We bought a 50-year-old house complete with jungle (have cut down about 40 honeysuckle bushes and pulled baby Roses of Sharon daily as already have about 30 of those on 1/2 acre!). The previous owner (obviously) let everything go, and right now I am trying to transplant a bunch of pink “magic lilies” as their foliage dies before I lose them. They are planted in onsies/twosies all over the place, so I am trying to condense them. My question is, as I’m digging up the ones that bloomed, I am running into a LOT (maybe 15 or so) of bulbs in the same hole that DIDN’T bloom, but look like they are still viable: the bulb is fleshy and white inside and the roots are still there and white. Are they worth planting again, or, since they didn’t bloom, are they goners? I would plant them anyway, as a test, but as I’m getting more and more, it is a little overwhelming, so I thought I would ask.
The Gardener’s Answer
Hi Susan: Lycoris squamigera, also known as surprise lily, naked lily, resurrection lily, and/or ghost lily, is a summer flowering bulb that belongs to the amaryllis family. These bulbs are an old-fashioned favorite that are considered very low maintenance. They can multiply quickly and tolerate most growing conditions, but will bloom best if grown in full sun. Because these bulbs multiply so quickly they benefit from being dug up and separated every few years. From what you have described, you have a lot of bulbs to dig up and replant. As long as the bulbs are still viable it is worth the effort of transplanting them. I agree that they look better in a mass planting as opposed to onesies and twosies. This is the time of year, after the foliage dies back, to dig them up and move them. The smaller bulbs may not bloom well for the first couple of years but will eventually produce large flowers. The bulbs should be planted 4-6 inches deep and each individual bulb will grow about 2 inches wide so keep this in mind when planting. This all may seem overwhelming but it will be well worth the effort. I hope this is helpful.