To Plant or Toss Red Spider Lily Bulbs?

Red Spider Lily

Red Spider Lily

Customer Question:
“I am hoping you can provide some guidance for me regarding Lycoris radiata bulbs that have happily lived undisturbed multiplying as they are wont to do, in my south GA yard for untold years, I am always delighted when they pop up in late summer.  For the last couple of years I have been dismayed to note that my husband has mowed their foliage down while mowing our lawn.

Interestingly they seemed to be thriving in several heavily shaded sections of the yard, but I digress.  I had decided to move my lovely spider lilies to a safer location this past winter and I dug up a significant number of bulbs while they still had green foliage, my first mistake. . .  Because there were far more bulbs than I had anticipated I had to leave the bulbs with foliage still intact in a container I made sure they were moistened and planned to prepare a larger area for their new home the next day. Cutting to the chase,  my bulbs, container and all “disappeared” I thought they had been discarded and whined and mourned accordingly.

Turns out I was misled and I have found the box and the bulbs. They have been out of the ground probably 3-4 months now, a lot of the foliage is brown and withered but some is still green, a fair number of them are firm and still have roots that appear healthy (not dry or withered).  I have scoured your site for info and have learned that these bulbs do not like to dry out as these obviously have, and that I pulled them up at possibly the worst possible time. . .

What are my chances of any of these bulbs remaining viable and would it be worth the effort of planting the ones that appear to be viable? If you have read all this Thank you and any advice you can provide will be deeply appreciated!


“Hello, Stephanie. Thanks for writing in. I hear you on the bulb planting woes – everyone has their story or stories.

Thankfully, the red spider lily is stalwart! I’d encourage you to go ahead and plant every one that you can lay your hands on. Some people call the red spider lily, the magic lily or the resurrection lily. Let’s turn this into some fun along with the rescue and see how many of the red spiders come back for you. You may be “surprised”! I’ve attached a stunning photo of the red spider lily to this email to inspire you with your red spider lily task.

Best regards,

Red Spider Lily Fading

Red Spider Lily Fading

Red spider lilies (Lycrois Radiata)
from the South are heavy-hitters in my book. It’s almost like they say, “Just try to stop us from surviving!” People dig them, put them in boxes, forget about them, splice them, and still they persist. We’ve seen it time and time again at the Southern Bulb Company. So, if you are considering giving up on a bulb and just tossing it, plant it and see what happens.

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Post Author


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

4 Responses to “To Plant or Toss Red Spider Lily Bulbs?”

  1. Bronwyn April 24, 11 at 1:46 AM #

    I had the same problem when my great aunt dug bulbs on Labor day, and I didn’t get them in the ground until late winter. The bulbs were healthy and plump when dug, and withered and papery when planted months later. I really didn’t expect much, but if I remember correctly, they skipped a year of bloom, but had foliage the following year, and blooms every year after that. So, hang in there. Resurrection is right!

  2. Jennifer December 9, 12 at 3:23 PM #

    Dig them up and plant them as much as you want and when ever you want. These little beauties will come back. You may have to wait a whole season, but they will come back. I did some digging and replanting back in the spring. All the green died off when I did it and they did not bloom in the fall. But now that the bloom season is over, every single bulb has green foliage again. 7 months of waiting, but they are here.
    I have been planting new areas with these bulbs for 10 years. I have so many now and it all started with 30 bulbs that were given to me years ago.

  3. Bulb Hunter December 10, 12 at 9:22 AM #

    Thank you for your comment! I think you nailed the issue most people have with these bulbs…it does take time and sometimes several seasons before they bloom consistently! They absolutely should continue to multiply over the years! Thanks again! Rebecca


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    […] To Plant or Toss Red Spider Lily Bulbs? | Bulb Hunter Blog Apr 6, 2011 … One Response to “To Plant or Toss Red Spider Lily Bulbs?” Bronwyn April 24, 11 at 1:46 AM # … […]

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