In August of every year, sweet smelling pink flowers seem to pop up in the landscape almost by magic. The flower, Lycoris squamigera, go by several common names; the risqué name, of Naked Lady, the pious name of Resurrection Lily, or the matter-of-fact name, August Lily.
Lycoris squamigera is in the same plant family as the Amaryllis, which is purchased for large winter blooms. Like the Amaryllis, the flower grows from a large bulb. It grows well in full sun to partial shade in average garden soil. It resents being transplanted, so it might take a year or two for the bulb to flower. Once it is established it will continue to produce bulbs and grow into large colonies. The flower is hardy to zone 5 to 9. The long strap like leaves appear in the spring and then disappear. In late summer it sends up a tall flower stalk with numerous trumpet-like soft pink flowers. I always mark where they are planted because once the leaves disappear it is easy to forget the bulb is in the ground. It can be damaged if I try to plant something else in a place that looks bare.
In addition to Lycoris squamigera, there is a relative, Lycoris radiata, often referred to as the Red Spider Lily or the Hurricane Lily, because it blooms on the east coast of the U.S. in late summer, during the hurricane season. The large clusters of bright red flowers are said to resemble spiders with their long legs. Lycoris radiata is hardy in zones 7 to 9. In cooler areas it can be grown as a potted plant. Also, Lycoris aurea, or Golden Spider Lily is a fragrant yellow flower that also blooms in late summer and hardy to zones 7 to 10. In colder parts of the country it can also be grown as a potted plant.
These bulbs are, ‘pass along’ bulbs because they multiply and are given to fellow gardeners as gifts. Several years ago, the father of a good friend of mine who had passed away at a young age sent to me a box of Naked Lady or Lycoris squamigera bulbs. I fondly remember and reflect on our friendship when they bloom!