How to Transplant Resurrection Lilies

Ressurection lilies prefer loose, well-draining soil.
Ressurection lilies prefer loose, well-draining soil. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Resurrection lilies (Lycoris squamigera) originate in Japan in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 10. Green strap-like leaves appear in the spring disappearing by summer and the pink trumpet-shaped blossoms appear on top of 2-foot-tall stems after the leaves have died back. The bulbs of this perennial lily are sterile, which means that the seeds are not fertile. Bulb offsets form around the parent bulbs over time and eventually crowd the larger bulbs. When the main flower clump is overcrowded, it is time to divide and transplant the smaller bulbs.

Things You'll Need

  • Spray paint
  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Mulch

Mark the location of the resurrection lilies by spraying a circle around the clumps with spray paint. Resurrection lilies do not like to be disturbed once they are established so they must be transplanted in the fall after they have entered a dormant state. It may take up to three years after transplanting for these perennials to flowers again.

Remove the weeds and grass from the new planting area located in full to partial sun. These lilies do not produce blossoms in dense shade. Dig the soil up to the depth of 6 inches with a shovel removing any rocks and sticks. Remove the top 5 inches of soil from the prepared area and place it in a wheelbarrow.

Dig the clumps of resurrection lilies up with a shovel by working the shovel down below the roots and lifting the bulbs up out of the ground. Shake the soil off the bulbs and separate the small bulbs from the parent bulbs.

Place the bulbs in the new planting area with the root side down. Space the bulbs 6 inches apart to give the lilies room to spread out. Cover the bulbs with soil and do not compact the dirt over the flowers. Spread an inch layer of mulch over the planting area to protect the soil from extreme temperatures and soil evaporation. Replant the original planting site or just fill in the hole.

Tips & Warnings

  • Resurrection lilies do not need fertilizing until the leaves begin to grow. Do not feed newly planted lilies until they become established.
  • Do not plant this lily where browsing animals and curious children can eat it. All parts of the resurrection lily are poisonous.

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