Naked Ladies In My Pasture

Sometimes it is hard to tell the changing of the seasons in warm climates. There certainly isn't the dramatic foliage change here in Texas that I am used to from living in Canada, but there is one sure sign that autumn has arrived that I can spot right in my own back yard and pasture. And, although they are called Naked Ladies, they probably aren't what you are thinking at all!

Close Up Of My Naked Ladies

This is a small group of two stalks and flowers.
This is a small group of two stalks and flowers.
Naked stalks, no foliage during the flowering stage.
Naked stalks, no foliage during the flowering stage.

A Sure Sign of Fall

Naked Ladies, also known as Belladonna Lilies and Jersey Lilies, are one of the most unique plants I have found. They are actually the only true type of Amaryllis, Amaryllis belladonna to be exact, and they are really spectacular in their presentation. Although found over the southern part of the United States both in wild areas as well as gardens, they are actually natives of South Africa.

The Naked Ladies are so named because of their appearance, which is well - naked. In Greek mythology Amaryllis was a shepherdess, and the term belladonna means a beautiful woman or lady. They have a long, flesh colored to tan colored stalk that supports a group of individual flowers, all set horizontally to form a circular shape. The leaves of the plant are very evident in the spring and summer months and resemble the leaves of liriope, just minus the flowers. The particular variety in my pasture has a dark green color leaf bunch and grows about six to ten inches in length. In the mid to late part of summer the foliage dies back, then in the late summer and early fall the stalks and flowers emerge.

The flowers are beautiful and vary in color from a lighter pink with darker centers to a deep reddish coral color with slightly peach centers and stamens. There are many varieties of this plant that are cultivated for growing in pots and containers and they can range in color from yellow to pinks and into the darker colors as well. Although not as showy as the Christmas Amaryllis, which is actually a different species known as Hippeastrum, the Naked Lady is really a beautiful addition to the garden.

In my area of north east Texas the fall rains and slightly cooler temperatures seem to trigger the bulbs to send forth the stalks and flowers. They spring up almost magically overnight, resulting in a dramatic color change.

Growing wild in a very young cedar tree.
Growing wild in a very young cedar tree.

The Amaryllis Belladona Plant In The Garden

The Naked Lady is a bulb type of plant that can also be grown from seed. Bulbs are definitely the best option if you want to see results with one to two years after planting, seeds can take up to 7 to 9 years before flowers finally start to show. The do best in well drained soil in full sun, however they can handle partial sun as well.

Move established bulbs only when not actively growing either roots or flowers, so generally right after the flowers die is the best time. Moving them any other season results in a slow down of their growth and lack of flowering for several years. Since the bulbs are most spectacular in bunches, they are typically planted in groups of five or more bulbs that are spread out over about a square foot of space.

The bulbs should be placed in well drained soil at a depth of about two to four inches, surrounded by peat moss and soil mixture. During the spring and summer they need routine watering once a week, however they should not be soaked or kept constantly wet during this time as the bulbs can actually rot. During the foliage phase you can fertilize if desired, however with a good mulch cover each fall this is not generally necessary. After the leaves die off, cut back on watering as the bulbs need to dry out in order to produce flowers.

Once the stalks emerge water twice a week until the flowers die off. Do not fertilize at this time. Cover the ground with a good quality mulch to help with moisture retention and preparation for winter. In moderate climates the bulbs can remain outdoors, however they cannot tolerate long freezes and will need to come indoors in colder growing zones.

Since they literally grow everywhere here, in the pastures, ditches, around old buildings and of course where you plant them they are very popular fall flower additions. While they don't make a good cut flower they certainly do add color to the garden and really add a touch of elegance to fall foliage changes.


Naked Ladies growing wild in South Africa.
Naked Ladies growing wild in South Africa.
A more exotic type of Naked Lady, cultivated for containers and landscaped gardens
A more exotic type of Naked Lady, cultivated for containers and landscaped gardens

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Comments 37 comments

fortunerep profile image

fortunerep 7 years ago from North Carolina

what a beautiful flower!! Thanks goodness, I thought it was going to be actually baer naked ladies!!

dori


Mardi profile image

Mardi 7 years ago from Western Canada and Texas Author

Thanks fortunerep, they are a lovely flower, even if they do have a rather strange name.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

Wow! These are beautiful flowers. You are so fortunate to be able to see them blooming in your pastures. I was totally unfamiliar with this type of amaryllis. Thanks for the education.


Herald Daily profile image

Herald Daily 7 years ago from A Beach Online

Your naked ladies are beautiful, Mardi. Thank-you for exposing them to us. :)

Like Peggy, I had no idea that amaryllis could grow in pastures! The only kind that I have any experience with are those in the pot that you get at Christmas.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

Very pretty flowers, but at first I thought this hub was about something else lol. Clever title.


Mardi profile image

Mardi 7 years ago from Western Canada and Texas Author

Thanks Peggy, I haven't seen them down around Houston but they are common in Dallas and surrounding areas. I love the large Christmas amaryllis as well, have successfully transplanted the bulbs in the spring and had them flower in the garden for several years. Each year I add another one and they do spread.

Herald Daily, thanks for the very witty comment! They really are a beautiful flower, especially since they are most colorful in the autumn when other flowers are slowing down.

You aren't the only one to think this is about something else Sweetie Pie. If I ever have real naked ladies in my pasture I will do hub on that as well (LOL)!


Mr.C profile image

Mr.C 7 years ago

We have these in Georgia also. Everyone calls them "Spider Lilies". They grow in pastures here too. Thanks for those great photos. We Seniors enjoy seeing them. Come visit me.

mrc1569


Mardi profile image

Mardi 7 years ago from Western Canada and Texas Author

Mr.C,

Thank you for that. I didn't know they also were called Spider Lilies. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!


Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 7 years ago from United States

I too only knew them as Spider Lilies, great hub!


Mardi profile image

Mardi 7 years ago from Western Canada and Texas Author

Thanks Jerilee, these are one of my favorite flowers, although I also enjoy the spring jonquils and the wild iris.


R P Chapman profile image

R P Chapman 7 years ago from England

Very eye catching title there! Learned something new too so thanks.


Carmen Borthwick profile image

Carmen Borthwick 7 years ago from Maple Ridge, B.C.

Thanks, I discovered these beautiful flowers (and their name) while on a road trip down the California coast a couple of years ago. They are amazing and grow wild everywhere you look.


Mardi profile image

Mardi 6 years ago from Western Canada and Texas Author

Carmen, they are really beautiful, I had never heard of them until I moved down here to Texas. I also didn't realize they were in California so thanks for that.

R P Chapman, thanks for your comment and glad you stopped by.


Carmen Borthwick profile image

Carmen Borthwick 6 years ago from Maple Ridge, B.C.

I tried to bring one home with me... but you know the rules! I pressed one in a book but unfortunately it just molded. Ah well, I have lots of pics!


Mardi profile image

Mardi 6 years ago from Western Canada and Texas Author

Carmen,

I think you should be able to grow these in BC (checked your profile!) I used to live in Fort Langley and my neighbor had some variety of these in her potted patio containers, think she just brought the bulbs in over winter. You might want to check an online nursery for availability.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

Mardi, I've seen something like this growing in Maryland, not wild but planted. They look so curious, popping up without any real visible foliage, like surprises! So pretty. I did not know what they were called.


Mardi profile image

Mardi 6 years ago from Western Canada and Texas Author

Thanks Dolores, they seem to grow in a wide variety of places and are very hardy for such strange looking flowers.


Juliette Morgan profile image

Juliette Morgan 6 years ago

What beautiful flowers - I'm in the UK and have never seen these - great photos and good information, thanks.


Mardi profile image

Mardi 6 years ago from Western Canada and Texas Author

Juliette,

Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I think that it is probably too cold in the winter (well the summer too!) for these in England. I had never seen them in Canada either so they were really different that first autumn down here. The Naked Ladies should be just popping their heads out here in the next month, with the very hot summer this year I assume they will be later than usual.


Marti 6 years ago

My neighbor just gave me several bulbs and I planted them right away. Do you have to do anything to them, or will they just pop up in the spring?


Mardi profile image

Mardi 6 years ago from Western Canada and Texas Author

Marti,

When I transplanted a bunch of these they did absolutely nothing the first full year. Remember the true naked ladies bloom in the FALL, not the spring. You might want to mark where you planted the bulbs so you don't accidentally dig them up, then you should see growth and flowering next year about this time. The first year perhaps only a few of the bulbs will flower, but they will produce larger and more profuse flowers each year. I just noticed a few starting to show up in people's flower beds this week. Mine haven't even peeked through the ground.

You should see thin leaves or spikes come up in the spring, don't be alarmed when they die off mid-summer, that is just the plant preparing to flower. Water normally over the summer but don't soak the soil on a continual basis, allow it to dry to prevent rot.

Hope that helps!


Carol 5 years ago

We have these beautiful flowers but now they are place we did not expect them. How do they spread? Seeds blowing? Can I dig them up for the Garden Club Plant Sale? Thank you.


Mardi profile image

Mardi 5 years ago from Western Canada and Texas Author

Hi Carol,

Yes, you can dig them up and they will do well in a plant sale I am sure. Just make sure to let people know they may not flower this fall but should do so next year. They can definitely be spread by seeds but they also spread, at least around here according to some people, from wild hogs eating the bulbs and (how shall I put this politely?) depositing them around. I don't know if that last part is true but it makes sense when you see them way out in the middle of the woods.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Hi Mardi Unusual name for a very unusual flower, really enjoyed reading about your naked ladies, thank you.


Mardi profile image

Mardi 5 years ago from Western Canada and Texas Author

Many thanks for your kind comment Movie Master. I love these flowers in the fall almost as much as I look forward to the Irises and Jonquils in the spring.


bjg 5 years ago

where can i purchase bulbs shown above naked ladies?


deesat 4 years ago

Another comment about the name...my grandsons 9 and 11 loved watching for the Naked Ladies as we drove through town. They would shout out.."Oh, there's another Naked Lady" but the funniest is when they spotted them at a church. We all got a chuckle as they shouted "There's a Naked Lady at church!".


NotTooTall profile image

NotTooTall 4 years ago from The Land of Pleasant Living

I enjoyed reading your Hub. I think these are what my Grandmom grew years ago, whoch she called 'magic lily'. So pretty! Thank you.

N T T


Mardi profile image

Mardi 4 years ago from Western Canada and Texas Author

Hello deesat and NotTooTall,

Thank you both for your comments. I love that story of your gandsons deesat, imagine it raised some eyebrows in the car!.

NotTooTall, I heard them called magic lilies this year for the first time so I bet you are right.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota

Hee Hee- I too thought this may be about ladies with no clothes. LOL. Great information on this beautiful flower. It's amazing how colorful these lilies become. Great photo's too. Also, just to let you know, you wrote, 'move' information instead of 'more' at the end of your hub.

I hit many buttons on this informative hub.


Mardi profile image

Mardi 4 years ago from Western Canada and Texas Author

Minnetonka Twin,

Thanks for catching that - an editor I ain't!!! Thanks for your comments and for stopping by.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota

I forgot to mention in my comment that your puppy in the profile picture looks just like our two year old dog Spooky. Same size and white under the tummy. We don't know what mix she is because they weren't sure at the humane society. What is your black lab mix? We'd love to know.


Mardi profile image

Mardi 4 years ago from Western Canada and Texas Author

Minnetonka Twin,

That is our Barak. To the best of our guess he is a Lab Border Collie cross. He is about 3 years old now and weighs close to 75 pounds. He herds, fetches and is obsessed with his tennis ball which he carries everywhere with him. I need to find a newer picture to update!


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota

I think they did say Collie now that you say it. Thanks for getting back to me. Your dog's a cutie pie.


Bobbie Den Herder 3 years ago

The naked ladies also grow in Arkansas... But are called Spider lilles!


LuLusquest 13 months ago

Mardi...I hope this comment doesn't prove arguementative, but you might consider that your flowers are not Amaryllis', but Nerine (pronounced Ner-eye-knee) sarniensis. I have both growing in my garden. The Amaryllis' are up now. No sign of the Nerines yet, but they were prolific last year. The orange one I have is like tangerine and a shorty...however, could be because I found it in a vacant lot and we have been in severe drought here for about 4 years. There is one kind of Nerine that blooms with it's leaves and I have that one as well. What do you think? Check out what the blooms look like on google. Their general growing characteristics are the same as the Amaryllis. Sorry if I have been annoying.


LuLusquest 13 months ago

WOW! I just found another candidate that I knew nothing about. Brunsvigia Marginata...but the bud is totally different from the Amaryllis or Nerine and flowers are in a tighter cluster. Still interesting to know there are so many look-a-likes in the same family.

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