I can always tell, especially when these beauties surprise me. Even if I wanted to, there’s no way to ignore this!
After our first decent rain in early September, the Red Spider Lily, Lycoris radiata, sends up its bloom stalk and in the following days, stunning blooms unfold.
The long stamens give rise the the common name, spider.
These petals and those extravagant stamens still sported rain drops on a recent morning after overnight rain.
In the Amaryllis family and native to the Far East, this bulb has naturalized in the southern part of the United States. Here in Austin, they’re easy to grow. Plant now (in the early fall), in a part shade to shady spot and wait. And if you’re like me, forget about them, go on with your life, your stuff, and your gardening. Then be happily surprised each September–I never remember that I’ve planted them. They pop out of the ground and do this:
…and then they do this.
Usually there are several blooms, one atop each scape, rising from the dormant-since-last winter bulbs.
After the flowers fade, the foliage will emerge–it looks similar to liriope foliage, except with a pale-yellow stripe up the middle. The foliage will stick around until sometime in late winter–I don’t really know because I never realize that they’ve gone.
I only have three groups of L. radiata. In this area I planted two bulbs in two different spots,
…while here resides a single bulb.
I planted my bulbs three years ago and this is the second year they’ve bloomed. They seem happy here.
So you know how I’m always preaching about planting for pollinators–bees, butterflies, and other assorted wildlife? Well, forget all that for this one post: you plant Red Spider Lily for yourself. Go ahead, be completely selfish and shoot for style over substance. I’m sure in its native range, there’s something that feeds on Lycoris radiata–but not here. No sir, I haven’t seen anything so much as hover around the Spider Lily, wondering whether this is something worth sipping from or chewing on. This plant is for looks only–it’s a total fluff plant, indulging the pretty-plant-person resident in every gardener.
And that’s okay.
Plant, wait. enjoy!!