Surprisingly, blackberry lily (also known as leopard lily because of its spotted flowers) is not a lily at all. After research into its DNA sequencing, this plant was reclassified from Belamcanda chinensis to Iris domestica, despite the fact that its flowers look nothing like those of an iris. Instead, this plant features swordlike foliage combined with fiery-color flowers that resemble small lilies.
Blackberry lily showcases slender bloom stalks loaded with small but showy six-petal blossoms in shades of orange, speckled with red dots. Each flower lasts for only a day, but new flowers follow. By late summer, the pear-shape seed pods crack open and pull back to reveal clusters of shiny black seeds that look like blackberries (hence the common name).
Related: Best Orange Flowers for Your Garden
Blackberry Lily Care Must-Knows
For the best flower production and overall plant health, drought-resistant blackberry lily should be planted in full sun and consistently moist, well-drained soil. With its slowly creeping rhizomes that expand the clump, this plant is at a higher risk for rot in soils that remain soggy for extended periods of time.
Overall, blackberry lilies are low-maintenance plants with few pest or disease problems. Do watch out for the iris borer, a caterpillar that can eat enough rhizomes and wipe out a colony of plants. If you see a plant that appears to be declining, check for small entrance holes near its base. Dig up and destroy any plants exhibiting this trait.
The blackberry lily is a relatively short-lived perennial, so leave a few seeds on each year to encourage self-seeding. You can also divide blackberry lily clumps every few years to encourage vigorous new growth.
Blackberry Companion Plants
Blanket flowers are wonderfully cheerful, long-blooming plants for hot, sunny gardens. They produce single or double daisy flowers through most of the summer and well into fall. The light brick red ray flowers are tipped with yellow—the colors of Mexican blankets. Blanket flowers tolerate light frost and are seldom eaten by deer. Deadhead the flowers to keep them blooming consistently through the summer and into fall. Some species tend to be short-lived, especially if the soil is not well-drained.
There are hundreds of different spurges—and most are valued by gardeners because they're drought-resistant and almost always ignored by deer and rabbits. Spurges are surefire picks for adding color to the garden. Many also turn gorgeous colors in the fall, enlivening the fall garden.
Globe thistle is one of the most elegantly colored plants around. It has fantastical large blue balls of steel blue flowers in midsummer, which would be enough. But making it even more lovely are its large coarse, grayish-green leaves, which set off the flower beautifully. If you can bear to separate them from the foliage, globe thistle makes a great cut flower, lasting for weeks in the vase. It also dries well. It's bothered by few pests or diseases. If it likes its conditions, it will reseed fairly readily. If you want to prevent this, deadhead flowers shortly after they fade.