Magic in the Garden

One of the more intriguing plants in the garden is Lycoris squamigera.  Common names include magic lily, resurrection lily, surprise lily, and naked lady.  Lycoris squamigera is a member of the Amaryllidaceae family.  It is native to Japan.  The genus name Lycoris comes from a Roman actress and mistress of Mark Antony. 


The life cycle of Lycoris squamigera is rather unique.  Its long, strap-shaped leaves emerge in spring, but die back to the ground by early summer.  Pink, lily-like flowers are borne on 18- to 24-inch-tall, leafless, flower stalks in late summer.  Each flower stalk produces 4 to 12 flowers. 


Lycoris squamigera performs best in partial shade to full sun in well-drained soils.  Plant bulbs 5 to 6 inches deep and 6 to 8 inches apart.  Since the dying foliage is rather unsightly, interplant the magic lily with other perennials.  Lycoris squamigera multiples quickly via daughter bulbs or offsets.  Dig and separate bulbs every 4 to 5 years.  Bulbs can be dug after the foliage dies back in early summer or after flowering in late summer.  Extra bulbs can be given to friends and neighbors.

Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Horticulture and Home Pest News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on July 26, 2013. The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.