Dividing Spider Lillies

I love to watch things grow.

It’s hard to remember that even heirloom bulbs need to be divided now and then.  Many of these bulbs had been in less-than-perfect conditions.. Some rescued  clumps had more than 20 bulbs crammed together!

Most recently, I dug some Oxbloods and Spider Lillies from an old 19th century house in East Texas. The stately home of Miss Mary had once held beautiful stained glass, a spiral staircase, and gorgeous Victorian windows that overlooked the Southern Cottage style gardens. After Miss Mary passed away, a fire engulfed the house, and was eventually left in ruins.  Progress will demolish the house, and Miss Mary’s beautiful gardens this coming year.. I have been digging the bulbs on and off for two years. It’s hard to describe the feeling of saving a 100 year old bulb that had been loved so dearly…..somehow saving a memory of Miss Mary.

Typically, I put bulb clumps right into the ground. Heirloom bulbs have been known to ‘sulk’ when moved, and some wait a few years to flower again. I think of it as the bulb asserting it’s dominance in a passive – aggressive sort of way.  So,, I play the game. I do as little to the root systems as possible, and  I divide year two.

While dividing your lily,  gently pry the bulbs apart, giving each new bulb growth part of the roots. Plant as soon as you divide. Make sure you divide in the cool of the day and give plenty of water. Many people prefer to divide when the bulbs are dormant. I find that it is easier in early fall. The bulb has plenty of time for new growth and strength. ….and less chance of ‘hacking and wracking’ bulbs in the ground.

Happy digging!