At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What is a Resurrection Lily?

Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers

Those seeking hardy ornamental plants that feature bulbs and can survive both frosty winters and warm summers may be interested in the Resurrection lily. This herbaceous plant is also often called the Surprise lily, Naked lady, Magic lily, and more formally, the Lycoris squamigera. This plant features pink and magenta flowers that bloom in the late summer or early fall, when most flowers are no longer blooming. The Resurrection lily is not only quite low maintenance, but can also be considered invasive, as it grows easily on its own. This may be considered a disadvantage for those without time to keep it in check, as is the fact that parts of it are poisonous.

This plant often grows to a height of about 18 inches (45.7 cm), with flower blooms that measure about 3 inches (7.6 cm) across. It is recommended that the Resurrection lily be planted about 6 inches (15.2 cm) away from other plants, though more space may be advised since this plant grows quickly. The flower is bulb-shaped, and is often white, light pink, or magenta in color. The foliage of this plant is smooth, and tends to sprout in the late spring or early summer, which is in contrast to the summer and fall-blooming flowers. In fact, the foliage usually recedes just before the flower blooms, which is why one of its names is the Naked lady, as the flower looks quite bare without its leaves.

Man mowing the grass
Man mowing the grass

It is best to plant the Resurrection lily in full sun, with well-drained soil that is neutral, mildly alkaline, or mildly acidic. This plant particularly enjoys hot, dry climates, and only needs a little water, even during the summer. Though it tends to dry up temporarily in very cold climates, it is usually able to come back after being exposed to frost, which makes it quite hardy and able to thrive in nearly any area.

One negative aspect of the Resurrection lily is the fact that parts of it are poisonous, particularly the bulb. Therefore, small animals that ingest it may end up with symptoms of gastroenteritis, though serious treatment is rarely necessary. In addition, this plant may be considered dangerous to other plants since it tends to spread of its own accord, threatening to take over entire gardens and yards if allowed. Finally, another downside of the Resurrection lily is its unpredictability, as it may bloom one year and not again for a couple of years, with no apparent rhyme or reason. Therefore, despite the beauty and hardiness of this plant, only those prepared for these negative aspects should plant it in their yard.

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Man mowing the grass
      Man mowing the grass