Red Spider Lilies

Naked Ladies (Lycoris Radiata)
Naked Ladies (Lycoris Radiata)

The flowers above are Red Spider Lilies (Lycoris radiata). They are also known as Naked Ladies due, obviously, to their long and leafless stems. They’re actually a plant in the amaryllis family and probably originated in China. These plants have been sprouting around our property for all of the eighteen years we’ve lived here. I’m pretty sure they were planted by the previous owners, but since being introduced into the United States these plants have apparently become naturalized in Texas, so perhaps a stray bulb was dropped once upon a time and began multiplying.

Red Spider Lilies are strange plants in a way. In this area they flower from late August through most of September. Then, as the blooms begin to dry up and fade away, long thin leaves emerge from the ground and quickly grow to about twelve inches in height. The leaves remain green through most of the winter before finally withering away. Red Spider Lilies are propagated from bulbs, which are apparently poisonous, something which I wasn’t aware of until recently. They are very hardy plants. They’ve thrived in our yard with very little moisture due to persistent drought and don’t seem to mind extreme heat.

Foliage of Naked Ladies
Foliage of Naked Ladies

2 thoughts on “Red Spider Lilies

  1. After two consecutive nights of hard frost, one of my favorite things in the garden is a long row of Lycoris foliage, green through the winter and gone in late spring. I think I’ll dig more here and there and move this spring to make edgings in more places.


    • I totally agree with you. Unfortunately the cold blast of air that came down this way gave us several nights where the lows hit 20° and we had a dusting of snow, so the foliage currently looks pretty darn limp! A bunch of mine didn’t bloom this year. They’re planted in an area that has slowly become more shaded. Lots of greens but no blooms. One of my resolutions for this winter and spring is to dig these bulbs up and transplant them somewhere where I’ll actually see them bloom.


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