Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Red Spider Lily, Surprise Lily
Lycoris radiata

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

Synonym:Lycoris radiata var. radiata

13 vendors have this plant for sale.

112 members have or want this plant for trade.


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

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)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall
Late Fall/Early Winter


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

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

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There are a total of 41 photos.
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26 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral coriaceous On Jan 22, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Jim Waddick of the Pacific Bulb Society grows this with winter protection in Platte County, MO, Z5b, and reports that it's fully hardy through Z6.

Positive papernpaste On Jan 4, 2014, papernpaste from Wilmington, DE wrote:

I obtained around sixty bulbs (two shovels full) from my sister in Chestertown, MD, a few years ago. I divided them and planted them in six or seven locations around my home. They do quite well in shade or 50/50 sun/shade. They do like to remain in damp soil. It takes two seasons to flower, once the bulbs are moved.
I absolutely love this one...dark red-orange-salmon petals on 12-15" stalks appear before the thin, dark foliage which remains through the winter. Then, the plant "disappears" until it signals that fall is arriving in September, flowering for two-three weeks.

Positive QuercusAlba On Sep 12, 2013, QuercusAlba from Beverly, MA (Zone 6b) wrote:

We had a couple of years with foliage only and no flower; but this bulb has now become established against a south-facing wall here in coastal Massachusetts. The flower spike is just breaking through the soilour fourth consecutive bloom season.

Positive Rose17 On Nov 14, 2010, Rose17 from New Port Richey, FL wrote:

My daughter married a wonderful guy from Alabama, on a recent visit there I loved these red "wildflowers". They were just popping up all over and I had never seen them before. Knowing how much I love gardening, my new son- in- law took a shovel and dug up a cluster of three flowers to take home. Well when I got home to Florida there were 53 bulbs in that one shovel of dirt!! I have them in pots and trays everywhere and everyone is sprouting. Sure hope I can keep them going down here in zone 9.

Positive shewhoplants On Oct 10, 2010, shewhoplants from Tifton, GA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Here in Tifton, Georgia, these beautiful bulbs are just beginning to bloom. To me they are a beautiful time table, reminding me that fall is truly here. I look forward to seeing them show their bright red blooms every year. Without them fall isn't fall. They, to me are just as important as fall leaf colour.

Positive hnz57txn On Sep 25, 2010, hnz57txn from Kaufman, TX wrote:

I rustled my original 5 bulbs from a GreatAunt in Tyler, TX. There they were growing under the shade of tall pines and in good sandy loam soil. After bringing them home and wanting to eventually transplant the bulbs to a new house when I moved, I planted them in a 8"widex24"longx6"deep window planter box. Unfortunately I never moved and they have not either, it's been at least 10 years. At last count there are 31 bulbs in this window box and currently 9 are blooming and more have shoots and will bloom soon. "Hermine" dropped so much rain it seems to have set them off and running.
Living in the window box the bulbs seem happy, and when I eventually do move they will travel along to the new house.
I have a brown thumb and can kill the hardiest of plants, but these bulbs seem to thrive on neglect and still bloom merrily each fall.

Positive wooconley On Jan 18, 2010, wooconley from Oak Hill, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

I had this lovely bulb in central Louisiana -then we moved to Ohio (zone6). Wondering if I can plant these here if I dig the bulbs up in the fall and put them back out in the spring. Any ideas?

I didn't bring any with me when we moved 3 years ago.

Positive jerry31557 On Jan 18, 2010, jerry31557 from Patterson, GA wrote:

This is one of the beatiful lilies I have ever seen. My only problems is they do not stay in bloom look enough. We have some growing on our place, and our place goes back to my wife's great, great, grandfather. It is told that my wife's great, great, grandmother planted a small handful of bulbs that was give to her by her grandmother. So now these bulbes go back 8 generations.
They are really beautiful when they spring up and bloom. From the time they spring up till the time they die back is just a week or so.
Thanks for reading.

Positive ival On Jan 18, 2010, ival from Arlington, TX wrote:

Lycoris radiata is one of the most rewarding, reliable, and incredibly beautiful bulbs one can grow here in north Texas. We have several plantings in our suburban garden, some of them many years old; and they all come up every year and produce flowers, sometimes in great profusion (depends on the rainfall the previous summer). Because of the mild climate here, the winter foliage almost never frosts. No pests or diseases seem to bother them. The only problem is remembering where they are while they are dormant in the summertime, so as not to disturb them with other plantings. I've solved that problem by planting them under groundcovers. The tall bloom stalks pop up almost overnight after the first good early autumn rains and produce a dazzling display of feathery red-orange blossoms up to 6 inches across. Good for cutting, or just let them show off in the garden when little else is blooming.

Positive CherokeeGreg On Sep 10, 2009, CherokeeGreg from Fresno, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

The name fits this plant.(Surprise Lily) I didnot plant it I have no idea were it came from. Its a great plant. I was shocked and surprised when I saw it growing in my garden! I hope there is more that comes up.
Zone 9

Positive tropicalover76 On May 1, 2009, tropicalover76 from Beaufort, NC wrote:

people here in beaufort call it the hurricane plant because it only comes up when we have either tropical storms here on the coast of nc, or hurricane rains..

Positive afr On Mar 28, 2007, afr from Dallas, TX wrote:

I grew up in Denison, Texas (on the Red River, border with Oklahoma), where the "spider lily," as it is commonly called there, grows in just about everyone's yard, thanks to decades of passing along the bulbs.
Similar to the comment by another contributor, children in my schools would bring in HUGE bundles (two to four dozen) of fresh cut blossoms, a favorite and charming memory of my youth.
It certainly is true, as noted by others, that one usually forgets all about the bulbs being in the ground until one day when you walk into your garden and are greeted by this most beautiful "surprise"!

Positive theemmy On Feb 24, 2007, theemmy from Sunbury, NC wrote:

My husband and I have to move our spider lily soon. We are adding on to our house. The spider lily was his grandmother's (she is not longer with us) and it is really important for it to survive transplant. When is the best time to transplant it?

Thank you for your help.

Positive swtmdmboo On Sep 27, 2006, swtmdmboo from Dothan, AL wrote:

I recently moved into a new home in LA (Lower Alabama) (zone 8). 2 days ago, I was putting some scraps into my black, open bottom, compost bin and discovered a flower at the top of the bin. It seems to be a very hearty spider lily.

Positive sharronh On Jun 25, 2006, sharronh from wauchope
Australia wrote:

What country is this plant native too?

It is growing quite happily under the shade of tall wattles in Australia.

Positive WUVIE On Mar 4, 2006, WUVIE from Hulbert, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

I just love these beautiful plants. The bloom doesn't
last long, but while it is here, I'm so excited!

They pop up here and there, and everywhere.
Who wouldn't welcome something so nice and

Easy to grow!

Positive mamajack On Feb 4, 2006, mamajack from Fate, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

i bought an old house and this plant was growing here when i got here. they are everywhere. they grow on top of themselves and under the iris. i have so many i am planting my entire road frontage with them. but i love them. my children take their teachers bouquets. when hundreds of these things are blooming it is truly magnificent to see.

Positive scott_lumry On Dec 24, 2005, scott_lumry from Natchitoches, LA (Zone 8a) wrote:

Right now, the foliage is up all over town and soakin' in the sun.

Positive phrostyphish On Oct 29, 2005, phrostyphish from Tuscaloosa, AL wrote:

To those who believe this plant is free of maintenance requirements... you're mostly correct.

This particular flower performs very well in my area, of which the soil is mostly red clay.

We had a mound of these in one corner of the yard, yet only received 3 or 4 flowers each flowering cycle. These are one of the easiest bulbs to divide... when I dug mine up, they were about the size of a plump green onion. In the past 2 years, I've divided them - some remained in their original location, and now bloom profusely. Others have also done equally as well in both shade and full sun locations of my yard.

Positive Dogzilla On Jan 7, 2005, Dogzilla from Tallahassee, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is one of my all-time favorites. In this neck of the woods, we call this "Hurricane Lily" or sometimes, "Surprise Lily" for the obvious reason, judging from the other feedback here.

Typically, it blooms during peak hurricane season, often after a lot of rain is dumped on the area in a short period of time. The specimens I have bloomed during the four-hurricanes-in-one-month in 2004: right after Tallahassee got 10 inches of rain in 12 hours! After the bloom dies, the foilage pops up for a while and then dies back as summer heats up. During peak hot summer, there's no evidence or trace of this plant. Then, as hurricane/rainy season progresses, there you go!

Propagate by dividing bulbs. This is a common pass-along plant in North Florida/Southern Georgia. Dig deep to get to the bulbs.

Positive milly398 On Sep 15, 2004, milly398 from Norcross, GA wrote:

I didn't purchase this flower, however to my suprise I was walking through my yard and saw this interesting bud emerging from the ground. Over the next several days I monitored it, and when I came home this evening I saw this georgeous flower!!! I immediately scooped it up and transplanted it to a prettier location (afraid the landscapers might mow it over). I then scanned the rest of my yard and noticed that on the edge of the wood there was a huge clump of these beautiful flowers. I have transplanted them all and am so excited for this wonderful find. I only hope I didn't damage them transplanting them while in bloom. Keep your fingers crossed for me!!!

Positive trois On Sep 10, 2004, trois from Santa Fe, TX (Zone 9b) wrote:

A very pleasant surprise this morning. Yesterday no signs of a flower were showing. We didn't know it was there. A very beautiful plant.

Positive NanaH80 On Oct 12, 2003, NanaH80 wrote:

This plant has been spotted in Arkansas. My neighbor has some growing in her yard and they are extremely beautiful. I hope to soon aquire some bulbs.

Positive TulsaLady On Oct 8, 2003, TulsaLady from Talala, OK (Zone 6b) wrote:

I found this plant close to my greenhouse but I've never bought or obtained a Spider Lily, nor do I own any types of lilies right now.

It's a beautiful plant. I live in zone 6b and it bloomed in mid-September and was very showy. I will transplant it to a nicer location so I can see it more.

Positive CDauphinet On Sep 27, 2003, CDauphinet from New Iberia, LA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Once you put the bulbs in the ground, you can actually forget about them! Their blooming time is not long - 2 to 3 weeks at the most.

The red ones grow wild here - you can find them in ditches, in the middle of yards, etc. I recently found yellow Spider Lilies (Lycoris chinensis) and they are lovely with the red Spider Lilies.

Positive jdndj On Apr 19, 2003, jdndj from Greenville, SC wrote:

This plant is very easy to keep and virtually no mantainance needed. The bulbs divide so I have several plants now. They are hardy plants and can take transplanting with no probelms. I highly recommend it for any garden.

Positive smiln32 On Aug 8, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Lovely addition to any landscape. The small, narrow strap-like blue-green leaves die away in early spring. Then seemingly out of nowhere in August, the 15" tall spikes emerge from underground, topped with a deciduous azalea-like flower of bright red. After the flowers fade, the leaves emerge again and persist until spring, producing food for next year's flowering


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

Albertville, Alabama
Auburn, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama
Cullman, Alabama
Dothan, Alabama
Hayden, Alabama
Holly Pond, Alabama
Jones, Alabama
Lanett, Alabama
Madison, Alabama
Northport, Alabama
Pelham, Alabama
Pell City, Alabama
Smiths, Alabama
Vincent, Alabama
Mesa, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona (2 reports)
Scottsdale, Arizona
El Dorado, Arkansas
Little Rock, Arkansas
Canoga Park, California
Clovis, California
Colton, California
Fresno, California
Lindsay, California
Oakhurst, California
Sacramento, California
Wilmington, Delaware
Brandon, Florida
Brooksville, Florida
Cottondale, Florida
Crestview, Florida
Daytona Beach, Florida
Fountain, Florida
Homosassa, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Lake City, Florida
Milton, Florida
Niceville, Florida
Oldsmar, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
Umatilla, Florida
Albany, Georgia
Blackshear, Georgia
Chatsworth, Georgia
Colbert, Georgia
Columbus, Georgia
Dacula, Georgia
Decatur, Georgia
Fitzgerald, Georgia
Hawkinsville, Georgia
Jesup, Georgia
Macon, Georgia
Mcdonough, Georgia
Norcross, Georgia (2 reports)
Patterson, Georgia
Stone Mountain, Georgia
Thomasville, Georgia
Tifton, Georgia
Wichita, Kansas
Barbourville, Kentucky
Abita Springs, Louisiana
Bordelonville, Louisiana
Bossier City, Louisiana
Carencro, Louisiana
Deridder, Louisiana
Echo, Louisiana
Elm Grove, Louisiana
Franklin, Louisiana
Gonzales, Louisiana
Independence, Louisiana
Logansport, Louisiana
Mandeville, Louisiana
Natchitoches, Louisiana
New Iberia, Louisiana
Paulina, Louisiana
Pearl River, Louisiana
Pineville, Louisiana
Plain Dealing, Louisiana
Scott, Louisiana
Shreveport, Louisiana
Springfield, Louisiana
Zachary, Louisiana
Arnold, Maryland
Knoxville, Maryland
Beverly, Massachusetts
Lincoln Park, Michigan
Brandon, Mississippi
Decatur, Mississippi
Florence, Mississippi
Louisville, Mississippi
Marietta, Mississippi
Mathiston, Mississippi
Olive Branch, Mississippi
Philadelphia, Mississippi
Starkville, Mississippi
Waynesboro, Mississippi
Wiggins, Mississippi
Richmond, Missouri
Saint Robert, Missouri
Stoutland, Missouri
Beaufort, North Carolina
Dudley, North Carolina
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Greenville, North Carolina
Lake Toxaway, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina (2 reports)
Rowland, North Carolina
Snow Hill, North Carolina
Sunbury, North Carolina
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Pond Creek, Oklahoma
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Wagoner, Oklahoma
Conway, South Carolina
Greenville, South Carolina
Hartsville, South Carolina
Lake City, South Carolina
North Augusta, South Carolina
Prosperity, South Carolina
Sumter, South Carolina
Clarksville, Tennessee
Memphis, Tennessee
Middleton, Tennessee
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Sale Creek, Tennessee
Alvin, Texas
Arlington, Texas
Austin, Texas (5 reports)
Baytown, Texas
Belton, Texas
Broaddus, Texas
Bullard, Texas
Cleveland, Texas
Conroe, Texas
Corpus Christi, Texas
Dallas, Texas (3 reports)
Dayton, Texas
Dickinson, Texas
Fate, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Fresno, Texas
Gilmer, Texas
Harker Heights, Texas
Houston, Texas (2 reports)
Huntsville, Texas
Irving, Texas (3 reports)
Lewisville, Texas
Livingston, Texas
Lubbock, Texas
Mont Belvieu, Texas
Nacogdoches, Texas
New Caney, Texas
Palestine, Texas
Port Lavaca, Texas
Port Neches, Texas
Richmond, Texas
Rosharon, Texas
Rowlett, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
Santa Fe, Texas
Terrell, Texas
Wells, Texas
West Columbia, Texas
Willis, Texas
Winnsboro, Texas
Lindon, Utah
Sandy, Utah
Cascade, Virginia
Fredericksburg, Virginia
Norfolk, Virginia
Quilcene, Washington
South Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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