Sun exposure:
Full sun
East facing, south facing, west facing
Position in border:


Well Drained / Light / Sandy

White or white-flowered asphodel (Asphodelus albus) is a European native plant widespread throughout Mediterranean regions, thriving on well-drained sites in sun and blooming in late spring and early summer. White asphodel is an excellent drought-tolerant plant to grow on banks, in gravel gardens, Mediterranean-style plantings, or well-drained sunny borders, to give early-season colour and architectural effect. The blooms are attractive to pollinating insects.

The flower spikes look attractive for months, both for their imposing shape and also because the many small white flowers, star-shaped and individually up to 4cm across, open in succession from bottom to top of the spike. Each petal is subtly marked with brown veining down the centre. Long stamens give each flower a ‘whiskered’ appearance, protruding beyond the petals and tipped with reddish-orange. Many blooms make up the flower spike which is borne on a sturdy leafless stem, usually single but sometimes branched, arising from arching clumps of long, slender, mid-green to grey-green leaves which are around 3cm wide and up to 60cm long. If the summer is favourable, rounded reddish or purplish fruits follow the flowers.

White asphodel must have a sunny site and well-drained soil that is low in fertility in order to thrive, as the fleshy roots are liable to rot in moisture-retentive soil. Once established, white asphodel is an easy-care plant that will regrow year after year and needs virtually no care apart from cutting back the dead growth once dormant. Propagate white asphodel from seed, or by division during late winter.

In Greek mythology, asphodel was associated with death and the underworld. In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, asphodel was an ingredient in a potion called the Draught of Living Death.

White asphodel is not related to bog asphodel (Narthecium ossifragum) which is a wetland plant native to Britain.

Plant calendar

Cut backyesyes

Asphodelus and wildlife

Asphodelus is known for attracting bees.

Is known to attract Bees
Is not known to attract Beneficial insects
Beneficial insects
Is not known to attract Birds
Is not known to attract Butterflies/​Moths
Is not known to attract Other pollinators
Other pollinators

Is Asphodelus poisonous?

Asphodelus causes an upset stomach and is harmful if ingested. Its roots are toxic.

Toxic to:
Is known to attract Cats
Is known to attract Dogs
Is known to attract Horses
Is known to attract Livestock
Is known to attract People
No reported toxicity to:
Is not known to attract Birds