From Bulbs to Blooms: How to Care for Red Spider Lilies

Most times, when people think of a flower garden, they picture the typical roses, lilies, peonies, tulips, and the like. These are all beautiful flowers with varying, vibrant colors and beautiful scents.

But, there are other flowers that are not as popular but have such a powerful presence. One of them is the red spider lily. I will discuss how to grow and care for this beautiful flower in this article. 

However, before we get into that, let me give you some information on the flower.

What is the Red Spider Lily?

Red Spider Lily

The red spider lily is a perennial flower. It belongs to the Amaryllis family. They are originally from China, Nepal, and Korea and were introduced to Japan, then to other countries.

Red spider lilies have long, thin petals and inward curling stamens that resemble the legs of a spider, and that is where their name comes from. 

Growing the Red Spider Lily

Growing the red spider lily is easy and grows very fast. Below are tips to take note of to have a beautiful garden filled with this flower.

Planting in the Right Season

Red spider lilies are late bloomers. This means that when other plants have started to shut down, they begin to show growth and bloom. As a result, the best time to grow the red spider lily is from late summer to fall. 

Finding the Best Location

When planting in your garden, choosing the right location is one of the most important things to consider. For a red spider lily, make sure it is a permanent one.

They hate the transplanting process, so they perform best when left undisturbed in the soil. 

Red spider lilies also grow well in containers. If you choose to plant in a container, ensure it is big enough to hold the entire root system inside.

Also, make sure it has drainage holes at the bottom, and it is at least 18 inches deep. 

Now, whether you use a container or plant into the ground in your garden, it is best to do this in partial shade.

It is not to say that red spider lilies would not do well in full sun, but partial shade is best for flowering. Also, they tend to bloom earlier than when put in the full sun. 

You can try planting some flowers in an area with total sun exposure and grow some in partial shade to control the amount of blooming throughout the month.

Using the Best Soil Type

Red spider lilies can grow in almost any kind of soil. However, they do best in slightly alkaline soil rich in organic matter and have excellent drainage but can still retain some moisture.

The drainage system is vital because if you plant them in constantly wet soil, there is a high tendency for the bulbs to rot.

The Planting Process

The red spider lily does not produce seeds. Instead, bulbs are used to plant it. The pointed end should always be pointing up whether you plan to plant into the ground or in a container. 

Each hole for a build should be deep enough to cover the bottom of the bulb and allow the neck to protrude from the soil. If the bulb is planted too deep into the ground or entirely covered with earth, it would discourage flowering. 

Ensure to leave enough space between the bulbs. They should be planted about 6 to 12 inches apart in the planting site or container, then water well after planting. 

Each bulb can produce up to 4 stems, and these stems grow quickly to a height of a foot or more in a matter of days. The flowers bloom and last several weeks, then they wither and die.

It is only after this that strap-like leaves appear. The leaves last throughout the year until summer before they die too. 

For several weeks, the plant has nothing to indicate its presence in the soil until the flowers grow out from the ground, and the process starts again from the beginning. 

Caring for the Red Spider Lily

Red Spider Lily

The red spider lily does not require much attention and care to grow so bountifully. However, you can do a few things to help maintain your plant’s performance. 


When the bulbs are planted, you should water them about once a week if you do not live in an area where rain falls frequently.

Once the plant has started growing, increase the watering to a moderate amount to keep the soil moist but not enough to saturate it.

During the summer, when the plant is dormant, stop watering and let the soil go dry. The red spider lily can tap into the water reserves in the ground with its deep roots. Overwatering during the summer will lead to bulb rot.


It is more advisable to fertilize your red spider lily twice a year. 

The first time should be in early spring. Use a fertilizer with high nitrogen content to ensure the plant has enough nutrients to regrow after being dormant for a while. 

Then apply fertilizer high in potassium and phosphorus after the blooming period. This application will strengthen the plants well enough to survive the winter. 

There is no need to fertilize newly planted bulbs as they have not grown roots yet to absorb the nutrients.


The red spider lily needs little to no pruning. You should wait until the leaves are brown and dead completely before you prune because if you trim the leaves as they begin to yellow, you can take away nutrients from the bulb, which will affect the plant negatively. 

Protection From Pests and Diseases

The red spider lily has no main pests or diseases. The most prevalent issue associated with this plant is bulb rot.

Bulb rot is caused by overwatering during the summer when the plant is known to be dormant. It can be avoided by not watering during the summer and selecting a planting location with good draining soil.

Slugs are the only known pests that sometimes bother red spider lilies. There are many ways to get rid of slugs, and one of them is using a beer trap.

Just bury a small container filled with beer near the plant. Slugs are attracted to beer, so they will drown into the container.

Benefits of the Red Spider Lily

red and white spider lily

The red spider lily has a beautiful red color that increases the beauty of any garden it is planted in, but its uses are not only aesthetic. They have protective properties.

Their bulbs are poisonous to animals and people, so they help to protect crops planted in small backyards and gardens from pests. 

Significance of the Red Spider Lily

The red spider lily is known as the flower of farewell. They are associated with final goodbyes, farewell, reincarnation and death.

Red spider lilies bloom suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere. Their quick growth and easy-to-care-for features make them perfect for beginner gardeners.

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