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How to Grow Spider Lilies

The spider lily plant (Lycoris radiata) is a perennial that is not a true lily, but a member of the amaryllis family. This plant gets its name from the curling petals of its blooms, which give it a spider-like appearance. Spider lilies grow from 12 to 18 inches tall, depending upon the variety, and bloom in fall. They prefer full to partial sun and soil that drains well. Spider lilies grow in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5 to 9.

Loosen the soil in the chosen location to a depth of 8 inches. Amend with 3 to 4-inches of coarse sand.

Plant the spider lily bulbs with the pointed ends up. If you are unsure about which end is the top, plant the bulbs on their sides. Leave the top 1/2 inch of the bulb exposed at the surface of the soil. Water until the soil is very moist, but not wet. Do not add more water until growth begins.

Examine the bulbs often for signs of growth. When the foliage starts to appear begin watering regularly, and water anytime thereafter when the soil no longer feels moist.

Cut the flowers off after they have faded in late autumn, but leave the foliage in place.

Add a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch in late fall or early winter.

Cut the foliage back in early spring, after all danger of frost has passed. When summer weather arrives, place a board over the planting site to prevent the bulbs from getting too much moisture. Remove the board in late summer.


Plant spider lily bulbs in summer. Divide the bulbs after several growing seasons, especially if growth and flowering seem to have slowed. Spider lilies can also be planted in containers.


Do not water during the summer, as it is the spider lily's dormant period.

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