Tuesday, September 25, 2012

If You Plant It, They Will Come!

They are popping up everywhere. . .along side the road, in pastures, yards, gardens and cemeteries. Their ethereal flowers are quite unique. But, where did they all come from? 

Naked ladies, spider lilies, surprise lilies, resurrection lilies are actually Lycoris. There are red (Lycoris radiata), yellow (Lycoris aurea) and pink (Lycoris squamigera). Other names include ninja lily and hurricane lily. But, the best news is that they are easy to grow.


These plants leaf out in early spring and then vanish hence the nickname naked ladies. Come late summer or early fall, surprise! Now, I hope I have the following information correct. These wonderful blooms are an umbel where each group of flowers (inflorescense) are arranged on a single stem (pedicel).  The stem holding the whole inflorescence is called a peduncle. Peduncle is not the term used for a family                 member with a fondness for pretty young boys.


You can buy dormant bulbs from your big box store and plant them now. Bulbs should be planted at a depth where the "neck" is just under the soil line. When planting bulbs in groups, place them about 4 inches apart. Like other bulbs, these like a handful of bone meal per bulb in the planting hole. Well-drained soil and filtered shade are best. Bulbs can be lifted and separated.

Some Lycoris produce fertile seed and some do not. I am wondering if that is where all my Lycoris came from. Surely, I did not buy a bunch of bulbs and plant them willy nilly everywhere. Maybe when transplanting other plants, bulbs were moved as well.

Some professionals suggest making bulb cuttings, but this is not normally practiced by gardeners. Plus, my husband does not allow me to have real sharp objects!

Often these scarlet flowers bloom near cemeteries around the autumnal equinox. The Chinese and Japanese call these flowers "ominous" because it was thought they would guide the dead into the next reincarnation.


  1. I just had the best compliment. Chris Wiesinger from The Southern Bulb Company spoke at our garden club meeting this afternoon. After I showed him a picture of one of my plants, he asked to tour my gardens. Dang, wished I had picked up those weeds I pulled this morning. Please visit his web site at http://www.southernbulbs.com/catalog/index.php and order your bulbs there instead of the big box store!!!

  2. Nice blog. My "Cecil time" was just about on time this a.m. BTW, I have always thought that the "state animal" of Texas was a dead armadillo on the road. LOL We have had the A/C in the "OFF" position for several days now.... enjoying sleeping under additional covers. Do you mean to say that your dogs did not go into an attack mode when they saw the 'dillo'? Cecil Wallace