Lycoris Add Surprise, Magic & Resurrection to Your Garden!
These otherworldly flowers are called Lycoris, but some refer to them as Spider Lilies, Naked Ladies, Surprise Lilies, Hurrican Lilies, Resurrection Lilies, Pop Up Lilies, Magic Lilies, or Equinox Lilies. That's right - a flower so spectacular needed a slew of provocative titles! While they may appear dainty or delicate, Lycoris are incredibly tough and produce extraordinary blooms that have inspired legends.
Like something straight out of a Dr. Seuss story, Lycoris flowers arrive clad in bright colors with unusual, long, curling filaments. They're exceptionally cold hardy, delightfully fragrant, extremely long-lasting in cut displays, and resistant to hungry critters. So, what do you say? Are you ready to give your garden the dash of whimsy and drama it deserves?
- Color: Lycoris flowers bloom in four brilliant colors - red, yellow, white, and soft pink. While each hue is lovely in its own way, the stunning red blooms of Lycoris Radiata are the most popular.
- Bloom Season: Lycoris bulbs enjoy a nice, long snooze during their dormancy in the summer months. As if by magic (hence the names!), the blooms suddenly emerge from the bare ground in late summer, flaunting their flirtatious flowers atop 2-foot tall, sturdy stems.
- Foliage: Once the stunning blooms slip back into dormancy, attractive foliage appears and lasts from fall through spring.
- Hardiness: While red, white, and yellow Lycoris are hardy in zones 7-11, the soft pink variety is much more cold hardy and will naturalize in zones 5-11.
These Are a Few of Our Favorite Things
- The radiant blossoms are highly attractive to butterflies, while the entire plant is very resistant to deer, moles, voles, and gophers.
- These plants are exceptionally drought-tolerant once established.
- Lycoris is a long-lived and low-maintenance plant.
As natives to China, Lycoris are drenched in rich history, and it's been said that they bloom in Paradise or the "other shore." According to legend, these blooms appear along the shores of The Forgotten River in remembrance of love that has passed. Bear with me here, but it's also been told that two separated elves were once tasked to oversee and protect the Lycoris plant. One, named Mañju, watched over the flower, while the other, named Saka, protected the leaves. Eventually, the elves grew curious about each other, and after defying their fated solitary vigils, they contrived to meet, and guess what - they fell in love! Now, don't get too mushy yet because tragedy ensued when the gods found out about their rebellion. The outraged gods condemned Mañju and Saka never to meet again, and to this day, the Lycoris is known as "Manjusaka" in Japan to honor the cursed lovers.
Lycoris Tips & Tricks
- Amend soil with peat moss, compost, ground bark, or decomposed manure to raise the level 2-3" to improve the drainage.
- Feel free to cut flowers when in bloom for dramatic bouquet additions, as doing so will not hurt your plants.
- Ensure that your Lycoris plant never sits for long periods in waterlogged soil.
- Plant in trios or add other bulbs, annuals or perennials, around your Lycoris to fill out container plantings and create a lush display.
Phew! There's everything you need to know (and a few additional fun facts) about Lycoris. Are you planning to grow these gorgeous bloomers? Check out our Lycoris Planting Guide to help you get started on the right stem!
- Rachel Bortles