The surprise lily (Lycoris squamigera) blooms in August when few others plants are providing color to the garden. In early spring daffodil-like leaves emerge briefly and wilt. Several weeks later, the gardener is "surprised" to see lilac-pink, fragrant flowers appearing on this 18 to 30 inch stalks.
Things You'll Need
- Surprise lily bulb
- Bulb planter or garden trowel
- Mulch or other organic material
Choose your planting site. Surprise lily does best in full sun or light shade in well-drained soil and is adaptable to either sandy or clay soil. It is an excellent choice for naturalized areas, among groundcovers or in flower beds.
Dig your planting holes or remove the soil from the area where the bulbs are to be planted. Surprise lilies should be planted from 2 to 6 inches below the surface of the soil. The colder your area, the deeper the bulb should be planted. Space the bulbs 6 inches apart and in uneven number clusters.
Cover the bulbs with the original soil and water well. A light layer of mulch may also be added.
Tips & Warnings
- This species of surprise lily is suitable for planting in colder climates and rated hardy in zones 4 through 10. Check the USDA Hardiness Zone map to verify planting in your area. Not all lycoris are winter hardy.
- The surprise lily goes dormant after its leaves have wilted and before the flower emerges. During this period the plant needs little water.
- Divide bulbs every 3 to 5 years. The surprise lily multiplies rapidly.
- The surprise lily is a member of the amaryllis family and has a low-level of toxicity if eaten. Be cautious when planting around small children and pets.
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