How to Grow Magic Lilies
In midsummer, Magic Lilies pop up within the span of a few days, producing six to eight delicate flowers on long, thin, leafless stems.
Beautiful summer bloomers, these flowers are also called Naked Lilies, Naked Ladies, Resurrection Lilies, Spider Lilies, and Surprise Lilies. They're ideal bulbs for borders, beds, and fairy gardens.
In order for Magic Lilies to live and bloom year after year, they must experience a period of cold followed by a period of warmth. For this reason, they are planted in the fall at the same time as spring-blooming bulbs, such as daffodils, hyacinths, and tulips.
Like spring bulbs, Magic Lily bulbs remain dormant throughout winter. In spring, however, when daffodils and other spring flowers sprout and bloom, Magic Lily bulbs produce leaves only, which disappear by the start of summer.
In midsummer, like magic, the lilies pop up again, this time producing between six and eight flowers on thin, leafless stems that grow up three feet tall. Although Magic Lily stems and blooms appear within a few days, the flowering continues for two to three weeks. The blossoms are large, showy and delicate, closely resembling the amaryllis flowers to which they are related.
One Magic Lily bulb planted in fall produces at least two Magic Lily plants by the following year. That's because the bulbs spread by producing offset bulbs annually.
Magic Lilies mature and spread quickly. To keep the plants strong and their blooms big, they should be divided approximately every three years.
The Hardiest Magic Lily Species: Lycoris squamigera
Lycoris squamigera is the hardiest species of Magic Lily to date, performing well in USDA Hardiness Zones 5-10.
A no-fuss, easy-to-grow summer bloomer, L. squamigera does well in just about any type of soil. For the showiest blossoms, the bulbs should be planted in a full-sun to partial-shade location.
L. squamigera bulbs are about the same size as daffodil bulbs and require the same planting depth, anywhere from four to six inches. The planting hole should be measured from the bottom of the bulb to the soil surface.
In colder climates, it's best to plant L. squamigera at six inches deep. The same is true for sandy soils.
Although hardy, Magic Lilies are not impervious to extreme temperatures. If the summer or winter is radically hot or cold, they will produce fewer and smaller flowers.
Lycoris squamigera Information
Full sun to partial shade
Zones 5–8 with mulch; 9–10 without
Needs warm (60–70˚F) to cool (32–40˚F) to warm (60-70F) annual thermoperiodic cycle
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
I've had a large bed of magic lilies for years. We have had an extraordinary amount of rain. The foliage is completely dead and the tops of the bulbs are exposed. Should I do anything?
You may need to relocate the bulbs; otherwise, they could rot.Helpful 10
© 2012 Jill Spencer