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Surprise Lilies

Add a bit of unexpected beauty and light fragrance to the late summer garden with surprise lilies (Lycoris squamigera).

Also know as autumn amaryllis, magic lily and naked lady, they make fun additions to flower gardens and borders.

These unique flowers sprout long strappy leaves similar to an amaryllis in spring. These leaves create the energy needed for flowering and survival. Cut them back to ground level once they yellow and brown in early summer.

Grow the stately flowers in clusters planted throughout mixed borders or hide the naked lady stems by mixing them with other perennials.

These bulbs thrive in full sun to light shade and most garden soils. Keep the soil somewhat dry when the bulbs are dormant.

Mild winters in the south can prevent flowering while cold winters in the north may eliminate the bulb.

As soil moisture increases and temperatures cool, the flower stems (no leaves) appear. Surprise!

A bit more information: The botanical name for surprise lily is Lycoris squamigera. Lycoris was named in honor of Mark Anthony’s mistress known for her intrigue.  The disappearing spring foliage and appearance of the leafless flower stems certainly implies intrigue.

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