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Red Spider Lily – 13 Growing and Caring Tips(Lycoris Radiata)

Red spider lily, also known as Lycoris radiata, hurricane lily, surprise lily, equinox flower belongs to the amaryllis Family. Red spider lilies are popularized in Southern United states and are native to Asian countries. They can reach to height of 40-70 cm (15-28 inches) tall and 1.5 ft wide and are thriving perennials. They are unique in their growing habits, like when most plants go into dormancy. These spider lilies wake up in September to October months to get to its feet and grow. Generally the beautiful bloom stays healthy for two weeks then turns to pink color. 

The plant seems to look like a reddish bulb. It has a long stalk where the petals are curled up with curly stamina as well. Its leaves drop down in the summer while they bloom in autumn. 

When I say it’s perennial due to its re-growing nature because it keeps coming back every year with the same beautiful blooms.

Scientific Name Lycoris radiata
Common Name Red spider lily, equinox flower, hurricane lily, surprise lily
Native Japan And Southeastern China
USDA Hardiness Zones 6 – 10
Toxicity Yes, Poisonous to Humans
Height 1-2 ft. Tall
Width 1-1.5 ft. wide
Bloom Time Late summer, early fall
Flower Color Red
Planting Depth 2 inches soil above the bulb
PRICE $5 to $40
Smell None
Plant Type Perennial
Soil Type Any Fertile Soil With Good Draining
Sunlight Partial Shade to Full Sun
Resistant Deer’s and other animals

Higanbana, also known as red spider lilies, are a genus of flowering plants in the family Amaryllidaceae, native to Asia. They are often planted in gardens and naturalized in some areas. They have a long history of use in traditional Japanese culture, where they are used as a symbol of death and rebirth. These flowers also have a long history of use in Buddhism, where they are considered a sacred flower.

Varieties of red spider lilies

Red spider lilies belonging to Genus Lycoris are divided into 2 groups based on the time of foliage fall. Lycoris radiata (red spider lily) leaves appear in fall while the leaves of lycoris squamigera come in spring. This makes both varieties different from each other. Spring lycoris can grow in zone 3 while the winter lycoris thrives in zone 6b. There are few other flowering colors that lycoris produce which are white, pink, yellow and red spider lilies that have long stem. These flowers are special because they show up when other flowers die. 

Is red spider lily toxic?

Red Spider Lily : Everything You Sh...
Red Spider Lily : Everything You Should Know Before Planting

Red spider lilies are mildly toxic to humans because they contain a poisonous substance called lycorine. In Japan it is used by the ancient people to protect the rice paddies from the wild rats and other animals. Most common symptoms include vomiting, pain in abdominal part, nausea and much more. The Poisonous part is roots so better most animals avoid it. There is an amazing view of rice paddies with spider lilies growing side by side when the lycoris blooms.

Source 1 & 2.

How to use red spider lilies in the garden?

Red spider lilies can be used as an ornamental plant in gardens. It is an amazing orange-red bloom which makes the lawn more attractive, adds bright colors, texture & can be grown with different foliage in the garden. The bulbs are planted in early spring and the lilies emerge in fall. They are hardy to zone 4-9. Planting directly in the soil or dig the hole first and add 1/8 cup of granular fertilizer which will provide the initial nutrients to your plant.

They are also used in treating problems related to nervous system disorders, ulcers and swelling. You can plant these with spring blossom because once they are spent, lycoris will flower.

Are Red Spider Lilies deer resistant? 

Deers will eat red spider lilies if they are hungry. They are definitely resistant to the foliage but with those orange and red blooms they will come forward due to the attraction of flowers. Deer only leave those ornamental plants which have either thorons or have a bad scent. To answer your question, it really depends on the deer because they can eat spider lilies only if they are still hungry or couldn’t find plants that can fulfill her hunger. I know that humans even ate the tulips and other flowers at the time of no food crisis in ancient civilization. But today we have all the food that can be cooked and detoxify it to make it edible. Deer find green plants more edible and they will definitely eat it but for red spider lilies which are red in color they may get attracted but won’t eat it unless she has an empty stomach.

13 Tips to Grow Red spider lily

Red Spider lily

Growing a red spider lily needs a fixed location to grow them. Fertilizer which has high nitrogen, watering, Light given to make it grow best. 

These red spider lilies want a location which is permanent which has sufficient light. They don’t like to move often so make sure before buying the bulbs you have already selected a location for them.

A bulb needs to be placed with its neck on the topsoil and other parts at the bottom. Do not bury soil over the neck; it should be open but everything else can be buried with soil. This way it will definitely grow. 

Other than that below i have explained Its growing and caring tips needs:


Perfect plants in autumn, lycoris radiata (red spider lily) is an attractive perennial garden plant that looks like an inverted umbrella with red color. It has curled petals & invard long stamens. They grow upto 25 inches (60cm) tall and spread upto 18 inches (45cm). The flower blooms on a naked stem and you can expect the wonderful reddish bloom in late summer to early fall. They are deer resistant and can attract many flies and birds. They are native to Japan & it is also known by the name equinox flower, red magic lily, red surprise lily. 


These bulbous plants are sold in many ecommerce websites and the price range of red spider lilies is $8 to $40. It depends on the charges of worldwide shipping. In the USA you can get it for $13 to $25.


Propagation of red spider lily is an easy process where you need to divide newly grown bulbs. It can be noticed once you see there is not much space left on the potting soil. Dug up the soil and gently cut and separate the bulb. Then replant it into a new pot with fresh soil mix. The best time to divide spider lily bulbs is the summer season due to the fact that they are still in dormancy. Diving them in other seasons would lower its growth that may lead to no flowering for a few more seasons.

One more thing, If your plant bulbs have roots then they might establish the rooting system easily which increases the chance of it blooming in the upcoming season. But when they don’t have roots then it takes 2 years for the red spider lilies to bloom because it takes a good amount of time to establish roots.

When doing the propagation, do not harm the existing bulbs and only cut off those bulbs that are new babies. These rhizomes may help us create a new spider lily plant.


One of the important thing is light requirements in red spider lily. As you know these plants prefer partial shade to full sun. For those growing it in full sun may need to give the plant regular water while those who transfer it to partial shade area may see good growth, more bloom and rich color. You can also test this because in my case the plant that has been left in partial shade gives better results and produce bright flowers.


Basically the flowers are in red color. They have long nacked stem with curly stamens and curled inward petals. They are mostly popular in Japan because these plants have been used in ancient history to get rid of rats from the rice paddies, an essential crop that was produced in bulk.

Planting instructions

Here the few planting instructions that will help the people to grow red spider lily from initial days:


  1. Bulbs should be planted in a new fertile soil.
  2. Plant the bulbs with its head to the top and the roots at the bottom position.
  3. Cover the bulb with another thin layer of soil. 
  4. It takes 20-30 days to see any real foliage so be patient.
  5. After planting, It takes 70 to 80 days to see bright green foliage and your plant may be looking good in this condition.



Red spider lilies should be watered mostly during the growing season and you need to avoid watering in summers. The early summers had the plant go into dormancy which makes it stop or slow down the growing process so low watering otherwise it can lead to bulb rot. Fungal infection may also cause the leaves to turn yellow so as to avoid overwatering. Moderate watering in late summers required. If you placed it in full sun then it needs regular watering otherwise partial shade plants only need water once a week or whenever the soil is dry.


Before flowering, your plant needs high nitrogen nutrients in spring. Use a good fertilizer that has more Nitrogen than the p, k value. Once the blooms are spent it needs phosphorus and potassium which will establish good rootings and make your plant root strong. It will help the plant to tolerate the winter cold. 


It is hardy to zone 6 and 7 and that is why whenever someone ask me about its care, I tell them the based on the colder temperature areas you need to protect the bulbs from getting rot. People living on zone 2-4 needs to take extra attention as the winter cold can be a harmful thing for your red spider lily. Once the plant fully spent its flower blooms they may grow leaves throughout the winters until the spring. so temperature and season keep on changing. I just need to protect in winters by taking the plant indoors in warm temperature.


Use organic compost, perlite and ground soil to make a soil mix. You can also directly order some good potting soil from the market as well. Also planting multiple plants you should plant them about 8 inch apart from each other.


Toxicity is low for red spider lily and more harmful part is the bottom roots. Humans can get pain in the abdomen. Some of the common signs include vomiting, nausea if anyone has eaten it.

Pests and diseases

They are resistant to pests but the roots are not immune because they can get fungal infection due to root rot. Avoid overwatering to get any infections in red spider lilies. Always prune off the spent flower or leaves to distance the plant from any bugs.


Pruning is generally not needed in these plants but you can do the trimming once the plant leaves are completely dried out and there are no signs of growth in it. If they are yellow it means either there is a problem or your plant is supplying nutrients for the next season’s bloom.

Wrap Up

I hope my viewers got all the information on red spider lilies. Also check out my article on spider lily meaning & symbolism.

Amelia Clark

I am Amelia Clark, An experienced gardener with 6 years expertise and this is my blog talk about plants and flowers. See more about me.

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