Spider lily
Spider lily

Spider lily has the Latin name Lycoris Radiata. These plants come from mainland China, Korea. The flower then entered Japan and thrived in the Ryukyu Islands. In Japan, they are often referred to as Higanbana flowers. The leaves and flowers of the higanbana never grow together. When the flowers bloom, the leaves fall down. When the leaves grow green, it turns the flowers to wither. It creates the background of a sad legend about lovers who can never be together.

Long ago, two fairies were in charge of guarding the higanbana that grew in Diyu (hell). Manju was in charge of protecting the flowers, while Saka was ordered to look after Dewi Amaterasu’s leaves. Both of them were prohibited from leaving their respective places. One day, the two fairies met out of curiosity when the higanbana leaves grew to reach the flower petals. They fell in love at first sight.

Unfortunately, their meeting was discovered by Amaterasu. The goddess was angry because the two fairies did not heed her orders. Amaterasu also cursed the two of them to never meet again. Since then, the flowers that Manju guarded never grew simultaneously as the Saka leaves.

What does the Spider Lily symbolize?

Spider lily
Rad and White Spider lilies

Generally, each flower has its meaning for life, like roses, which have a sense of love and romance. Each flower of different colors also has its meaning and symbol. In Japan, the flower symbolizes the negative and positive sides.

White spider lily has the Latin name Hymenocallis. The meaning of the flower is protection, rebirth, tragic love, as well as beauty. White spider lily symbolism is a symbol of innocence and purity, in contrast to red spider lily that means death as well as separation. Higanbana comes from the word “higan” which means the afterlife, a place where spirits who have left the human world gather. Besides having the meaning of death, this flower also means farewell. Japanese people cellebrates the Autumn equinox by performing ceremonial rituals at ancestral graves and planting red spider lilies near graves as a form of respect.

What does Spider Lilies smell like?

This perennial bulb grows flowers that give off a soft fragrance but don’t sting. Its thin, curved petals add an eye-catching texture and exotic appeal to a landscape. The fact that the flowers has a soft sweet fragrance is a bonus.

Do Spider Lilies need full sun?

Because of the flowers’ beauty and uniqueness, many flower enthusiasts want to grow their spider lily at home. The plant is a weak plant with high temperature. The maximum temperature that the lily can tolerate is 27 degrees. So place them where it can be exposed to sunlight in the morning and under the shades in the afternoon. So, to avoid failing to grow due to high temperatures, plant them in late spring.

Are Spider Lilies poisonous?

Spider lily
White Spider lilies

Higanbana has poisonous bulbs. The poison of this plant is quite dangerous, so many farmers usually plant it on the edge of rice fields. The aim is to prevent rats and various other pests from approaching rice. Before the Japanese got used to the cremation procession, they planted spider lilies around the graves. By planting spider lilies, it is hoped that these flowers will prevent wild animals from preying on fresh human bodies. That causes the spider lily to be associated or symbolized as the flower of death.

Do Spider Lilies bloom every year?

Spider lily plants are perennial plants that can grow back after the blooming season is over. The flower blooms in late summer to early fall. After the blooming season is over, remove all wilted flowers and leaves to keep the bulbs from rotting. Besides getting rid of withered flowers and leaves, you also have to get rid of pests around the plant. It is done so that plants with pests fight for nutrients in the soil.

After several blooming seasons, the space in the pot gets smaller so you have to repot new bulbs. Move the bulbs to a new place and soil. You should at least do this every three years. Re-potting aims to prevent the bulbs from rot due to a lack of nutrients in the soil whose nutrients have been taken during the planting period.

How to plant and grow the gorgeous flower?

Spider lily
Red Spider lilies

To grow the plant, you should start from the bulbs. If you are interested in growing them at home, then here’s a guide on how to plant it correctly:

1. Location and Soil

Selection of the right location and good soil conditions are the keys to growing spider lilies. Even though the plant is a perennial plant, you must still choose a location that gets morning and afternoon sun but is shady in the afternoon. Soil conditions must be loose and well-drained. Because the plant is suitable for decorating flower beds in your home, try pairing them with other types of flowers such as tulips.

2. Placing

When placing the bulbs, dig a deep hole and then plant the spider lily bulbs. Place the bulb 8 inches deep but position the neck just above the soil level. Because if not, the plants cannot grow and flower. Then give each bulb 12 inches apart to allow them to absorb nutrients from the soil.

3. Fertilizing

Fertilization is one of the most important spider lily plant care. The flower doesn’t need a lot of nutrients. The natural nutrients in the soil are sufficient. But if you want to make sure the flower grows well, give it fertilizer just before the blooming season and plant the bulbs.

4. Watering

Water the plant frequently. This is because it likes humidity. Just water them until the soil is wet but not stagnant.

5. Trimming

If there are wilting leaves, then you should trim the wilted leaves. Because it is no longer a secret in plants that it will also affect other parts if one part dies.


Isn’t it easy to plant and care for the plant? Regardless of death’s meaning and symbol, the flower has a unique beauty. That is why many people like it and want to plant it, especially if you plant them to be used as flower beds and add to your garden’s beauty.