Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Surprise Lily
Lycoris x houdyshellii

Family: Amaryllidaceae (am-uh-ril-id-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Lycoris (LY-kor-iss) (Info)
Species: x houdyshellii

One vendor has this plant for sale.

24 members have or want this plant for trade.


Unknown - Tell us

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Flowers are good for cutting
Provides winter interest
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

Click thumbnail
to view:

By TomH3787
Thumbnail #1 of Lycoris x houdyshellii by TomH3787

By vossner
Thumbnail #2 of Lycoris x houdyshellii by vossner


2 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive vossner On Sep 6, 2014, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

When flower first emerges, it is a blush pink but as days pass, the pink stripe along the center of each tepal becomes more prominent, meaning more pink. Still, an overall pastel pink look to this beauty.

Positive dragynfyre On Sep 28, 2006, dragynfyre from Niceville, FL wrote:

Excellent plant to grow. mine stays in mostly shade and produces a stalk with multiple blooms regularly. The blooms are long lived (the last group has been in bloom for a full week) average water needs. i have about 6 bulbs in a single pot. I just got these from a friend a few weeks ago and i adore the unique blooms.

Neutral TomH3787 On Jul 8, 2006, TomH3787 from Raleigh, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

Note from Plant Delights catalog: This rare, naturally occurring hybrid surprise lily (L. straminea x L. radiata var. pumila) is found in the Chinese provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang. It was first imported to the US in 1948 and named in 1957 by Dr. Traub in honor of bulb collector Cecil Houdyshel. The frilly light yellow flowers top the 20" tall stalks that seemingly appear from nowhere in mid-to-late August. Emerging from the center of the petals are long stamens, often tinged in light pink, like eyelashes on a lady of the evening. After flowering, the winter rosettes of 15" long basal leaves emerge in late September and persist all winter.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Niceville, Florida
Raleigh, North Carolina
Austin, Texas
Fate, Texas
Houston, Texas
Richmond, Texas

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