Plant Blackberry Lily in the Flower Garden

The little orange spotted blooms of blackberry lily add a welcome splash of color to the flower garden.

I recently noticed this charming blackberry lily on a tour through the Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando, Florida. The cheery, spotted bloom caught my eye. This member of the iris family is native to Asia, but the blackberry lily would be a nice addition to any flower garden.

Blackberry Lily Iris domesticaJill Staake

What is a Blackberry Lily Plant?

Blackberry lily was originally considered a member of its own genus and given the botanical name Belamcanda chinensis. About a decade ago, though, researchers used DNA testing to determine that this plant is really a member of the Iris genus. It was renamed Iris domestica. The fan-shaped growth pattern of the leaves resembles those of other Iris species. The seed capsule opens to display numerous seeds, another Iris trait. These black seeds are grouped in a way that looks a bit like a blackberry—hence the common name. This plant is also sometimes called a “leopard lily” because of the spots, though that common name is also used for several other plants.

Blackberry Lily Iris domestica
Fan-shaped leaf growth

Planting Blackberry Lily Seeds

Blackberry lily is fairly easy to start from seed. If you sow seeds outdoors in fall, this perennial that will bloom in the following summer. You can also start the seeds indoors, but be sure to remove any fleshy coating (aril) from the seed to ensure germination. This step isn’t necessary if direct sowing seeds outdoors, as the elements will take care of that for you. You can also find blackberry lily plants online from some vendors.

Blackberry Lily Iris domestica

How to Grow Blackberry Lilies

Grow blackberry lily in zones 5 – 10. Give the plant lots of sun and fairly consistent moisture. Be sure the soil is well-drained or the plant may rot. Otherwise, this plant is fairly easy to care for. It spreads underground by rhizome and can be divided like other irises. It may also self-seed in the right conditions. The flowers and seed pods both work well in cut fresh or dried arrangements.

Blackberry Lily Iris domestica
This blackberry lily has spread by rhizome and could easily be divided into several plants.

Jill Staake
Jill lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes about gardening, butterflies, outdoor projects and birding. When she's not gardening, you'll find he reading, traveling and happily digging her toes into the sand on the beach.