Lycoris in sun or shade

James Waddick
Mon, 28 Aug 2006 08:31:38 PDT
Dear All;
	A number of topics have been brought up here that I think I 
can address at least in part.

	Sun or Shade	- I have seen a few species in bloom in the 
wild in a few locations and many in bloom in cultivation.
	Most species are found only in shade, but your definition of 
shade 'depends' . They are common in woodland edges where they may 
get a brief exposure to full sun, others are in open deciduous 
woodlands. In both cases their foliage would be in more sun when the 
foliage is active and their bloom in shade due to their growth cycle. 
I grow most of mine in some shade.
	Some Lycoris tolerate a LOT of sun, but it is climate 
dependant. Remember foliage is ONLY present in times of the year when 
sun is at 'low power' fall, early spring or winter.

	Bulbs DO NOT want summer baking, but some can tolerate it to 
some degree.

and incidentally. Every species I have seen growing wild in China has 
been in a very mild climate. The bulbs were essentially at the 
surface in very damp sites. Year round wet sites. Even in cold 
climate the bulbs grow very shallowly. They benefit from year round 

	Sterile/Fertile	the two most common Lycoris L. squamigera and 
L. radiata are represented in cultivation by sterile triploid forms. 
They (rarely) never produce viable seeds . These are very vigorous 
and tolerate a wide variety of climates.
Here in the midwest masses of L. squamigera are common. In milder 
climates L. radiata (ssp radiata) are even more common and often 
considered agricultural weeds. They clog rice terraces in places and 
I have seen heaps of small bulbs tossed aside in weeding.

	Other species are very fertile and produce voluminous seed- 
L. longituba, L. chinensis., L. sprengeri. Seeds are large, rounded 
like small peas. Seeds germinate well, but are slow to reach blooming 
size. They  are also very interfertile and form hybrid swarms from 
yellow to white, orange pink and peach shades. It makes ID very 
confusing. I have self sown seedlings in the garden from various 

	Price	I never understand this, but they all seem to be 
coming more and more specialty bulbs. They do have an odd life cycle 
which means the best time to divide, move, replant is from June to 
August with little root drying in the process. Bulbs submitted to 
Dutch regimes of summer digging, drying and holding until Oct sales 
are severely stressed and often are extremely slow to recover and 
resume bloom.  Although the genus contains at least 25 species and 
numerous ssp and countless hybrids, few are common in commerce. 
Misidentification is extremely common. The best deal is to buy them 
direct from a specialty grower who knows how to handle them or potted 
for minimal disturbance.

	US versus UK	Most Chinese Lycoris (most Lycoris) come from 
the continental climates of E and Central China. They do best in 
continental climates of E and Central US. The UK has a  far more 
moderate climate without either summer or winter extremes.  I'd think 
some of the Japanese species would do well there.
	Some species are quite hardy easily growing unprotected in 
parts of Zone 4 in the US.

	Critique		L. squamigera is a near perfect 
garden subject for the midwest (at least). Totally hardy in Zone 5, 
with essentially no pests or diseases  and blooms heavily in a time 
when few other plants are in flower. With a collection of various 
species and hybrids, bloom season can extend for 6 or more weeks. If 
it has any faults it is the voluminous foliage in spring, but that 
soon disappears and can be over planted with a variety of other 
summer growing plants.

	Drop me a private email and I'll send you a few pix of 
recently blooming species and hybrids.

			Best	Jim W.

Dr. James W. Waddick
8871 NW Brostrom Rd.
Kansas City Missouri 64152-2711
Ph.    816-746-1949
Zone 5 Record low -23F
	Summer 100F +

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