Lycoris: the mysterious flower of death or a simple spider lily?

Licoris (Latin Lycoris) is a floral plant native to Asia. There it is a field flower, which is attributed to mystical properties. Russians grow lycoris in their summer cottages and at home as a pot plant. It takes root, however, not in all regions. In agricultural technology, it can be compared with daffodils and tulips.

The Legend of the Flower of Death

Licoris is the European name for an oriental plant, derived from the name of the beautiful Nereid (sea nymph). According to Asian legend, the flower was looked after by the spirits of the plant world Manju and Saga. The first was responsible for the flowers, the second for the leaves. One day they forgot about the assigned work for the sake of meeting each other. God chose a cruel punishment for lovers: to be close, but not be able to see each other. During the flowering period of lycoris, the leaves dry up, and when they reappear, the flowers are gone.

In Japanese culture, the bright red variety of lycoris is of particular importance.

The Japanese usually plant this flower in the cemetery, use it in mourning ceremonies, because they believe: it grows at the edge of the underground roads of death. Other plant names:

  • manjusaga (in honor of the loving spirits);
  • higanban (meaning: flower of the autumnal equinox);
  • heavenly flower;
  • ghost flower;
  • fox flower;
  • lily of demons;
  • spider lily;
  • flower of the dead;
  • desert Flower;
  • razor flower;
  • hellish flower;
  • flower of death.

Video: exuberant flowering of lycoris

Features of growing an ornamental culture

Licoris is a bulbous perennial up to 70 cm high. The length of the leaves is large (up to 60 cm), but the maximum width is 20 mm. The plant is quite thermophilic, it can winter only in the southern zones. So, it has taken root well in the Krasnodar Territory.

After the summer rest, when the leaves disappear, the bulbs emit flower stalks in the last days of August or in early September. They are rapidly gaining height: in 5 days, arrows can grow up to half a meter. Fragrant bouquets on straight bare stems become a decoration of the garden. In one variety of the fox flower, the filamentous stamens are much longer than the petals, in the other they are almost level.

Due to the unusual stamens, the flowers look like representatives of the spider family.

In nature, licorices bloom anywhere

Lycoris color palette:

  • white;
  • yellow;
  • golden;
  • red;
  • purple;
  • Orange;
  • pink.

The flowering period lasts about 15 days. After wilting, narrow arrow-shaped leaves are formed, which survive until late spring, early June.

After pollination, fruits appear: 3-channel capsules with small black seeds. However, lycoris is usually propagated vegetatively: by daughter bulbs. Many types of seeds do not form, therefore, it is impossible to grow this crop with their help in most cases. Culture bulbs form dense intergrown rhizomes during reproduction - this is good for strengthening the soil.

Examples of use in landscape design

Popular varieties in the photo

Most often, this flower is found in gardens in the south of Russia, less often in the middle lane. Florists prefer several varieties of the ghost flower.

  • Licoris golden. It does not tolerate temperatures below –5 ° C. It is often grown only at home. Its height is slightly more than half a meter. The diameter of the tubular canary-colored flowers is 10 cm. There are usually no more than 6 of them in the inflorescence. Blossoms in May or early June.

The height of the golden flower is about 60 cm

  • Licoris blood red... Short in comparison with other varieties: only 45 cm. Tiny leaves grow from April to June. Scarlet flowers bloom in August. In the peduncle there are usually 5-6 buds with a diameter of 5 cm.

Lycoris sanguinea blooms at the very end of summer

  • Licoris radiant. Highly decorative perennial with long filamentous stamens and unusual petals. The lateral antennae are bent back, and the central petals resemble a wavy arc. Large flowers are pink, white, terracotta (the color of fired clay). The height of the flower arrows reaches 30–70 cm.

Licoris radiant blooms for more than a month

  • Licoris is scaly, or scaly. The coolest species with inflorescences of 8-9 buds. Funnel-shaped flowers smell good. The color of the petals slightly curved back is pale pink with a lilac tint, and the core is yellow. Plant height - 60–70 cm, it reproduces by daughter bulbs. Basal leaves appear at the end of the flowering period.

This variety can survive the winter without shelter.

Video: Licoris radiant in Japan

Licoris planting methods

Breeding lycoris is best done in the fall. The bulbs are planted on the site a month before frost, so that they have time to get used to the soil and put down roots. Some plant in the spring, but then there is a high probability that the capricious plants will get sick and will not bloom next year.

Favorable conditions for growing lycoris:

  • climate similar to natural habitat;
  • well-lit and heated place without stagnant water;
  • protection from drafts, gusts of wind;
  • protection from direct sunlight by partial shade of large deciduous crowns.

Spider lily grows well in the shade of trees

Landing rules:

  1. Choose a suitable site, best with sandy or slightly acidic loose soil.
  2. Remove the weeds and dig it up.
  3. If required, add peat, humus, coarse sand to the ground.
  4. Level the soil.
  5. Make the distance between the holes: 25–30 cm. Cover the bottom of each with a layer of sand.
  6. Plant large bulbs, pressing slightly into the substrate, to a depth of at least 14 cm.
  7. Cover the bulbs with sand, and the remaining empty space with leafy soil.
  8. Tamp the soil in the hole and water abundantly.

Plant care in the garden

Lush licorice will be a real decoration of your garden

Caring for this horticultural crop consists of timely watering, loosening the soil around, pulling out weeds, feeding with nutrients and preparing for winter. From time to time, Lycoris needs a transplant.

During the active growth of peduncles and leaves, plants are watered regularly so that only the upper earthen layer dries out. The lower layers of the soil should always be slightly damp. During the winter dormancy period, watering is not required, during the summer it is reduced to a minimum.

Nutrients are applied in spring and early flowering, and when flowers do not look very healthy. But you should not be zealous in this matter. Preference is given to mineral fertilizers for bulbous crops. Top dressing is applied at the root, after dissolving in several liters of water. The main thing is to follow the instructions on the package. It is better not to add nitrogen, especially in autumn.


There is no need for an annual transplant; with frequent division, the flowers weaken. It is enough to do this every 5 years, following simple rules:

  1. Prepare a new place for the lycoris.
  2. Dig up the bulbs, carefully separate the babies.
  3. Powder the places where they were with wood ash.
  4. Plant in a prepared area.
  5. Do not water the soil during the autumn transplant.

A year or two after transplantation, licorice may not bloom.

Preparing for winter

In late autumn, the dried flowers and leaves of the plant are removed. Bulbs are not dug up for the winter. With deep rooting, they are not afraid of frost, but only on condition that the distance from the bottom to the surface of the site is at least 30 cm. If weather forecasters promise a harsh winter without snow, the flower is covered with dry grass, leaves, spruce branches or agrospam until spring arrives.

The flower does not really like the cold, so shelter does not hurt

Cultivation problems, pests

Licorice is resistant to diseases and all pests except daffodil flies. So that they do not harm, during the period of active growth, the flowers are watered with an insecticidal solution.

Licoris is poisonous, especially its bulbs. In order to comply with safety regulations, flower growers work with him only in thick rubber gloves. It is grown in a place inaccessible to children and pets.

If you do not follow the watering regime, root rot may appear due to excessive moisture in the soil. With prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, the leaves get burns: light, as if burnt out, areas. This is bad for both health and the outward appearance of the culture.

Higanbana - the flower of samurai honor and death in battle

Reviews about the cultivation of lycoris

Licorice is a beautiful plant with a stunning legend. In Japan, in the language of flowers, it means looking forward to a new meeting. With proper care, it pleases gardeners for many years.

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Lycoris (Lycoris) - is a genus of perennial flowering plants belonging to the Amalillis family. There are about 20 types of lycoris. Their homeland is such Asian countries as Japan, Thailand, China and others located in the Jurassic and the east of this part of the world. Several species of these flowers were introduced to the United States, where several of them took root. In the English-speaking states, the flower is called "hurricane lily", and sometimes - "spider". In some sources, the name of Japanese origin is also found - "higanbana".

Planting and caring for licoris

  • Bloom: for two weeks in September-October.
  • Landing: the bulbs are planted in the ground before winter - in September-October.
  • Lighting: penumbra.
  • The soil: sandy, fertilized.
  • Watering: during the period of active growth - regular, after the end of flowering, moisture is stopped.
  • Top dressing: not required, but the plant responds well to mineral complexes for bulbous crops.
  • Reproduction: most often - by daughter bulbs, less often - by seeds.
  • Pests: daffodil flies.
  • Diseases: rot of the bulbs.

Main types of culture

For 2019, 20 species of lycoris have been registered. Only 4 species germinate in Russia:

One peduncle grows from 4 to 6 flowers. The flowers are large, poisonous yellow.

Licoris often becomes an inhabitant of the site and windowsill, due to its significant advantages:

  • unpretentiousness, ease of care
  • practically no pest problems
  • lush bloom
  • multiplies rapidly.

But this plant also has disadvantages that you need to remember:

  • short flowering - about 1 month
  • poisonous
  • requires a well-chosen landing site.

Watch the video: Nerine Lycoris Lily, Hell flower or Red Spider Lily, Gardenia with Hoverflies, Deadwood fungi

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