How can anything so wonderfully exotic grow in our gardens? You would expect to come across a flower as exotic as Tricyrtis formosana ‘Dark Beauty’ in the Costa Rican Rainforest or somewhere equally exotic and yet this orchid-like flower is both easy to grow and a reliable performer in our gardens throughout the UK. It will also be having a place of honour in the new perennial border being planned at Plant Enthusiast Towers.
Tricyrtis formosana ‘Dark Beauty’ prefers to be grown in a rich, well drained soil, in either partial dappled shade or even full shade. Given the choice it favours a slightly acidic soil. While it is regarded as being fully hardy in a very cold winter it will benefit from a mulch to protect its fleshy rhizomes.
After a few years Tricyrtis formosana ‘Dark Beauty’ will form a dense clump and naturalise in the garden through its creeping rhizomes, (underground stems) however it is by no means a thug or invasive. The flowers arrive tantalisingly late in the season (August/September) and add an exotic touch to any garden. It is best grown near to a path, so that you can have easy access to enjoy the flowers.
The Genus name Tricyrtis comes from the Greek word meaning three, and the Greek word kyrtos which means a swelling or bulging, referring to the swollen sac-like nectaries at the base of each of the three sepals (3 outer tepals) in the plant flower.
The specific epithet is is named after Formosa or Taiwan, as Tricyrtis formosana is a native of Taiwan favouring shaded areas of forests and even roadsides.
The common name comes from the spotty flower resembling the spotty skin of a toad.
The flowers are small and star-shaped. A member of the Lily family the flowers of Tricyrtis formosana ‘Dark Beauty’ resemble lilies. The flowers are born on branched clusters or comes, mainly at the ends of stems but they can also be found further down the plant.