Lycoris radiata (L’Hér.) Herb. is the correct and accepted scientific name for the Spider Lily. It was described as such by William Herbert in Botanical Magazine in 1819. It was first described as Amaryllis radiata by Charles Louis L’Héritier de Brutelle in Sertum Anglicum in 1788.
One afternoon in September 2009, I was mowing the front yard at the mansion and saw several of these AWESOME red flowers. I had never seen any like them before! SO, I stopped mowing and went inside and got the camera. I had only been in Mississippi for about nine months at the time, and I was always running across something new. Although there were only a few in my yard, there were other yards with LOTS of them. A lot of people there call them Naked Ladies, but their true common name is Spider Lily.
The leaves of Lycoris radiata come up in the fall and remains evergreen throughout the winter. The bulb then goes dormant in the spring. The bulbs are hardy in my zone here in mid-Missouri, but if the winters are too cold they may not flower. I guess there is a difference between “bulb hardiness” and “flower hardiness”.
According to the Missouri Botanical Garden (USDA Zone 6a), bulbs should be planted so their “necks” are above ground. Burying the bulbs too deep will result in poor flowering. After flowering, the leaves appear.
ZONES: USDA Zones 6-10
FLOWERS: Red flowers August and September
LIGHT: Full sun to part shade
There is a white flowered species available called Lycoris albiflora.
Someday I may have to purchase a few Lycoris radiata and give them a try here on the farm. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you.