Lycoris sprengeri
Common Name: lycoris
Type: Bulb
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Native Range: Japan, Anhui, Hubei, Jiangsu, and Zhejiange Provinces of China
Zone: 6 to 10
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: August to September
Bloom Description: Pink throat with blue tie dye shading
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Fragrant

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 6-10 where bulbs may be grown in organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to light shade. Best flowering is in part sun. Plant bulbs 9” apart in fall with the top 1/4" of the neck of each bulb exposed. Plants appreciate even moisture during their growing season, but may be best sited in areas where soils remain relatively dry during the summer dormant season. Plants will naturalize by bulb-offsets and form small colonies over time. Plants are best left undisturbed in the soil. Lycoris sprengeri has thrived outdoors in the ground at the Missouri Botanical Garden (USDA Zone 6a), and the culture recommendations set out herein follow the procedures currently in use at the Garden. North of USDA Zone 5, bulbs should be grown in large and deep containers that are overwintered indoors.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Lycoris sprengeri is a bulbous perennial that is native to central China. It is a member of the Amaryllis family. Narrow-linear, strap-like, medium to dark green leaves (each to 16" long) appear in spring, but disappear by mid-summer. Naked flower scapes (typically rising to 1.5’ tall) emerge from the ground in late summer, each bearing an umbel of 4-6 trumpet-shaped flowers. Each flower (to 2” long) has six slightly reflexed, petal-like tepals and short stamens (nearly as long as the perianth). Flowers feature pink throats with tie dye blue shading on the tepals that often ends with ink blue tepal tips. L. sprengeri is a purported parent of L. squamigera.

Genus name honors a Roman beauty, the mistress of Mark Antony.

Specific epithet honors German nurseryman Karl (Carlo) Sprenger (1846-1917).

Plants in the genus Lycoris are sometimes commonly called resurrection flower, surprise lily, magic lily or naked ladies because the leaves disappear in summer with the naked flower scapes seemingly rising from the dead in late summer. Plants of L. sprengeri are sometimes commonly called tie dye surprise lily because of their unique flower colors.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Plants may take a few seasons to establish in the St. Louis climate.

Garden Uses

Borders. Interplant with other perennials (including low growing ground covers) and/or annuals.