When Does a Red Spider Lily Bulb Bloom?

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Learn about the red spider lily, when it blooms and how to best grow this plant. Also learn why your spider lilies are not blooming.

When Do Red Spider Lilies Bloom?

Close Up Image Of Red Spider Lily Flowernickkurzenko/Getty Images
Red spider lily

I planted several varieties of lycoris two years ago. One variety put up foliage in fall instead of spring and didn’t bloom. Any advice for growing red spider lily?” asks Tom Howard of Spotsylvania, Virginia.

Unlike the resurrection lily (Lycoris squamigera), red spider lily (Lycoris radiata) sends up leaves in the fall that survive over winter. The leaves die back in spring or early summer and just the flowers appear a few months later in late summer or early fall. Psst—learn how to grow and care for a gloriosa lily.

Once the flowers fade, new leaves appear and the cycle begins again. It is not uncommon for them to skip flowering the first fall in the garden. Since it seems that this is a problem for yours, check the planting depth. These bulbs flower best when ¼ inch of the bulb’s neck is exposed.

Want to buy your own spider lily bulbs? Check out the 9 best websites for buying flower bulbs online.

Why Are My Spider Lilies Not Blooming?

Spider liliesCourtesy Robin Downing
Spider lilies

“These leaves have been growing in my yard for 20 years but have never bloomed. Last summer a stalk produced these pretty spider lilies. Why?” asks Robin Downing of Tallahassee, Florida.

What a nice surprise, especially after 20 years. A change in the environment or the care given to this area of the landscape might explain the sudden blooms. (Psst–take a look at the biggest blooms you should add to your garden!)

Spider lilies (Hymenocallis) often fail to bloom when they are in too much shade, the soil is too dry or the plants have received too much or not enough fertilizer. Correcting one of these limiting factors may have produced blooms. Keep up with any changes in growing conditions so you can ensure your plant blooms again next year.

Spider lilies thrive in consistently moist soil. They even perform well in as much as 2 inches of standing water. Gardeners in Zones 7 to 10 can leave spider lily bulbs in the ground year-round. (Here’s how to find your gardening zone.) If you live in colder growing zones, learn how to overwinter non-hardy bulbs and tropical plants. Bonus! Spider lilies are great container plants, too.

Next, check out the top 10 beautiful lily flowers to love.

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Melinda Myers
Melinda Myers is a nature and gardening writer whose specialty is attracting wildlife, especially birds, to the garden. She contributes regularly to the magazine Birds & Blooms, and lectures widely on creating gardens that please both human and avian visitors.