Naked Ladies in my garden:  How scandalous!

Lycoris squamigera aka Naked Lady, Surprise Lily, Magic Lily, Resurrection Lily.

Truth is, they are not lilies at all and are actually in the Amaryllis family.

They are gorgeous and are a great cut flower as well, lasting well over a week in a vase. AND they smell lovely to boot! THIS is why I don’t leave the area in the summer swelter, I would hate to miss these gorgeous blooms!

Lycoris grow from a large bulb and can take a year or two to recover and bloom after you plant them. They are an old-fashioned favorite and you will often see them coming up around abandoned home sites. If you are not lucky enough to inherit some pass-along bulbs, you can order them from heirloom bulb companies.


Photo by Kathy Jentz.

Naked Ladies are hardy to zones 5-9 and prefer a sunny to part-sun location. It naturalizes by bulb-offsets. Provide the bulbs with medium moisture in well-drained soils. Be sure to cover them with mulch in winter.

In the spring, you will see the foliage come up and then quickly die back and disappear. In mid-summer, after a good soaking rain, the tall flower stalks will suddenly shoot up and the flowers will appear without any foliage, hence their colorful nicknames. These are the ultimate “set-it and forget-it” plant.

About the Author

Kathy Jentz
Kathy Jentz is editor of Washington Gardener magazine and is a long-time DC area gardening enthusiast. Washington Gardener is all about gardening where you live. She can be reached at @WDCgardener on Twitter and welcomes your local DMV gardening questions.