Spider lilies make annual appearance

Published on Wednesday, 2 October 2013 21:26 - Written by By Dee Bishop In Our Garden

Surprise lilies, also known as spider lilies, are making their appearances all around town.

They are a tad late, but the good rains we had a week or so ago brought them up overnight. It is so much fun to go out one morning and there they are, bright orangey-red spider lilies glowing in the sun. They usually come up in early September, but we had no rain until late September, and here they are. They make you smile.

Lycoris radiata is the latin name, but we all know them as spider lilies, unless you happen to live along the coast where they are often called Gurnsey lilies, or if you live in Virginia where they are called British soldiers. Whatever you call them, wherever they grow, they bring so much joy. One day there is nothing, the next day, there they are, such wonderful little surprises.

These old-time favorites are among the easiest bulbs to grow and every gardener should have some. They are not easy to find, but many of our Master Gardeners have them and have donated them for our sale. Come to the Bulbs and More plant sale Oct. 12 and purchase some to put in your yard. They will multiply as the years go by and you will get a wonderful surprise every September.

Another good thing, the foliage will come shortly after the blooms fade and will remain green all winter. It looks very much like liriope. Sometime around June the foliage dies and you have nothing at all until they pop up and bloom in September. What fun! Pick some to carry indoors. They last several days in water and you can enjoy them up close.