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Lycoris for the Surprise Garden

Updated: Oct 26, 2018

by Carl White, Master Gardener

Almost as effortless as the Daffodil, the Lycoris bulb family is a sure success for the gardener. Now is the time to order bulbs for Fall planting and for beautiful blooming next summer. Lycoris bulbs will surprise the gardener in that they are somewhat unpredictable in their blooming. One day is a blank space, the next is a flower stalk that surprisingly appears.

The more common, Lycoris radiata, is the Spider Lily which blooms in late August to September. The common bulbs that we see are the Lycoris radiata and the Lycoris squamigera.

Spider Lilies come in various colors, the brilliant red the most common. The bulbs emerge as a single stalk, branch into multiple blooms, and prolifically blossom for several days, then go away. In a month or so, foliage will emerge and remain into the winter.

The L. squamigera, Resurrection Lily or sometimes called “Naked Ladies”, a name shared with Amaryllis belladonna, is completely opposite. In Spring, the foliage appears with large dark green leaves which remain for about 2 months, and suddenly fades and decays on the garden soil. This is important, as this decomposition is supplying the bulb with needed nitrogen, and 2 months later, a single large stalk appears and rapidly grows 1-2 feet tall, producing several blossom heads. Then the bloom! How beautiful they are. The squamigera is pink and white, and the blossoms remain for several days. The bulbs should be fertilized lightly with phosphorous in the Fall, and nitrogen in the Spring for best production. This bulb will take a year to become established.

These bulbs should last for several years, can be divided and made to last and provide annual beauty and pleasure to the garden. Order online, bulbs will be shipped fresh at the appropriate season for planting.

Contact Texas A & M AgriLife Extension Service at 432-498-4071 or 432-686-4700 for more information.


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