Foxtail Lilies Bloom with Dozens of Little Flowers

Foxtail lily flowers close-up with little buds.

A couple of much needed little summer getaways have put me a bit behind on my flower blooming blog posts. But thankfully I was able to still get photos of most of my favorite flowers. Now it’s time to play post catch up. So let the blooming continue….

Foxtail Lilies and Their Lanky Start

Early stage of a lanky foxtail stalk.
Foxtail Lily stalk in its early phase of development.

As I’ve written about foxtail lilies before (also known as desert candles), they get off to a rather lanky looking start. It’s a head-scratcher wondering what this strange thing may become?

These green stalks begin shooting up around mid-May. Seeing them in this early state of flower development you’d be hard-pressed to believe they evolve into such towering beauties!

As the photo to the left shows, in this early phase, they look more like an asparagus – imho.. But nature certainly prevails when one is patient.

All in good time these towering stalks will look nothing like their former lanky green selves. And trust me, it’s worth the wait!!

Shades of Orange, Peach, White and Yellow

Towering foxtail lilies - desert candles in Xeriscape garden.
A group of tall, blooming foxtail lily flowers.

Foxtail Lilly blooms are actually clusters of dozens of little flowers. Their stalks can grow upwards of 5 feet tall.  Coming in gorgeous shades of orange, peach, white and yellow the tall flower clusters are a feast for the eyes. You really need to see them up close to appreciate all the details of the little flowers.

They appear to be pretty drought tolerant as they seem to thrive in the xeriscape gardens where I photograph them. And when you seem them as in the photo to the right, they really do look like foxtails!

However, I will say, given our dry spring this year, they were not as hardy looking as in seasons past. In some areas of the gardens they did not seem to get as tall and the blooms were more short lived.

Browning yellow foxtails.
Yellow foxtails beginning to brown from the bottom up.

Usually I have a decent time span to photograph them as they seem to peak in their blooming phase right around mid-June. However, this season that window of time was definitely shortened. My travels may have also hampered some of the best days to photograph them in their prime.

There is one area in the gardens that has many of the shades of yellow foxtails. But they did not “rise” in the manner that they usually do.

As you can see in the photo to the left, the flowers brown from the bottom up. That definitely occurred quicker this year.

But as always, I’m grateful for whatever Nature is able to provide for my visual delight and my camera.

Close-up Foxtails and Unusual Views

Peach colored foxtail lily with buds close-up.
Close-up of foxtail flowers and little buds. Can you see the little spider in the photo?

I do love to capture close-ups of the foxtails. However, given their height it can be tricky if there is any wind. A tall swaying cluster of flowers makes for photo op challenges for sure.

But if I’m lucky and the morning wind dies down, I’m able to capture the unusual views of looking down onto these flowers. It’s such a unique perspective and hard to believe it’s the same flowers when you see them from the side. 

Looking down onto foxtail lily plant.
An unusual photo view – looking down on to the flowers.

Foxtails with their desert candle alias really have been such an incredible discovery. I recently even turned a friend on to them who has a garden in which they would thrive!! She, like me did not even know they existed!!

Bring on the Bees!

What can I say, bees LOVE these little foxtail lily flowers!! Once the little buds start to open, the bees belly up tot he bar!! There are the honey bees, and orange-belted little bumble bees which hover all over these little gems. Their pollen gathering is prolific!

Honey bee on little foxtail lily flowers
Honey bee on little foxtail lily flowers.
Honey be with orange pollen sacks by flowers.
Honey bee with bright orange pollen sacks by foxtail lilies.

It’s so cool to see the little orange pollen sacks on the bees as they stay focused on the job at hand. I can watch them for hours. There’s noting like Nature to keep you in the present moment and it really is a gift when I can capture a photo or two of them 🙂

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