"...saw your surprise lilies on Facebook, so beautiful! I have a question. I moved my surprise lily bulbs this spring but a couple of them came up again. Do I move them now or do I have to wait until next spring to move them?" -- Lisa
Leftover Surprise Lilies
Hi Lisa, I have a few "leftover" surprise lilies myself!
If I had a flower of the month club, surprise lilies would be my August flower. This North American cousin of the traditional holiday gift flower Amaryllis blooms in Missouri when little else is in bloom. August is Missouri's dearth month, usually the hottest month of the year and when plants shut down to survive the hot weather conditions.
I also thought I had moved all of the surprise lily bulbs out of the corner of a front flower bed so I could settle an old bird bath under the rain gutter to collect rain water. Instead, two bulbs I missed digging up sprung up this August 2016, a little out of place now that the rest of the surprise lilies are gone.
If you don't have to move them this fall, I wouldn't. Let the bulbs collect energy over fall and winter over where they are currently growing. Then spring, when the leaves start peeking out of the ground, dig them up and move them.
Pick a rainy spring day so rain water will help settle them into their new location.
One of the secrets to successfully moving any plants is to dig them up in a ball of soil; most won't even know they were moved.
If you have to move them now, wait until the flowers are finished and gone to seed. Remove the stem with the seed pods. Leave 2-3 inches at the top so you know where the bulbs are. Dig them up with a huge shovel so you don't disturb the roots and carefully move them to a new hole that will fit the glob of soil you removed.
Water well with a pinch of all purpose fertilizer to help them get re-established.
Chances are if you keep them in soil, the move won't interrupt their growing cycle and they will bloom again next year. It's a technique I have successfully used for most of my plant moves in my garden.
If the bulbs are disturbed and have to spend energy re-establishing their roots, they won't collect enough energy to be able to bloom next year. It may take a full growing cycle for them to bloom again.
Now I took a different approach to my little leftover lilies. Instead of digging them up, I added three more surprise lily bulbs to the flower bed corner and watered well. No one would expect them to be growing there and that makes me smile.
What can I say, I love surprise lilies!