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How to Transplant Wild Orange Day Lilies

By Nannette Richford ; Updated September 21, 2017
Orange day lilies grow wild in ditches in the countryside.
orange lily image by Igor Zhorov from Fotolia.com

A drive down a country road in early summer is likely to reveal wild orange day lilies lining ditches and banks across much of rural America. These hardy perennials are often mistaken for tiger lilies, but lack the characteristic dark spots and curled petals. Foliage emerges in early spring in light green blades resembling heavy blades of grass. Blooms appear on long slender stems that hold several lilies. Each flower blooms for day and then withers as the new bloom appears the next day. When transplanted to the yard or garden, these lilies survive for years spreading to the nearby area.

Rescue wild orange lilies from construction sites if possible. Not only will you get flowers for your garden you will be preserving the environment as well. Always seek permission from the landowner before digging up flowers.

Dig and transplant in the spring after new growth appears for best results. Dig around the base of the plants to a depth of 12 inches or more. Use care not to disturb roots.

Slide the blade of the spade beneath the root ball and lift to remove the clump of lilies.

Place the plants in a bucket or pale and keep roots moist until transplanting. Cover with newspaper and water to moisten if you must hold lilies before planting. Set in a cool shaded area.

Prepare a bed of the new plants in a sunny location that receives 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day. Till to a depth of 8 to 10 inches and remove rocks and debris. Amend soil with organic conditioners like compost or well-rotted manure.

Plant the lilies to the original planting depth and cover the roots with soil. Firm down with your hands to secure the plant.

Water thoroughly and keep soil moist until new growth appears.


Things You Will Need

  • Spade/garden fork
  • Bucket/pale
  • Newspaper

About the Author


Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with more than four years' experience in online writing. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in teaching 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.