How To Grow Red Spider Lily (Lycoris radiata) In Your Garden

Lycoris radiata, commonly known as Red Spider Lily or Hurricane Lily, is a bulbous perennial that is cherished for its late summer to early fall blooms.

Lycoris radiata flowers
Lycoris radiata picture by houroumono; CC.

Be aware that this plant also has the names of the Death flower and the Corpse flower. It got its name because it is so toxic that it was often used to deter animals from grazing in graveyards. Thus it is no surprise that all above earth parts of this plant are very toxic, and should not be grown in a garden if you have pests and inquisitive children! Now back to the Lycoris radiata growing guide.

Lycoris radiata typically grows to a height of 1 to 1.5 feet (30 to 45 cm), with a similar spread.

Red Spider Lily blooms can be great to add an exciting burst of color in late summer when many other plants in your garden are beginning to fade.

Plants have striking flowers, which are red and spider-like in appearance. These appear on naked stems before foliage emerges. The leaves, which are strappy and dark green, appear once flowers have faded.

The plant has a hardy nature to USDA Zones 6 to 10. Interestingly, although the plant can be frost-hardy in warm-summer climates (where the bulbs will get time to harden off), it is only classed as being half-hardy in the UK.

It will thus require to be grown under glass or provided with shelter from the elements to get it through the winter.

Red Spider Lily flower
Close-up of Red Spider Lily flower photograph by Y.K.Tarabagani; CC.

As far as garden location is concerned, it can make an excellent choice for borders, cottage gardens, or for naturalizing in lawns.

How to Grow Lycoris radiata in the Garden

Red Spider Lily prefers to grow in a location with full sun to partial shade. It will thrive in a well-drained soil. Plants are tolerant of a variety of soil types – from sand to clay.

Lycoris radiata plants are grown from bulbs. These should be planted in late summer or early fall. Plant the bulbs at about 3 to 5 inches (7.5 to 12.5 cm) deep. Space then at 5 to 8 inches (12.5 to 20 cm) apart. Planting in groups greatly enhances their visual impact.

Once established, Red Spider Lily requires minimal care. Water moderately during the growing season. Reduce watering after leaves have died back. This plant does not usually need fertilization.

It's worth noting that Lycoris radiata is generally pest-free and resistant to deer and rabbits.

Once again, remember that all parts of the plant are toxic if ingested, so keep out of reach from children and pets.

Title: Quick Lycoris radiata Growing and Care Guide

Scientific Name: Lycoris radiata.

Common Names: Red spider lily, Hurricane lily, Red magic lily, Corpse flower, Equinox flower.

Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): USDA Zones: 6-10. RHS Hardiness Rating: H4 (Not frost hardy).

Best Used For / Garden Location: Suitable for borders, under trees or in containers. Prefers a sunny to partly shaded location.

Plant Details

Life Cycle / Plant Type: Perennial bulb.

Plant Height: 12-18 inches (30-45 cm).

Plant Spread: 6-9 inches (15-22.5 cm).

Blooms: Late summer to early autumn.

Flower Details: Spider-like, bright red flowers appear before the foliage.

Leaf Foliage: Strap-like, green leaves appear after the flowers.

Fruit: Small, black fruit but not generally noticeable.

Growing Conditions and Location

Best Light Conditions: Full sun to partial shade.

Suitable Soil Types: Well-drained, fertile, and slightly acidic to neutral soil.

Sowing / planting: Plant bulbs 3-5 inches deep in late summer or early autumn.

Germination time: Foliage appears in the spring, but flowers don't appear until late summer.

Propagation: Propagate by bulb division in summer after the foliage has died down.

Plant Care: Low maintenance. Remove spent flowers and let leaves die down naturally.

Growing in pots and containers: Suitable for containers. Ensure good drainage and don't overwater.

Growing as a House plant: Not typically grown as a houseplant.

Further Information

Miscellaneous: Resistant to deer and rabbits. Can naturalize in suitable climates. Known for its late summer burst of color.

Pests and diseases: Generally disease and pest-free. Watch for bulb rot in poorly drained soils.

Common Cultivars / Varieties: There are no commonly grown cultivars of Lycoris radiata. Variations mostly occur in the wild.

Family: Amaryllidaceae, the Amaryllis family.

Native: Native to China, Japan, and Korea.

References and Further Reading: Tennessee & Kentucky Plant Atlas; Clemson HGIC.

Common Questions

Does Lycoris radiata make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Lycoris radiata, known as Red spider lily, can be an excellent choice for a pet-free garden. Its unique, vibrant red flowers provide a stunning display in late summer to early fall.

Is Lycoris radiata a fragrant plant?

Although many varieties of Lycoris are fragrant, Lycoris radiata itself does not have a strong scent. It is primarily used in the garden for its striking, spider-like flowers.

What is the perfect location to grow Lycoris radiata?

Locate Lycoris radiata in an area subject to full sun to partial shade, and a well-draining soil. It is great for borders, cottage gardens, and for naturalizing lawns and woodland areas.

Is Lycoris radiata invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Lycoris radiata is not considered invasive in the USA. Although it can naturalize over time in optimal conditions, it does not usually pose a significant threat to native plant communities.

How do I remove Lycoris radiata from my garden?

To remove Lycoris radiata from your garden, wait until the foliage has died back, then dig up the bulbs. Remove all bulbs to prevent regrowth.


Lycoris radiata, is a plant native to East Asia that is commonly known as the Red spider lily. It thrives in full sun to partial shade conditions that have a well-drained soil. Blooms are radiant with spider-like flowers. These occur in late summer or early autumn.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this guide on how to grow Lycoris radiata. You may also enjoy the following Amaryllis family growing guides: How to grow Rain Lily, Allium Globemaster, Amaryllis belladonna, and Amaryllis plants in the garden.