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How to Grow Belamcanda

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Belamcanda–commonly called blackberry lily– bears branched clusters of small yellow-orange flowers. Flowers appear above iris-like fans of sword-shaped leaves that grow from thick, fleshy rhizomes. The flowers are followed by showy clusters of shiny blackberry-like fruits, thus the common name blackberry lily.

Belamcanda is a member of the iris family. It is a perennial that grows from a rhizome. Grow Belamcanda in full sun in average to somewhat rich, well-drained, evenly moist soil. Plants grow well in sandy soil.

Belamcanda is a genus of 2 species of short-lived perennials native to coastal meadows an grassland in India, China, and Japan.

Belamcanda chinensis
Belamcanda chinensis

Get to know Belamcanda 

  • Plant type: Perennial with rhizome 
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 5 to 10 
  • Hardiness: Hardy to -10°F (-23°C)
  • Height and width: 18 to 24 inches (46-61cm) in leaf, 30 to 40 inches (76102cm) in bloom x 18 inches (467cm) 
  • Foliage: Iris-like flat fans of tall sword-shaped leaves on zigzagging fleshy rhizomes 
  • Flowers: Branched clusters of small 1.5-inch (3.8cm) orange or yellow-orange flowers that have six petals called tepals
  • Flower color: Yellow-orange
  • Fruits: Show clusters of shiny blackberries 
  • Bloom time: Midsummer; each flower lasts only a day, but new blossoms keep opening for weeks 
  • Uses: Plant in clumps in a border 
  • Common name: Blackberry lily 
  • Botanical name: Belamcanda 
  • Family name: Iridaceae 
  • Origin: China and Japan 

Where to plant Belamcanda 

  • Plant Belamcanda in half to full sun.  
  • Plant Belamcanda in well-drained, sandy soil. 
  • Belamcanda will not do well in areas with cool, moist summers or wet soil in winter.  

Belamcanda uses and companions

  • Plant Belamcanda in informal and cottage gardens, best against a dark background.
  • Garden companions include ornamental grasses, cushion spurge, blanket flowers, or globe thistles; Coreopsis, Cosmos, Nepeta faassenii, Sedum.

When to plant Belamcanda 

  • Set container-grown Belamcanda in the garden in spring or autumn.
  • Plant Belamcanda seeds in spring.  

Planting and spacing Belamcanda 

  • Plant Belamcanda rhizomes 1 inch (2.5cm) deep in porous soil.
  • Space plant 12 inches apart.

How to water and feed Belamcanda 

  • Keep Belamcanda average water. 
  • Feed Belamcanda with an all-purpose organic fertilizer in spring. 

How to care for Belamcanda 

  • Deadhead Belamcanda to keep blooms coming. 
  • Place a winter mulch over Belamcanda in cold winter regions.

Belamcanda pests and diseases 

  • Belamcanda is susceptible to iris borer and iris soft rot.  
  • Check Belamcanda for leaf damage in spring; remove and destroy all foliage and stems in fall.  

Belamcanda propagation 

  • Belamcanda self-sows and is short-lived. 
  • Renew Belamcanda by division in spring every two or three years.  

Belamcanda varieties to grow 

  • Belamcanda chinensis, blackberry lily, leopard flower, produces clumps of erect, sword-shaped 2-foot (.6m) tall leaves topped in summer by branched stems of flowers that reach 2 to 4 feet (.6-1.2m). Flowers are 1-2 inches (2.5-5.1cm) wide and are bright orange or yellow with maroon spots. Beige seed capsules follow the flowers and open to reveal clusters of large shiny black seeds; best in Zones 5 to 9.  
  • ‘Freckle Face’ is a short version with pale orange blossoms.  
  • ‘Hello Yellow’ is unspotted.  
  • X Pardncanda norrisii, candy lily, is 2-3 feet (.6-.9m) tall with violet, cream, orange-red, salmon, or yellow blooms.  

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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