This article was published originally on 7/26/2013
One of the more intriguing plants in the garden is Lycoris squamigera. Common names include magic lily, resurrection lily, surprise lily, and naked lady. Lycoris squamigera is a member of the Amaryllidaceae family. It is native to Japan. The genus name Lycoris comes from a Roman actress and mistress of Mark Antony.
The life cycle of Lycoris squamigera is rather unique. Its long, strap-shaped leaves emerge in spring, but die back to the ground by early summer. Pink, lily-like flowers are borne on 18- to 24-inch-tall, leafless, flower stalks in late summer. Each flower stalk produces 4 to 12 flowers.
Lycoris squamigera performs best in partial shade to full sun in well-drained soils. Plant bulbs 5 to 6 inches deep and 6 to 8 inches apart. Since the dying foliage is rather unsightly, interplant the magic lily with other perennials. Lycoris squamigera multiples quickly via daughter bulbs or offsets. Dig and separate bulbs every 4 to 5 years. Bulbs can be dug after the foliage dies back in early summer or after flowering in late summer. Extra bulbs can be given to friends and neighbors.