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Spider Lillies

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Hello, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. At a  home in Saint Matthews, dating from 1880, the yard is now  naturalized. But in the fall, you can see where the formal beds from probably a century ago were the planted. Almost overnight, usually after a good, drenching rain, twelve to fifteen inch tall brilliant red spider lilies, Lycoris radiata,  pop up and continue blooming for almost a month. Unlike most bulbs, the foliage doesn’t emerge until after the flowers have finished blooming.   These bulbs originated in China and Korea and then made their way to Japan where a ship’s captain found them so attractive  he brought several back to the United States. From what I’ve read, they don’t set seeds, having babies takes a lot of nutrients that’s why people dead-heading other bulbs after they flowers. Lycoris put that energy into bulb production and making larger clumps. 

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.