How to Take Care of a Spider Lily in the Winter
Spider lily, known botanically as Lycoris radiata, is a late summer flowering bulb that produces multiple coral red blooms with long, thin spider leg-like petals and stamens atop tall stems. Though called a lily, it is actually a species in the amaryllis family. Spider lily grows best in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) climate zones 7 through 10 when you use mulch in the winter. You can grow it indoors in the winter in colder climates. It thrives in rich but well-drained soil and with at least four hours of full sun exposure daily.
Cut back dying flower stems down to the bottom of the stem just above the crown of the plant between the leaves. Compost or discard them in the trash.
Mulch around the evergreen foliage and bulb roots in the fall in USDA Zones 7 through 10. Use a at least 2 inches of organic material such as compost, shredded bark or leaf mold.
Overwinter spider lily bulbs indoors in USDA Zones 6 and below. Dig, clean and store your bulbs in the clean sand in a low-light location with ambient temperatures between 45 and 55 degrees. Replant in the spring after the last hard frost has passed.
Care For Spider Lilies
Of more than 20 spider lily (Lycoris spp.) varieties, red spider lilies (Lycoris radiata) are the ones most commonly grown in home gardens, and with good reason. It boosts their vigor and resistance to winter cold. Use 1/2 tablespoon per bulb, or 1 cup per 10 square feet of soil. If necessary, water at these times just enough to keep the top inch of soil consistently moist. Spider lilies have no significant pests or diseases. Their major ornamental drawback is that their foliage must yellow and die back naturally for their bulbs to produce the most flowers. Once the leaves disappear, your garden’s left with noticeable bare spots. Masking them with summer-blooming plants isn't advisable, because watering could damage the dormant bulbs. Keep an eye on pets and small children when they're near the plants.
- Organic mulch
- Clean sand
- North Carolina State University Extension
- Texas A&M University Extension
- Shields Gardens: Bulbs of the World -- The Amaryllis Family, Genus Lycoris
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Lycoris Radiata
- Sunset: Planting and Caring for Bulbs
- Texas A&M AgriLife Extension: Spider Lilies (Lycoris Radiata), Oxblood Lilies (Rhodophiala Bifida) and Rain Lilies (Zephranthes Spp.)
- North Carolina State University Extension: Lycoris Radiata, L. Squamigera