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How to Grow and Care for Spider Lilies
From planting methods to the best soil conditions, you’ll be well on your way to growing gorgeous blooms with our expert tips.
If you’re a fan of colorful, eye-catching flowers, you might want to consider planting spider lilies in your garden. “Lycoris radiata, commonly known as spider lily plants, create a sense of surprise in the garden,” says garden expert Melinda Myers. “Their flowers, which are usually red with long stamens that look like spider legs, appear on leafless stems in the late summer or early fall. Once they’re done flowering, strappy leaves that look like amaryllis emerge.”
Along with bringing color and visual interest to a garden, Sabine Schoenberg, host of Ideas For Your Home on Smart Healthy Green Living, says that spider lily plants are also fragrant and easy-to-grow. “Spider lilies are perennials that grow from bulbs,” she explains. “They grow easily in garden beds and containers and are fragrant when they bloom.”
Interested in hearing more about planting these vibrant flowers in your garden? The two experts share their top tips for growing and caring for the beautiful plants.
Make sure they get six hours of direct sunlight every day.
Myers says that spider lily plants require at least six hours of direct sunlight every day, so it’s important to plant them in an area of your garden that receives full sun for that long. However, if you live in an area with a warm climate, she suggests planting them in a location that gets both morning sun and afternoon shade, so they can flower without overheating. “They can tolerate partial shade in hotter regions,” she explains.
Add compost to the soil.
If you take care to incorporate compost into the soil before planting, Myers says your spider lily plants will require minimal fertilization along the way. “Compost encourages draining and also serves as a source of nutrients released slowly over time,” she explains. “Use a shovel to incorporate several inches of compost into the top 12-inches of soil to ensure the soil is well-drained.”
Be careful when planting them.
Since spider lilies grow from a bulb, Schoenberg says it’s important to not plant them too deeply in the soil. “Use a small gardening shovel or trowel to barely cover the bulb neck with soil,” she advises. “And take care to plant the bulbs about eight inches apart so the leaves have plenty of room to grow.” If you plan on growing your spider lily plants in a container, Myers recommends finding a planter that’s at least 18-inches deep. “It’s crucial to plant them in a container that’s large enough to house their root system,” she explains.
Spider Lilies require more water while they’re growing.
According to our experts, how often you water your spider lily plants will depend on what stage they’re in of their growth cycle. “Spider lilies require regular watering when they are growing and flowering to ensure the soil stays moist,” Myers says. When they’re dormant, Schoenberg says you only need to water them enough to prevent the soil from drying out. “Add a little water when the moisture meter indicates medium/low to dry,” she says. “Water all around the bulb, not just in one spot.”
Schoenberg says the best time to remove the spent flowers (and encourage new growth) from your spider lily plants is right after they’ve bloomed. “This way, the plant will tell you where the bulb is,” she says. “Wait until the foliage turns yellow to cut down the leaves.” If you live in a frost-prone area, she suggests digging up the bulbs and bringing them indoors for the winter. “Gently dig up the bulbs, remove the soil, wrap them in newspaper, and store them away in a dry, warm spot in your house,” she says. “You can replant them in the early spring once the cold weather season has passed.”