Lizard’s Tail Care – Learn About Growing Lizard’s Tail Plants

lizards-tail-plant
Image by John B

By Susan Patterson, Master Gardener

If you’re in need of a good, easy-care plant that enjoys plenty of moisture, then growing lizard’s tail swamp lily may be just what you desire. Keep reading for lizard’s tail information and care.

Lizard’s Tail Information

Lizard’s tail plants (Saururus cernuus), also known as lizard’s tail swamp lilies and Saururus lizard’s tail, are perennial plants that can grow up to 4 feet tall. They have a hairy stem with very few, if any, branches. Leaves are large and heart-shaped.

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Found in marshes, along the banks of ponds and streams, it is not uncommon to see some of the plant growing under water. This provides habitats for small aquatic invertebrates, which draw fish and other species. In addition, after the plant dies, it is decomposed by fungi and bacteria which provide food for aquatic invertebrates.

This interesting plant produces white aromatic flowers on top of the hairy stems opposite the top leaf. The flower structure is a spike with lots of small white flowers that form an arch. The seeds form a structure that looks similar to a wrinkled lizard’s tail. This water-loving species has an orange aroma and spreads by rhizomes to form colonies.

Growing Lizard’s Tail Swamp Lily

If you have a boggy area in your yard, a small pond, or even a shallow pool of water, that receives part shade, a lizard’s tail plant may be a great option. It is an herbaceous perennial that grows best in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 11.

Considered a good plant for beginner gardeners, Saururus lizard’s tail is not difficult to plant or care for.

Lizard’s Tail Care

This plant requires extremely little attention once planted. It spreads by rhizomes and can be divided by root propagation. No special care is needed to over winter this plant, and it is not susceptible to bugs or disease. As long as it receives plenty of water and partial sun, it will thrive.

Warning: Lizard’s tail can be toxic if eaten in large quantities by humans or animals. Avoid planting where animals forage.

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