Surprise Lily is the September 2017 Plant of the Month for Boulder Colorado landscapes

sept 2017 surprise lily


Lycoris squamigera is a beautiful lily that will appear out of nowhere…hence the name ‘Surprise’ Lily!  The leaves are small and will appear in spring and die back in the heat of summer….then out of nowhere will come the flowers in July and August.  This gardener is exploring a garden in an old farm home and came across this specimen this August.  An area had been cleared of brush, old roses, and other undesirables when one morning this beautiful specimen appeared!  What a surprise.

Surprise Lily will thrive in zones 5-9, so they are well suited for the Front Range and will do well in any Boulder Colorado landscape.  They like full sun to part shade.  Like all lilies they like well-drained soil, but have often been found to thrive in our clay soils just fine, provided they get a bit of fertilizer every few years.  There are many different colors available.  There are heirloom varieties and newer cultivars as well.  They will not bloom the first couple years when planted, but they will bloom on the third year and later, so be sure to mark where you plant them.  They do not need any extra water, and in fact, will thrive better if just left alone.

Find them mostly in catalogs or dig some up in a friend’s garden.  Apparently they multiply and need dividing after five years, but this gardener must wait and see.  It will be fun to thin them and move around to other locations.  What a surprise!

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