The Q&A Archives: Magic Lily

Question: I obtained some bulbs from my deceased father's yard.
He always called the plants Magic Lilys. The leaves of the plants come up in spring. They look similar to iris leaves except they are more rounded at the point and are thicker. The leaves stay around until around August and then they die back. A large stem two to three feet tall rises out of the remains of the leaves. It has one large pink lily-like flower on it. After the flower dies the plant is almost non-existent the rest of the year until the next spring. Do you have any idea on the real name of this plant and any tips for it's continued health? Thank you.

Answer: Lycoris squamigera is the Magic Lily. It grows 24" tall and the bulbs should be spaced 5" apart. Magic Lily needs a protective mulch in cold winter areas. The bulb produces strap-like leaves which are gone by the time the flowers appear. Magic lily likes a sunny location and a well-drained soil. Plant in August before flowering with the neck of the bulb just above the soil. Once the bulbs are established don't dig and replant or blooming will stop for a season.

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