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BONNIE’S GARDEN – A Fall Surprise

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

Surprise Lilies, Magic Lilies, Resurrection Lilies, Naked Ladies, Spider Lilies, Hurricane Lilies—these are all nicknames given to various types of Lycoris.

Lycoris are strong perennials that send up lush foliage in the spring, which then dies down, then blooms late summer without foliage—hence the nicknames Surprise Lilies, Magic Lilies or Naked Ladies.

Because they bloom late summer/early fall at the beginning of hurricane season, they are sometimes called Hurricane Lilies. There is a pretty bright red spidery-flowered one sometimes called Spider Lily.

Lycoris are very easy to grow members of the amaryllis family which means, like daffodils (another amaryllis family member) they are not bothered by voles, squirrels or deer. Like daffodils, the bulbs will split and divide over time making bigger, prettier clumps.

The bulbs are available now and can be planted right away. Plant them with the neck of the bulb at the soil surface in a spot where they will receive six hours or more of sunlight. Mulch with a loose fluffy mulch over the winter, but be sure to remove the mulch when the bulbs begin to come up in the spring.

Other Options

There are other fall blooming bulbs that can be planted now. Fall-blooming crocus is related to the pretty early-spring blooming crocus which brightens our yards in February/March. Fall crocuses bloom in October and can be planted four inches deep in drifts right in lawns or anywhere you want fresh pretty fall color.

One fall blooming crocus is the Crocus Sativus or Saffron Crocus. This is the flower from which the costly spice Saffron is obtained. But it’s also a pretty lavender-pink flower in its own right.

Another pretty fall bloomer is the Colchicum. It’s sometimes called Autumn Crocus—but it’s not related. Colchicums have crocus-like flowers in rose-pink that are about 8 to 10 inches tall.  They’ve very easy bloomers—even blooming unpotted on a windowsill.

When they’re done blooming, just plant them four inches deep in a sunny spot for beautiful fresh color every fall. This is another one not usually bothered by four-legged pests.

All of these are beautiful perennial fall color. Plant once and enjoy them every year!

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