A member of the Amaryllis family, Lycoris (Spider Lilies) are striking bulbous perennials boasting showy umbels of funnel-shaped flowers on naked stems in late summer and early fall. Appearing almost magically since there is no foliage to indicate where their bulb has been planted, they pop out of the ground in a pretty array of bright colors and last about 2 weeks. As if refusing to appear with the flowers, the foliage of linear or strap-shaped leaves emerges before or after flowering, remaining fresh-looking for weeks before dying down in summer.

1. Select The Right Site

  • Best flowering occurs in full sun or light shade for most Lycoris species except Lycoris radiata (Red Spider Lily) which thrives in partial shade (especially in hot climates).
  • Lycoris perform best in organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soil that dries out in summer. In areas with wet summers grow your spider lily as a container plant.
  • Lycoris plants are best left undisturbed in the soil as they resent transplanting - so make sure you select the right home for them.
  • Click here to see all Lycoris varieties

Lycoris radiata

Lycoris bulb

Lycoris sprengeri

2. Planting Your Spider Lilies

  • Plant in late summer or fall.
  • Dig a hole and plant your Lycoris bulbs with their necks at or just above the soil surface. Burying the bulbs below ground level would discourage flowering.
  • If you feel you live in an environment that might be borderline for plant hardiness, place the bulb at a depth that has the "neck" about 2 in. (5 cm) below the soil line. Not sure about your growing zone? Check here.
  • Plant your Lycoris bulbs about 4 in. apart (10 cm).
  • Set the Lycoris bulb with the pointed tops facing up. Cover the bulb with soil and water as needed. Protect in colder areas with a deep, dry mulch over winter.
  • Click here to see all Lycoris Garden Ideas

Lycoris aurea

Lycoris squamigera

Lycoris albiflora

3. Aftercare

  • Water lightly until top growth emerges, then moderately during the growing season.
  • Withhold water in summer and let the soil go dry when the foliage begins to wither.
  • Remove the foliage when it yellows and withers.
  • Bulbs should be lifted and separated for replanting about every 7 years.