By Doug Hackbarth
Broadview Florist & Greenhouse
Surprise Lily, Magic Lily, Resurrection Lily or Naked Lady, whatever you call it, it is the lily that you see in bloom at this time of summer with all stems and no foliage. Lycoris is its genus name and is actually grown from a bulb. This lily can be planted anytime, spring, summer or fall, whenever you can find the bulb for sale. The pink-purple flowers will bloom during late summer but will only produce foliage during the late spring. Flowers appear about six to eight weeks after the leaves die down.
Plant these bulbs (Lycoris) in either sandy or heavy clay soils; high alkaline or very acid soils; they just do not care. Regular to no watering is best, but not wet. These Orient natives are only propagated by division as they are “sterile” and cannot set seed. Plant in full sun to partial shade one to two inches deep and expect the flowers to grow 12” – 18” tall. Dividing the bulbs should be done every 3-5 years. Parts of your Surprise Lily can be poisonous if eaten.
The Lycoris variety is hardy to 20 below but there are other types such as radiata, the spider lily, which is red and cannot tolerate 0 degree weather. Look for a variety that is called squamigera which is best for our cold climate.