazy summer weather and our occasional winter freezes. That's the ticket for my garden and yours, too, I know. Anthing that blooms in this heat gets extra points!

    I agree. Thank you for your visit.

  20. I have Blackberry lily grown from seeds sent to me by Patsi at Garden Endeavors blog. The deer haven't found the blooms so far this year, so I have little time to enjoy them since I don't use repellents. I need to move them inside my fence!

    Hope you're having a great summer!

  21. Cameron,
    It would be a pity for the deer to find them before you get to fully enjoy these fun little flowers. Are you certain they are not deer resistant?

  22. meems,

    i can see why you love these with or without the spots. i love seeing how they furl up at the end of their blooming. beautiful captures as always.
    also i loved seeing your photos from texas. hope all is well.
    love and hugs,

  23. marmee,
    So nice of you to visit. :-) Blackberry lilies will grow for you, too. But they would be shorter lived I think. They are a happy summer plant. Love and hugs back. Meems


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