29 November 2008

Lycoris Radiata - Sparkling Red Surprise Spider Lilies

Lycoris Radiata is the most wonderful of surprises when it blooms in the fall. This is the time to plant some in your garden to have their red sparkle light up your 2009 fall.

Easy To Grow Bulbs

They bloom in September when you have forgotten all about them. Then, all of a sudden on 2-foot tall, leafless, stems there they are.

Spider Lilies come in other colors. Lycoris albiflora is white, Lycoris x houdyshelii is light yellow/cream, Golden is practically orange, Tie Dye is pink and blue, etc.

Like most flowers, they need some sun to bloom so avoid deeply shady spots. Also, like most bulbs they have to be in a place that drains well so a raised bed, a slight slope, near shrub or tree roots works best. If I'm worried about drainage I put a little gravel at the bottom of the planting hole.

They may not bloom the first year but when they do, you can cut them for vases in the house.

Sources with links
Easy to Grow Bulbs
Touch of Nature
Plant Delights Nursery

FERTILIZING BULBS Bulbs can be burned by fertilizer at their roots, so just sprinkle it on the top of the soil and water in newly planted bulbs. In future years, fertilize after the blooms fade.
Here's some solid advice from the Minnesota Master Gardener site about fertilizing bulbs.

Typically bulb fertilizer is slow release, like 9-9-6, 4-10-6, 5-10-20 or 10-10-20. The 9-9-6 is ideal for most bulbs including lilies, tulips, etc. Daffodil experts recommend using slow release 5-10-20 or 10-10-20.

If you do not have bulb fertilizer, use 2-3 pounds of 5-10-10 per 100 square feet.

Garden lilies are fertilized in the spring as shoots emerge. Use 5-10-10 or 10-20-20. A second application of fertilizer is recommended just before flowering.

Organic gardeners use cottonseed meal, greensand and bone meal for the 3 components.

2 comments:

Jan said...

I love these spider lilies and have quite a few - all given to me by generous gardeners. They really do brighten up the fall garden. I will never forget how they were blooming when we returned home after Hurricane Katrina and what a sign of hope they were for us that things would get back to normal.

Jan
Always Growing

Martha said...

Hi Jan -
Wonderful picture you paint - coming home from a disaster to see spider lilies grinning in greeting.

I got my first ones at a garden club picnic and plant exchange. When they bloomed they were so sparkly! I was hooked.

Thanks for the note. Martha