Can Crinum Lilies Be Transplanted Right Now?

Given the spring season, a customer wrote in with the following crinum lily question:
“I planted several of the Crinum Lilies a couple of years ago and need to move them.  Is it okay to move them now?”

– Carolyn on March 3, 2011

Thanks for writing in. Right now is the perfect time! You can move the crinum lilies now, but you should do it as soon as possible, because now is the beginning of the crinum growing season. When transplanting the crinum, dig up an area of about 6-8 inches all the way around each bulb (or around the clump of bulbs) to secure as many roots in place as possible for the transplant. This will reduce transplant shock. The more ground you dig up with and around the bulbs, the better for transplanting with blooms for this coming summer season. Try to do it all in one day so the roots don’t dry out. Protect them if weather is showing another nasty freeze, but they should be fine.

-Michael on March 3, 2011

Carolyn's Southern Bulb Co. Crinum 'Mrs. James Hendry'

Carolyn's Southern Bulb Co. Crinum 'Mrs. James Hendry'

Although Carolyn asked this question at the beginning of March about her Crinum ‘Mrs. James Hendry,’ there is still time to transplant your crinum for summer blooms. Make sure to transplant in the next two weeks though, and to save all other crinum transplants until next March 2012. Be sure to dig up enough soil around and under the bulbs when transplanting, especially as more foliage emerges over the next two weeks. Here are some final tips:

1) Dig your second hole (the crinum’s new home) before digging up the crinum from its first location.

2) Water the second hole moderately to moisten soil just before digging up the crinum to transplant.

3) Make the quickest transplant between the two holes, so that the crinum hardly notices it was out of the ground.

4) Use a wheelbarrow or large shovel to move the crinum along with all the soil surrounding it. If the crinum clump is massive and years old (like in the photo below), you should divide the clump into multiple segments for transplanting. Dividing into multiple segments will shock the bulbs/roots just a bit, but as long as you follow the protocol on this page, the clump should be OK.

5) If you aren’t able to handle the heavy load of crinum and soil, ask an able-bodied person for assistance (a single, mature clump of crinum with soil can weigh anywhere from 20 to 200+ pounds – see photo below). If you’re strapped for cash, maybe you could offer a few of your bulbs in exchange for the transfer.

Don’t be surprised if the current foliage dies away after transplant. If you follow the steps above, the bulb will do fine and new foliage should emerge within 2-3 weeks. Take a look at the massive Pink Crinum Lily (Crinum powellii Roseum) below!

Pink Crinum Lily Massive Cluster

Pink Crinum Lily Massive Cluster

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This post was written by who has written 46 posts on Bulb Hunter Blog.

Michael Hardy is Operations Manager for the Southern Bulb Co. and has just about seen and heard it all while interacting with customers. Enjoy his educational responses and refer to for more info or contact him at

5 Responses to “Can Crinum Lilies Be Transplanted Right Now?”

  1. Holly August 11, 13 at 11:00 AM #

    I need to dig up my crinum bulbs as I am moving at the end of the month. Are there any special instructions for digging them up and storing them at this time of the year? How long can I store the bulbs?

  2. Bulb Hunter August 14, 13 at 10:00 PM #

    Not real specific instructions. You can dig them this time of year just fine, just make sure you get all the way below the bulb before you start wedging your shovel to pop them up, and make sure they’re really lose if you your going to try to pull them by their foliage. Many times I think the shovel is all the way under the bulb and begin to leverage it back only to find that I sliced the bulb. Other times I get a little lazy and grab the foliage and pull–the foliage will pull off of the bulb before the roots let go of the dirt. Once you have them up you can store them for a whole year, just don’t let them freeze and give them some ventilation. Keep them out of the sun as well. Hope this helps and good luck!

  3. Colette K August 8, 14 at 9:32 AM #

    When is the best month to move the Crinum bulbs. It is now August 2014 where I live.

  4. Marty August 13, 14 at 12:47 PM #

    Wow, I’m shocked that you can move these Mid-Summer. I too am selling a House an old house (built in 1928!) and the Crinum (as I now know they are), are coming with!

    Any special handling handling though? Sulfur… Sawdust… etc??

    I also have images and would love to may mine positively identified. Can you help?

  5. Bulb Hunter September 9, 14 at 9:25 AM #

    Not much special you need to do with crinum bulbs! Just make sure you get roots and all when you dig them and don’t leave them in the direct sun. The quicker you plant them the faster they’ll recover, but even if they dry out for a year they will bounce back after a couple seasons of growth!

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