The Q&A Archives: Surprise Lillies

Question: I have A LOT of Surprise Lilly bulbs and want to know how to care for them until planting. Can I store them until Spring and how?

Answer: Based on the information in your question, I am not sure if you mean you have many bulbs of Lycoris squamigera sometimes called surprise lily or magic lily -- here is a link to information about this plant

or if you mean you somehow unexpectedly have many true lily bulbs (Lilium).

Either way, these bulbs need to be planted in the ground outside now as soon as possible in their permanent spot if at all possible. In my experience, unfortunately you will not be able to store them successfully under home conditions until spring.

If you are unable to plant them in the garden, you can try to hold them in containers and then plant them outside in the spring. Use a one gallon size container for each bulb, use a good quality soilless potting mix formulated for container use, and after planting set the containers in a cool but not cold location for the winter. Un unheated garage would probably work, the goal is to keep them very cool but without freezing the soil. Water just enough to keep the soil from going bone dry and plant them outside as soon as the weather begins to moderate in the spring.

Another option might be to temporarily plant them in a friend's garden and transplant next spring.

Good luck with your bulbs!

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