Lycoris in summer dry climates

Jim McKenney
Sun, 22 Aug 2010 09:42:35 PDT
Jane and Mary Sue have both reported indifferent results with Lycoris in
their climates. Mary Sue in particular has noted that in her dry summers
bulbs seem to fade away. 


I had an experience here which agrees with that. I planted some bulbs of the
commercial Lycoris aurea (I suspect that more than one plant is making the
rounds under this name) in my protected cold frame. Past experience with
this species (or these species) showed that it was not  hardy in the open
garden. Even in the most protected places, the foliage was generally
destroyed during the winter. 


I thought the protected cold frame would be the ideal place of it, and at
first that seemed to be true. Bulbs planted in the protected cold frame
produced thick clumps of broad foliage which remained undamaged during the
winter. When the foliage died down I checked the bulbs and found big fat
bulbs. I was already counting the flower scapes! 


I place a glass cover (it allows free air circulation but keeps out water)
over the frame sometime in May. The frame itself is in the rain shadow of
the eaves, and the soil is thick with the roots of other plants. The soil in
the frame dries out quickly and stays dry. About a month ago I checked the
bulbs again and this time got an unpleasant surprise: the bulbs had
shriveled down to skinny little things.  


This suggests that these plants need some water even during their dormant
period. This year I intend to move these plants to another protected cold
frame which is not dried off during the summer. I’ll let you know next year
if this makes a difference.


In a related note: bloom here on Lycoris squamigera was very light this



 Jim McKenney

Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone

My Virtual Maryland Garden



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