Tricyrtis maculata (also called Tricyrtis pilosa and Japanese Toad Lily)
Clump-forming, hardy, deciduous, rhizomatous perennial of the lily family, grown for orchid-like speckled flowers. Combines well with hardy ferns and other woodland plants, giving an exotic look. Good for colour late in the year, it flowers from early to late autumn.
Flowers from early to late autumn.
Habit - upright, clump-forming. H: 1m S: spreads gradually.
Stem - round, mid-green, hairy, straight.
Leaves - lanceolate, alternate, no petioles, deep vertical veining, lightly haired, mid-green.
Flowers - difficult to describe! I have borrowed this description from 'When Perennials Bloom: An Almanac for Planning and Planting' By Tomasz Aniko: 'The 2.5cm wide campanulate flowers have six tepals, whitish to purple white and spotted darker purple, the outer three with sack-like nectaries at the base. The tepals surround six large stamens and a pistil with branched stigma forming a conspicuous crown-line structure. The flowers are borne singly or two or three together'
Shade to light shade is preferred.
Moisture retentive, humus-rich.
Mulch with organic matter to keep the soil cool and retain moisture. Water during dry periods as dry soil will result in a poor flower display.
Prone to attack from slugs and snails. Aphids may carry viruses which result in dark blotching on the petals; there is no cure for this and infected plants should be dug up and burned.
From fresh seed - sow fresh seed and leave pots outside to stratify over winter. Nodal cuttings can be taken in spring.
Some types of Tricyrtis are invasive, so cut back and dig out the spreading clump as necessary.