South African relatives of spider lily (Lycoris), which they closely resemble. Most have strap-shaped leaves to about 1 ft. long; these usually die back well before bloom time in late summer or early autumn, then reappear later in the year (typically around bloom time or shortly afterward). Some types are essentially ever- green. All have attractive, broad, funnel- or trumpet-shaped flowers carried in clusters atop leafless stems; each blossom has six spreading segments, recurved at their tips.
Withhold summer water for species that experience summer dormancy, but keep watering the essentially evergreen kinds. These plants can be grown in pots in areas beyond their hardiness range or where soil cannot be kept dry for summer-dormant types.
N. bowdenii. Lightly scented flowers to 3 in. long that are soft pink marked with deeper pink, in clusters of 8 to 12 on 2-ft. stems. Forms with taller stems and larger flower clusters are available in deeper pink, crimson, and red. One example is 'Pink Triumph', with large blossoms in dark pink. Goes dormant in summer.
N. filifolia. Essentially ever- green or nearly so, since new leavesnarrow, grassy, and reaching 68 in. longare produced as old ones fade. Inch-wide, rose-red flowers with narrow, crinkled segments are carried in clusters of 8 to 12 on each 1-ft. stem. Plant spreads rapidly. Mulch in late fall in Lower South.
N. masoniorum. Virtually evergreen species like N. filifolia, but it bears its flowers in clusters of 4 to 12 on 9-in. stems. Mulch in late fall in Lower South.
N. sarniensis. GUERNSEY LILY. Large clusters of 112-in., iridescent crimson flowers with prominent stamens, borne on stalks to 2 ft. tall. Pink, orange, scarlet, and pure white selections are available. N. s. curvifolia fothergillii has scarlet flowers overlaid with shimmering gold. Goes dormant in summer.