Lycoris aurea

This bulb, sometimes known as the golden spider lily, belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family, a group of bulbs which generally do very well in our climate. This species comes from China and Japan and resembles the South African Nerine. The flower spikes appear suddenly in March, seeming to come up overnight from nowhere, and are most exotic, with narrow ruffled petals of brilliant golden-yellow and long whiskery stamens on thick stems 40-60cm tall. They are the most unpredictable of bulbs, seeming to be quite affected by seasonal factors, but when they do appear, they are spectacular.

They seem to flower best after a hot, dry summer (though I have also experienced a very good flowering season after an extremely wet summer!); however, they are apparently woodland bulbs and are best grown in semi-shade with morning sun, with their necks buried. However, I have seen them flowering brilliantly in a sunny open area (as pictured in the garden shown above). They prefer to be left undisturbed to form clumps. They are dormant over summer until they bloom, so should be kept fairly dry at that time, but enjoy a little moisture during their winter-spring growing period. They lose their leaves in the warmer weather, and these do not appear until after flowering. They benefit from some bulb fertiliser when the foliage is in active growth. They are somewhat frost sensitive. They are excellent as cut flowers.

Flowers in February, March.