Another Fall Bloomer

“Another Fall Bloomer”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


The toad lilies (Tricyrtis hirta x miazaka) have started blooming in earnest now.  Earlier in the summer, I had a few blooms which was unusual and surprising, but now these little plants have really started flowering.  Years ago, I had seen pictures of toad lilies in garden catalogs but didn’t think they would grow here in the deep coastal South since they are native to the Himalayas and the mountains of China and Japan.  One late summer day about six years ago, I saw some at a country nursery about 30 miles from my house and purchased one.  It was a small plant in a four inch pot, but it did thrive and bloom that fall.  This type of toad lily dies back in winter, but I didn’t know that at the time and was so disappointed thinking that my long awaited plant had died. 


The next spring it was back and grew even bigger.  When it bloomed in the fall, I collected the seeds and planted them the next spring.  Just about every one of those seeds germinated, and soon I had all the toad lilies I wanted and was able to give the rest away.  Now, I have them all over, and, at this time of year, they are needed as most other flowering plants are shutting down after a long growing season.



There will be flowers all along the stem of the plant.  If you look carefully, you can see the buds farther down the stem.  The flowers last a long time, and, as everyone always points out, make a great show at the edge of the border.


Toad lilies need moist, well drained soil and shade.  They do very well in the shade in fact.  I have some that get very little sun, at most an hour of direct sun, and bloom profusely, though they do best, in general, in partial shade.


These little orchid-like flowers are lovely additions to a shade garden, and if they thrive down here with all of our heat, I’m sure they will do fine anywhere.



  1. Krys said,

    October 5, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    I had one toad liliy start blooming in June this year and continue to do so until recently!!! Totally bizarre — they usually only bloom around now. And, even more bizarre, the toad lilies that didn’t bloom in June are not yet blooming and its October!? Something is messed up!


  2. valwebb said,

    October 5, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    A charming plant with an equally charming name. How large do they grow?

  3. Jan said,

    October 5, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Krys, I had some bloom in July, and I attributed it to the dry weather that was similar to what we usually get in October. Now, I have buds on some, and flowers on others. Usually they all bloom at the same time. You are right, something is messing up the plants bloom cycles.

    Valwebb, the toad lily pictured above gets about ten inches high with the stems about eighteen inches long. The flowers are about the size of a quarter. When the whole stem is in bloom, it is showy even though the individual flowers are small. I have another kind which has stems about two feet long, but the flowers bloom on terminal stalks and not on the whole stem. When the flowers open on that one, I’ll post photos.

  4. ashley said,

    October 5, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    Beautiful lily. Ten inches high?!?! Post some photos when it blooms.


  5. Jan said,

    October 6, 2008 at 4:48 am

    The flowers should open any day, Ashley, and I’ll post pics.

  6. Racquel said,

    October 6, 2008 at 6:43 am

    I love Toadlillies, they are one of my favorite fall bloomers. Mine are blooming like crazy right now. 🙂

  7. October 6, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    Thanks for this post, Jan – a friend gave me a start of toad lily earlier this year and it’s just starting to show little buds along the stem. I didn’t know what to expect and just hoped I’d sited it okay.

    The northern bloggers have been showing toad flowers for ages – I enjoy the photos but know these plants will act differently in the South so your words make me feel more confident… and now I won’t freak out if it goes dormant this winter!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  8. Jan said,

    October 6, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Racquel, I agree these are great for a fall garden. They are such pretty little flowers.

    Annie, I’m glad you found this useful. I have always thought toad lilies were great and was so pleased they did well for me. I know you will be pleased with these great plants and will probably want different ones before too long.

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