Naked Ladies

Asked July 15, 2015, 3:26 PM EDT

None of our Naked Ladies came up this year as well as many of our friends plant. Will they come back next year or will we have to replant them?

Jefferson County Kentucky floriculture jefferson county kentucky naked lady plants horticulture

1 Response

Naked ladies (or August lilies) are hardworking members of the Amaryllis family (Lycoris squamigera). They can be confusing because the blooms appear like magic at the end of July through mid-August, so it is too early to see the blooms now in mid-July. The flowers seem to appear, with no leaves, on thick green stalks. If the temperature is relatively mild they may last several weeks.

If you are unfamiliar with them you may not recognize the foliage as they appear in the spring. Long, strappy leaves that yellow and die back in June are easily dismissed as the weather warms. The leaves normally appear in my yard about the time I start to see tulips and other spring bulbs begin to show their leaves.

I assume the bulbs were not planted this year. These plants are usually hardy and naturalize easily in most Kentucky soils. They tend to grow best in sun but they will tolerate shade as well. Their bulbs readily multiply and every 4 or 5 years they can be divided to replant or share. Small bulbs will survive although several years of growth may be necessary for them to produce blooms. They have few pests, but squirrels and chipmunks may be tempted by the bulbs.

Although it is possible that the bulbs died through the winter or wildlife may have eaten them, I wouldn't give up on them just yet. In August they just might 'surprise' you!

Feel free to contact our office if you have other questions.

Let me know if I can help you further!

Carol Wilder
Horticulture Technician
Jefferson County Cooperative Extension Service
810 Barret Ave
Louisville KY 40204