Hymenocallis is a genus of the Amaryllis family originating from America. The most popular species is Hymenocallis festalis also known as the Peruvian daffodil or Spider Lily. It is a herbaceous bulbous perennial with 1-2 ft long evergreen leaves and 1 ft long flower-stalk which can carry up to 8 white blooms.
If Spider Lily is growing in well-drained soil and in sunny position, the blooms appear in late spring or summer. However, if you place it in shade or plant bulb too deep, it can result in Spider Lily not flowering. Moreover, Spider Lily won’t bloom in dry or soggy soil and if plants were transplanted.
Why is Spider Lily Not Flowering?
#1 Too much shade
Spider Lily thrives in full sun or light shade so when you place it in shade, it won’t bloom. They originate from the Andes of Peru where they are exposed to full sun. Spider Lilies are early summer bloomers and if you plant them in the garden, make sure to grow them in beds next to flowers that grow earlier in spring.
If you plant them directly in the ground underneath the evergreen plants, they can create too much shade. That is why many growers plant them in containers and keep them in a sun-endowed spot. As a rule of thumb, plant Spider Lily in the ground only in climates that are warm enough in both summer and winter.
#2 Too cold
Spider Lily is a not a hardy plant, so keeping it outdoors in colder climate definitely affects flowering in spring. The minimum temperature should be 55°F ( 12°C) during growing season. So, they need protection in winter. If planted in pots, just move them in a greenhouse to shield plants from cold and excessive winter wet.
Aim to keep the temperatures above 59°F (15°C) at all times. You might need to use a heater in a greenhouse during winter months in this case. However, there are many ways to increase the temperature without electricity. Also, you need to take care of the bulbs too. So bring them indoors in a cool place with good air flow as soon as temperatures drop to around 40°F (5°C) even at night.
#3 Planted Too Deep
If you plant Spider Lily bulbs too deep in the soil, it might not bloom. As a general guidance you need to plant the bulbs with their neck and shoulders above soil level. Set the bulb with the pointed tops facing facing up. If you bury the bulb too deep, Spider lily won’t bloom.
If planting directly in the ground, each plant should be about 4 inches apart (10 cm). It is important because each plant has a spread of 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm). Alternatively, plant one plant in individual container. Remember to repot Spider Lily every 2 years in spring.
#4 Poor Soil
If you plant them directly in the garden, ensure that that soil is well-drained, fertile and humus-rich. You can improve the soil by adding a good amendment like Peat Moss or good compost such as Garden Compost Blend. That way the soil will be organically rich, moist but not soggy that drains well and dries out in summer.
It is a good idea to keep Spider Lily in pot if you leave in an area with wet summers. Choose a medium sized pot and fill it with the good potting mix. Whether you are growing Hymenocallis in container or in garden, add fertilizer formulated for bulbs to promote growth and flowering.
#5 Plant didn’t establish
It is very common when Spider Lily blooms one year and then doesn’t flower again this year. That is because Spider Lily doesn’t like to be transplanted or moved. They need a few years after planting to flower in full glory. If you planted Spider Lily a couple of years ago, it might need more time to bloom.
Think about planting them in pots if you get cold and wet winters. Although you can plant them into the ground, you will then need to lift them and move to a greenhouse which can result in lilies not blooming. But if you plant them in pots, these can be easily lifted and moved indoors during winter months.
It is also beneficial to remove wilted flowers on a regular basis as it encourages new flowers to develop. Moreover, you need to cut the leaves that turned yellow and not before that. This helps plant to replenish its nutrients and use them for the next blooming season.
How do you get spider lilies to bloom?
To encourage Spider Lilies to bloom you need to plant the bulb in winter with the top above the surface and water sparingly after planting. When the first leaves start to appear, mist them occasionally with water to raise the surrounding humidity. Keep watering moderately during the growing season.
If you are growing plants indoors, you can check out my best tips on watering in a greenhouse. If you don’t know what to do with bulbs after flowering, don’t throw them away! Read this post where I am talking about chilling period and forcing, so you can use the same bulbs to bloom for many more years!