Can I Transplant Lilies In The Spring? ( Top 7 Tips )

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Ideally, you should transplant lilies in the autumn, as this gives the plant the best chance to thrive and flower the next year. What most people do not know is that lilies need to be exposed to cold in order to flower and grow strong. If the lilies are not exposed to cold then odds are that they will not flower this year, but they will most likely flower the following year. Basically plant them as soon as you can, even if that means transplanting the lilies in the spring.

Yes, you can transplant lilies in the spring, in fact, this is the ideal time to do it. When executed properly, lilies can flourish, bringing lasting beauty to your outdoor space year after year.

If you want to transplant your lilies in the spring then you have to keep them safe from slugs, my personal recommendation is to use slug pellets that are pet friendly, just sprinkle them after you have done the transplant Click here to check it out on

It is better to transplant lilies in early spring rather than in late spring, even if the occasional frost comes the lily bulbs will be able to survive them. Be extremely careful where you actually plant the lilies in the spring, as during this time weeds tend to pop up and they tend to be extremely competitive. While most lilies will be able to outgrow some of the weeds, but not all of them and you might notice that your lilies are growing rather slowly.

If you have already established lilies, and you want to transplant them in the spring then make sure to water them adequately after transplanting as mature lily plants will need a lot of water when they wake up. If you want to transplant your lilies in the summer then check out my recent article Can I Transplant Lilies In Summer? ( Top 8 Precautions To Take ).

Can I Transplant Lilies In The Spring?

Transplanting lilies in the spring is generally the ideal time for this task. Spring is a time of active growth for lilies, and they are more likely to establish successfully when transplanted during this season. To transplant lilies in the spring, start by choosing a new planting site that receives ample sunlight and has well-draining soil. Dig a hole that is deep and wide enough to accommodate the lily bulb, ensuring that the soil is loosened and amended with compost or organic matter.

Carefully dig up the lily bulbs from their current location, taking care not to damage the roots. Gently shake off excess soil and place the bulbs in the prepared hole, making sure they are positioned at the proper depth. Backfill the hole with soil, firming it gently around the bulbs. Water the newly transplanted lilies thoroughly and continue to provide regular watering as needed. Mulching around the plants can help conserve moisture and suppress weed growth.

Lilies Transplanted In The Spring Might Not Flower In The Current Year

Even if you transplant established lilies in the spring you are still not guaranteed that the lilies will flower in the current year. This tends to happen because the transplanted lilies have to get used to the new location, and even slight changes in the location, soil, and fertilizers can throw off its growth pattern. This is especially true for newly bought lilies, they are less likely to flower in the first year due to transplant shock and because they were not exposed to cold. If you want to know more about potted lilies then check out my recent article How To Care For Potted Lilies ( In 7 Easy Steps ).

Transplant Lilies That Are Still Dormant In The Spring

Mature lily plants that have already flowered the previous year should be transplanted while they are still dormant. This way you increase the chances of it flowering in the current year as well. Once the stem of the lily plant has pierced the surface then the bulb has already waken up, so if you transplant them during this time you are not guaranteed to have flowers in the current year. On the other hand, if the lilies are still dormant and you transplant them then the chances are fairly high for them to flower.

Water The Lilies Before The Spring Transplanting

Even if the lily plant is still dormant it still needs to be watered, dormant lilies can go through some transplant shock as well so water the lilies before you actually make the transplant. If the soil is relatively moist then you can skip this part, but if you have clay soil then you definitely need to water them before the transplant. Ideally, you should not only water the lilies but the actual transplant location as well, this way it will be a lot easier to dig in the soil. If you want to know what to do after your lilies have flowered then check out my recent article What To Do When Lilies Have Finished Flowering? ( Top 6 Chores ).

Choose The Location Carefully When Transplanting Lilies

You have to remember how your garden was the previous year, where were the spots with partial shade and the ones with full sun. Do not focus on how your garden looks like in the spring as the sun will be higher during the summer. If you are new to the garden, then simply ask the previous owners which are the locations with partial shade and with full sun. Lilies tend to love full sun locations, so plant them in an area where they will get full sun during the summer and not in the spring.

Cover The Lilies With Mulch After Transplanting

Lilies will have no trouble growing through the mulch, and this layer of mulch will have several functions. The mulch will stop most of the weeds from growing but will allow the lily bulbs to grow through it as the stem of the lilies tends to be rather strong. Ideally, you should place a fast decaying layer of mulch like compost, grass, hay, and so on. These fast decaying mulches will also feed the lily bulbs once they break down.

On the other hand, if you like how wood chips look in your garden then you can definitely use them for the newly transplanted lilies.

Protect The Transplanted Lilies From Slugs And Snails

In some areas, slugs and snails tend to stay away from lilies, while in other areas they will simply eat them in a matter of days. If you live in an area where you know that you either have a lot of slugs or they tend to eat your lilies then you have to keep them away from them. The first couple of weeks after doing the spring transplant are crucial, if the lilies get attacked by slugs and snails at this time they might not survive.

There are plenty of home remedies for removing slugs, and trust me most of them do not work. You have to use slug pellets, but they also harm other creatures that eat them. You have to do a preventive attack on the slugs, so sprinkle the slug pellets in your garden even before they come out from their hiding spots in the spring.

Wait Until Autumn Before You Do Another Transplant

The problem with spring lily painting is that your garden will look a lot different during the summer and you might not like it. Oftentimes people tend to make another transplant in the middle of the summer, but my advice is to avoid another transplant. If you want to do another transplant for any reason then make sure that you do it in the autumn when the lilies have already died back naturally.

Key Takeaways

  • Lilies can be transplanted in the spring although the ideal period for transplanting lilies is in the autumn. In case you transplant the lilies in the spring then you might find that the lilies will not flower that year, and unfortunately, this is usually the case for most spring lily transplants. If you are committed to doing a spring transplant then make sure to do it in the early spring and that the lily bulbs are still dormant when you do the transplant.
  • If the lilies are still dormant then the chances of them flowering even after the spring transplant are relatively high.
  • Protect the newly transplanted lilies from slugs and snails during the spring.