Plants We Love: Spider Lily

spider lily (Lycoris radiata)Plant name: Spider lily

Botanical name: Lycoris radiata

Virtues: Late bloom time (late summer into fall); bright red flower color; intricate flower shape; ease of care

Flower:
Bright red flowers bloom on 1- to 2-foot-tall stalks from late summer into the fall. Flowers feature tight clusters of narrow, crimped petals with long, curved stamens prompting the comparison to daddy-long-legs spiders. Flowers appear from bare ground long after the foliage has died back, inspiring other common names: magic lily, surprise lily and resurrection lily.

Foliage: Straplike grayish green leaves appear in the spring and disappear by the summer. More leaves appear in fall after the plant has bloomed.

Habit: Grows from a bulb. Leaves form a short clump about a foot wide. Flowers appear on stiffly upright stalks.

Season:
Late summer, early fall.

Origin: Japan

Cultivation:
Plant in rich, well-drained soil. Prefers relatively dry soil in summer, when the plant is dormant, and moderate moisture when growing in spring and fall. Plant in full sun for best flowering, though it will take part shade. USDA Zones 8–10. Can be grown in containers in colder zones, with pots stored in a cool, dry place indoors over the winter. Worth trying in the ground in Zones 6 and 7, in a sunny, sheltered location and covered with evergreen boughs or pine needles for the winter.

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