The attractive steppe candle (Eremurus robustus) from the Asphodelaceae family (Asphodelaceae) is one of the imposing, stately perennials that are a real eye-catcher in any home garden. With its large, candle-like flowers, which shine in soft white-pink or apricot-pink from June to July, the beautiful solitary plant forms a wonderful contrast to the other sun-loving flowering perennials. However, it is not only its exotic shape that fascinates, but also its remarkable growth height of 1.5 to 3 m, which presents a rich bloom of flowers every year and exudes a very pleasant fragrance during flowering. Whether in herbaceous borders or in front of a hedge – the steppe candle becomes more beautiful from year to year and develops a clump on which more and more flower stalks form.

possible uses

The giant steppe candle is wonderfully suited as a single plant, but also creates a dreamlike ensemble with climbing and shrub roses. In addition, it can be planted in small groups or combined with noble flowering partners such as the oriental poppy, the colorful peony or the tall bearded iris. Since the plant begins to draw in its leaves while it is in bloom, clever companion planting is advisable. The steppe candle can also be supplemented with hogweed, tall irises, oxwort and verbena, which make similar demands on the soil conditions.

Another pretty design variant is achieved with grasses, when the steppe candle rises majestically from a sea of ​​greyish, greenish or silver-blue carpets of fescue. The heron feather grass or the widespread atlas fescue, which only reveal their impressive stalks after the steppe candle has bloomed, is a perfect companion. With its remarkable stem and numerous individual flowers, the plant can also be used as a cut flower in a floor vase, for example together with delphiniums.

The origin

The aesthetic solitary plant, which has been cultivated since 1871, belongs to a plant genus that includes more than 45 species. These are mainly at home on the cold plateaus and in western Asia in Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. However, steppe candles are also widespread in Turkey, China and the Ukraine and grow as perennials in dry, sunny and sparsely vegetated subalpine regions or on grassy steppes. In western Tianshan and in the Pamir-Alai, the plants appear in rose bushes on fine-soiled and stony slopes at altitudes of 1600 – 3100 m.

The look

Eremurus robustus is a herbaceous perennial with a clump-like habit. It has grey-green foliage leaves and unbranched, long stalks with many flowers arranged in a large, candle-like inflorescence and rising from the perennial bed like small pointed towers. The attractive flowers are clustered and close together and begin to open from the bottom up. The three-part fruit contains black and brown seeds, which are also often winged.

The ideal location

The pretty ornamental plant prefers a sunny spot in the garden, which should preferably be in a dry location with just a little shade. If the perennial gets a rather windy location, you should get a support aid. Because with this immense growth height of the plant stems, twisting can only be prevented by tying the steppe plant to a stick. Fiberglass sticks such as those used for tomatoes are suitable for this, as is a robust and solid bamboo stick.

The optimal floor

Not every garden soil is ideal for the perennial because the giant steppe candle loves one in the first place:

  • loose, deep and well-drained soil
  • which is rich in nutrients
  • ideally sandy
  • and has a high pH, ​​which should be between 8 and 10

In the case of heavy, loamy, solid and clay soil, it is advisable to create a drainage system made of gravel or coarse sand, which has a depth of approx. 30 – 40 cm. Because steppe candles like neither waterlogging nor winter wet and also not too dry soil!

The care

The plant can be watered evenly throughout the summer from April onwards, but excessive moisture should generally be avoided. It is also advisable to supply steppe candles with long-term fertilizer or compost from spring onwards, as long as the leaves of the plant are developing. A nutrient fertilizer mixed with horn shavings is ideal. The fertilization is only stopped when the leaves begin to wither seasonally.


Since the perennial gets its nutrients for the coming growing season from the leaves and stem, you should remove the withered flower head immediately. To do this, you should cut back to the upper stem leaves.


The perennial plant is hardy and tolerates severe frost at temperatures down to – 18 degrees. But make sure that the garden soil is not too wet in winter. Therefore, protection against excessive moisture is already advisable in autumn. On the one hand, rotting of the root can be prevented and, on the other hand, the steppe candle is not susceptible to frost. This protection can consist of pine twigs, dry leaves, mulch or fleece that is spread around the plant. Since the otherwise quite undemanding perennial sometimes sprout as early as March or April, you should only remove the covering protection after the late frosts so that there is no danger to the newly developed leaves.

The propagation

Giant steppe candle can be propagated by sowing seeds in a sheltered, sunny spot or by dividing the rhizome (root). But beware! The tuber of the starfish-like root is slightly brittle and should be handled with care.

The procedure for this type of propagation is as follows:

  • Divide the onion from the end of August
  • Dig a 10 to 15 cm deep hole with a spade
  • which is 5 cm wider in diameter than the onion itself
  • and then lay them flat on the floor
  • with a layer that consists half of crushed stone and half of pure compost
  • cover at a distance of 60 cm up to 120 cm

Steppen candles can not only be divided for propagation, but also go wild and then drive out new daughter and brood bulbs themselves.

Tip: steppe candles are cold germs, so the onions should be exposed to frost once in a while.

Planting out young seedlings

Once the plants have grown in pots, they can be planted in the bed from spring to autumn all summer long. However, to ensure good drainage of rainwater and irrigation water when planting out the young steppe candle, especially during the winter months, a small mound of earth is a good idea, under which a drainage layer of gravel or sand is laid. Organic matter such as compost should be used during planting to enrich the soil with nutrients.

Tip: Mark the location of the young plants with a bamboo stick or similar to prevent possible damage during gardening.

diseases and pests

Are not known for this extraordinarily beautiful perennial. However, they can occasionally be attacked by snails. These annoying pests are quickly and efficiently destroyed with slug pellets, e.g. B. Ferramol von Neudorff and without chemicals with a snail fence, beer traps or by collecting the animals.

Other varieties and species

In addition to the giant steppe candle, the trade offers other varieties that can be planted in the garden together with the solitary plant, such as:

  • Steppenkerze Lilienschweif
    • from Central and West Africa
    • reaches a growth height of 100 cm
    • produce small, beautiful flowers that are bright yellow in August
    • likes not only sunny but also semi-shady locations
  • Steppenkerze – Eremurus x isabellinus
    • presents itself in warm shades of pink, yellow, orange, white and red
    • maximum growth height of up to 200 cm
  • Himalayas
    • found at altitudes of up to 3,600 m in the mountains of the same name with a white flower and a growth height of 100 to 250 cm
  • Buchara
    • blooms pale pink in June and reaches 80 to 100 cm
  • Kleopatra
    • with orange flowers and a height of 120 cm
  • Kaufmann
    • loves a location on gravel and fine-grained slopes
    • makes small white flowers in June and July
  • perfect
    • shines in a warm yellow at a height of 130 cm
  • Aitchison
    • shows beautiful pink flowers in May and grows from 150 cm to 200 cm
  • milk white
    • prefers rocky mountain slopes
    • sometimes develops milky-white flowers as early as April
    • small size of only 55 to 80 cm
  • Nursery
    • grows in the wild primarily in semi-deserts
    • grows from 75 to 200 cm high in the home garden
    • shows pale yellow flowers from June to July
  • Equestrian Hybrids
    • graceful growth
    • different shades like red, yellow, orange, pink and white
    • Growth height from 150 to 200 cm
    • flowers from May to June

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