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Who is Naked in the Garden? The Naked Lily

Written by Mindy on September 12th, 2013

The Naked Lily (Lycoris squamigera) is the Hatfield and McCoy’s’ version of plant material.  What I mean by this is that while the leaves and flowers grow in the same soil, in the same location, they do not come up at the same time.

In the early spring, you can find the amaryllis-shaped leaves breaking the soil.  By early summer, the leaves are turning yellow and dying away.   Then around mid July to early August, a little surprise begins to appear.  The wonderfully smelling flowers break ground and shoot up skyward supported on 2-foot height naked stems, which simply means no leaves.  What tops these stems is a cluster of 6 to 8 pink funnel shaped flowers.

If you would like a little naughty nakedness in your garden, do not fret.  These naked lilies are very easy to grow and are not picky about their soil type.  They like any soil that is dry and in a sunny to partially shady location is best.  Once you have bulbs, plant them in mass verses in rows during the summer months.  This gives a bigger bang for your planting buck the following year.  The bulbs will need to be planted 4 to 6 inches deep and 3 to 6 inches apart.  Prior to placing the bulb in the ground, do not forget to add a good portion of bonemeal to each hole.

In 5 years, the bulbs will need to be dug up and separated.  While mature bulbs are about 2 inches in diameter, do not just plant those bulbs.  All bulbs will flower with the smaller ones taking up to 3 years to bloom.

Looking for some planting ideas to combine with the Naked Lily, then consider hostas, red leafed barberry, and even daylilies.

If you are looking for a unique plant for an annual container garden, look no farther than the Naked Lily.  To utilize this plant in a container garden, dig up the bulbs after the foliage has died back.  Once that has happened, dig up and plant in the container garden.  Add a few bronze leafed begonias, salvia, baby’s breath, and snap dragons to the mix for a colorful combination.

Once the flowers bloom, allow them to remain until the stalk begins to yellow.  If you would like to move them indoors, do not hesitate.  They have a long vase life if processed correctly.  But if you allow them to remain on the stalk, they can be a welcome mat to night flying moths that pollinate the flowers.  If you would like to try your hand at planting Naked Lily seeds, allow the flowers to stay on the stalk until papery pods form.  Pick and place in a dry location until the pods crack open.  Once that happens, sprinkle the seeds over the garden soil and water in.  Come the following spring, the seeds will germinate and produce a beautiful crop of leaves followed by the naked flowers.

 

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