United States Edition

Spider lily     

Lycoris radiata

Spider lily is a plant which belongs to the Lycoris genus. The origin of this plant's scientific name epithet (radiata) means 'radiate'.

Folliage appears in fall and will die back in spring and during late summer they bloom and just “appear” as stems with flowers. When dormant they just appear as bare ground. Note; Do not cut back yellowing/dieing leaves, this will harm the plant.

Toxicity: All though it is said to be low these bulbs contain the alkaloid poison lycorine which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions and sometimes death in humans and other animals. 1

Blooms appear in these approximate colours:   Red-orange and   Carmine red. When mature, blooms are roughly 16.5 cm (that's 6.43 inches in imperial) in diameter.The mature flowers are of a spider form. Leaves appear approximately as a   Dark spring green and   Kelly green colour. It is a flower / ornamental that typically grows as a perennial, which is defined as a plant that matures and completes its lifecycle over the course of three years or more. Spider lily is known for its clump-forming habit and growing to a height of approximately 30.48 cm (11.89 inches). This plant tends to bloom in late summer. This plant is a great attractor for butterflies and birds, so if you are looking to attract wildlife Spider lily is a great choice.

China is believed to be where Spider lily originates from.

Spider lily is known to be toxic to humans and/or animals, so be careful where you position and how you handle this plant.

As Spider lily is a low maintanence plant, it is great for beginner gardeners and those that like gardens that don't need much overseeing.

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Spider lily have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Spider lily

  • Partial Sun

    OR +
  • Full Shade

  • Low

Spider lilies do well in containers and also in the garden. They prefer dappled shade. Spider lilies tolerate dry soil.

Do not prune these lilies let them die back on their own.

Spider lilies are quite adaptable to most any soil as well as lighting from sun to shade. You can even effect blooming times by sun vs shade planting. In the shade they will bloom a couple of weeks earlier then the ones in sun. There blooms are great for arrangements as they hold up longer than most any flowers. 3

Try to plant in a location that enjoys partial sun / full shade and remember to apply water fairly sparingly. Use Zone 6 - Zone 10 as your guideline for the appropriate climate for this plant. Ensure your soil is sandy, potting mix and clay and has a ph of between 5.5 and 7.5 as Spider lily is a weakly acidic soil - weakly alkaline soil loving plant. Keep in mind when planting that Spider lily is thought of as hardy, so this plant will survive close to or on freezing temperatures.

See our list of companion Plants for Spider lily to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.

Growing Spider lily from seed

These are sterile non seed forming but rather clump forming producing bulbs.

Try to aim for a seed spacing of at least 5.85 inches (15.0 cm) and sow at a depth of around 7.8 inches (20.0 cm).

By our calculations*, you should look at sowing Spider lily about 0 days after your last frost date .

Transplanting Spider lily

It is best to transplant dormant bulbs in September but growing plants can be planted throughout their active growing time. This can deter blooming for a season or two. 1

Ensure that temperatures are mild and all chance of frost has passed before planting out, as Spider lily is a hardy plant.

By our calculations*, you should look at planting out Spider lily about 0 days after your last frost date.

Harvesting Spider lily

These plants are not harvested other than thinning of bulbs to prevent over crowding or for moving plants to another location and/or collecting bulbs for sale or swap but they are unedible and very toxic so use care when handling bulbs. Keep bulbs out of reach of children and pets.

Seed Saving Spider lily

There are no seeds with this Lily. Divide clumps to transplant and to improve health of existing plants. Over crowding will prevent or cause inconsistant blooming.

Common Spider lily problems

These problems, diseases and pests are known to affect Spider lily plants:

Spider lily disease, leaf spot diseas, mealy bugs,

This plant is toxic and is actually used to deter rodents and it is deer resistant.

Spider lily Etymology

Many common names for it in Chinese translant to “stone garlic” due to their garlic like bulbs.

Spider lily Folklore & Trivia

In Cantonese Lycoris radiata is called chung kwai fa , which is a grim jest that those who eat it in mistaking it for garlic will fall prey to Chung Kwai, who is said to capture ghosts. 2

Other names for Spider lily

Hurricane lily, Red spider lily, Surprise lily, Magic lily, Resurrection lily, Naked lady, Schoolhouse lily, Guernsey lily

Lycoris radiata (L'HÈr.) Herbert

Spider lily care instructions

How long does Spider lily take to grow?

These estimates for how long Spider lily takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world. Start logging and journaling your observations to participate!

When should I plant Spider lily?

Our when to plant Spider lily estimates are relative to your last frost date. Enter your frost dates and we'll calculate your sowing and planting dates for you!


1 “University of Florida post on Hurricane lilies”http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep255

2 “Notes on Lycoris species”http://www.bulgap.co.kr/lyco/paper1.html

3 “Red spider lily”http://www.plant-care.com/spider-lilies-autumn-umbrellas.html

Popular varieties of Spider lily

View the complete variety list for Spider lily »

Spider lily Forums

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