Spider lilies (Lycoris radiata) are known by other names such as resurrection lilies and red spider lilies. Originally from China and Japan, spider lilies are both hardy and easy to grow. They bloom in the fall during prime hurricane season--hence why in the southern United States they are also called hurricane lilies. Spider lilies are coveted for their 8-inch-wide flowers that have a spider-like appearance. Plant spider lilies where they will be provided excellent drainage. If in doubt, choose an area that is on a slope to facilitate drainage.
Find a planting area for the spider lilies that will provide full sun to partial shade. Do this in the spring, as suggested by Mississippi State University.
Cultivate the site for planting the spider lilies using a shovel or garden fork. Turn over the soil to a depth of between 10 and 12 inches. Use a rake to sift through the soil to remove all rocks, clods, sticks or roots from the soil.
Enrich the soil in the planting site to boost both fertility and to help with drainage. For slow-draining or heavy soils, lay out a 2- to 4-inch layer of aged compost and vermiculite, or aged compost and sand, over the planting bed. For soils that are porous or light, lay out a 3- to 4-inch layer of dehydrated manure and aged compost. Use a garden fork to work the amendment into the soil thoroughly.
Create planting holes for the spider lilies that are approximately 3 to 4 inches deep and approximately 6 to 8 inches apart. You can plant the spider lilies in straight lines or in random groupings for an informal drift-type planting.
Mix into the bottom of each planting hole 1 tablespoon of bone meal. Using bone meal will help ensure plant growth and plentiful blossoms.
Plant one spider lily per planting hole. Plant each bulb with its nose facing upwards and its roots facing downward. Push each lily bulb into the soil gently to secure it in the soil. Scoop in approximately 3 to 4 inches of soil over each of the lily bulbs.
Water the spider lilies thoroughly. Provide enough water to reach down to each bulb. Use a steady slow stream of water and refrain from watering again until the sprouts appear in late August to early September, about 5 to 6 months after planting.
Spread a 3- to 4-inch layer of pine bark, grass clippings or leaf mold for a mulch over the entire planting bed of spider lilies if you live in the USDA Zones 5 through 8.
Things You Will Need
- Spider lily bulbs
- Shovel or garden fork
- Soil amendment
- Bone meal
- Bulb fertilizer
- Plan on watering the spider lilies on a regular basis throughout their growing season. Water the lilies with the equivalent of 1 to 2 inches of water weekly if there is no rainfall.
- Plan on dividing spider lilies every 2 or 3 years. Dig the bulbs up when they are dormant, in early summer.
- Fertilize spider lilies as soon as buds begin forming. Use a fertilizer that is manufactured specifically for bulbs such as 16-4-20, 9-9-6 or 5-10-20. Use 1 to 1 1/2 pounds to every 50 square feet of planting bed.
- Spider lily bulbs are poisonous. Keep children and small pets away from the bulbs.