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Surprise Lilies

posted Jul 21, 2013, 7:08 PM by James Roe   [ updated Aug 10, 2013, 4:43 PM ]
Surprise lilies, resurrection lilies, naked ladies, whatever you call them are beautiful additions to the home landscape.  I inherited some when we moved into our new home but didn't recognize it until they came up this spring.  When they emerge after winter, they have large strap-like leaves that don't do anything - they just grow well and eventually they die back.  The magic comes in late July or early August when tall flower spikes topped with gorgeous pink flowers appear, seemingly from nowhere.  Here is a picture I pulled off the Internet.

(The leaves you see here do not belong to the lilies.)

My problem was that the surprise lilies were not in the best place for my newly evolving flower bed scheme.  How, and when, to move them?  A quick Google of "surprise lilies" soon informed me that there are many different flowers by that local name but the scientific name for positive identification is Lycoris squamigera.  There are lots of posts that indicate the bulbs can be dug and transplanted any time there are no leaves present - which is now (July).  

So I excavated the unsuitable site.  I found the bottom of the bulbs was nearly a foot deep and I dug them out with my bare hands to avoid cutting or damaging them with a spade.  They are handsome bulbs (see picture) and the long necks make me think those are the budding flower spikes about to make their appearance.  I replanted them where I am more happy but not quite as deep as they were previously situated - bottoms of the bulbs are about 6 inches.  I poured a dilute mixture of Miracle Grow starting fertilizer (highest in phosphate) over them and can only hope that the flowers will still come out.  I'll add a photo later if they do.  (see below)

Here is the first one to bloom in its new location.