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Lycoris Planting Guide

Naked and Somewhat Confusing
Naked ladies are the common name for several plants: lycoris, belladonna lilies and occasionally others. All share the trait of producing tall, eye catching flower stalks in late summer while their foliage is not present, hence the "naked" look. These plants are among the easiest to care for, requiring very little attention when sited in a location that's to their liking. It's not uncommon to see lycoris growing in large clumps in cemeteries and abandoned homesteads where they essentially care for themselves year after year. Okay, what gardener wouldn't see that as an attractive trait?
PLANTING
DEPTH

3-4" Inches

WATER
QUANTITY

Water lightly until top growth emerges, then moderately during active growth cycle.

SUNLIGHT
QUANTITY

Full sun to light shade

PLANTING
PROXIMITY

4" Inches Between
Planting

Outdoor Beds
  1. Find a location where the soil drains well. If there are still water puddles 5-6 hours after a hard rain, scout out another site. Or amend the soil with the addition of organic material to raise the level 2-3" to improve the drainage. Peat moss, compost, ground bark or decomposed manure all work well and are widely available. Lycoris require well drained soil and will not thrive in soil that is overly moist.
  2. Site your lycoris where they will receive full sun. They will survive with 5-6 hours of direct sunlight daily but flower better with more sun.
  3. Dig holes and plant your bulbs with their necks above the soil surface and 12" apart. The bulbs are rounded, with pointed tops - plant with the points facing upwards.
  4. After planting, water well to settle the soil around the bulbs. Roots will form in the autumn. Flowers will develop in late summer with leaves customarily following thereafter.
  5. When in bloom, feel free to cut flowers for dramatic bouquets. This will not hurt your plants.
  6. After flowering has finished for the season, foliage will develop. The leaves will gather sunlight and provide nourishment for next year's show. Water as needed during active growth periods. Not more than 1" of water per week is a good estimate.
  7. Feel free to remove the foliage in late winter or early spring when it yellows and withers; it will have done its photosynthesis work by then and serves no future purpose. Your bulbs will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle. When leaves are absent and the bulbs are dormant, withhold water.
Pots, Barrels, Tubs & Urns
  1. Find a large container and fill it with a commercial potting mix that drains well. Lycoris will not thrive in waterlogged soils. Plant in trios or add other bulbs, annuals or perennials around the lycoris to fill out the pot and create a lush look.
  2. Place your container where it will get full to three quarters day direct sun.
  3. Dig holes and plant your bulbs with their necks above the soil surface and 8" apart. The bulbs are rounded, with pointed tops - plant with the points facing upwards.
  4. After planting, water well to settle the soil around the bulbs. Roots will form in the fall. A few sprouts may also develop in autumn if you live in a warm region. Taller top growth and flower stems will form in the spring.
  5. When in bloom, feel free to cut flowers for dramatic bouquets. This will not hurt your plants.
  6. After flowering has finished for the season, foliage will develop. The leaves will gather sunlight and provide nourishment for next year's show. Water as needed during active growth periods. Not more than 1" of water per week is a good estimate.
  7. Feel free to remove the foliage in late winter or early spring when it yellows and withers; it will have done its photosynthesis work by then and serves no future purpose. Your bulbs will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle. When leaves are absent and the bulbs are dormant, withhold water.