Surprise Lily

We are surprised and chagrined by the way weeds keep popping up no matter how vigilant we are. But we can also be surprised by the more decorative plants.

surprise lily

Photo: Shotaku (flickr)

In August, long stalks with several clumps of trumpet-like flowers suddenly appear as if by magic.

There are a lot of surprises when one gardens. Of course, we are surprised and chagrined by the way weeds keep popping up no matter how vigilant we are.

But we can also be surprised by the more decorative plants that also self-sow. These volunteers often delight us because serendipity can produce combinations of flowers that are unexpected yet beautiful. We can, however, intentionally create surprises in our gardens if we plant the lilac-pink lily “lycoris squamigera.”

These large bulbs are planted either in the spring or the fall. They produce strap like leaves early in the growing season, that then die down, causing us to forget about them. In August, long stalks with several clumps of trumpet-like flowers suddenly appear as if by magic.

This plant is a member of the Amaryllis family, but you may be familiar with their common names, “surprise lily,” “magic lily,” “Resurrection Lily,” or “naked lady.” They are hardy to zone five, like a well-drained spot in sun or light shade and grow to about two feet.

They are fragrant and are good cut flowers that combine well with baby’s breath in arrangements. The cool delicacy of these flowers is a special bonus during hot summer weather. This plant’s botanical name is because of a roman actress, Lycoris, who is also remembered because she had an affair with Marc Anthony.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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