Lycoris season 2 - L. squamigera : 2?

James Waddick
Mon, 09 Aug 2010 11:53:09 PDT
>I see a lot of interest from our eastern North American members in 
>Lycoris, but I have never been able to keep it here in the Cascade 
>foothills, .... Am I correct in thinking that if you can grow Crinum 
>well, you have a chance with Lycoris? If there is a similarity in 
>their requirements, I might try Lycoris again -- though I don't 
>think I want to use the space for Crinum.

Dear Jane ,
	An interesting Q, but I think this is unrelated. Although 
both have species are tolerant of some similar climates, both have 
unique characters that equally prevent their 'co-habitating'.

	Lycoris species comprise 2 distinct sub genera- those with 
spring foliage (mostly) like L. squamigera, longituba etc are from 
Continental parts of China and most experience some freezing temps 
during 'cold' winters and hot dry-ish summers.
	The second group including L. radiata and L aurea are from 
more southern ares of Japan and coastal Asia. The foliage appears in 
fall and winters over in milder temps and have more continuous 
rainfall patterns. There are fewer climatic extremes.

	This means that while I can grow the fall foliage plants just 
fine, the southern group is a challenge to flat-out impossible. I do 
grow L. radiata, but it is not a good bloomer due to continual winter 
damage to foliage and L. houdyshelii which also rarely blooms. Both 
persist.  On the gulf coast of the US L. radiata is vigorous common 
and a reliable bloomer.

	I think your best test of whether you can grow any Lycoris in 
your new location is to ask close neighbors if they can grow L. 
squamigera or L. radiata as these are essentially 'key' species in 
regard to survivability. Or drive around and see if any are in bloom 
- squamigera now - radiata in a few weeks.

	Lycoris do not require a summer baking, but tolerate it. 
Right now L. squamigera is coming up through hard baked hot soil (100 
F plus for days).  Even in full sun. I am sure it would bloom better 
in more evenly damp soil and half a day's shade or more.  Some bulbs 
in shade are actually blooming better than those in more sun. When we 
get a (cooling? ) rain, more stalks should pop up. The same is true 
for the 20 or so species and hybrids most all of which grow well and 
produce spring foliage.

	Crinums are a whole other story. I can parrot Jim S's 
experience (except I don't grow C. variable). The vast majority of 
Crinums are ill suited to growing outdoors in our climates.

	Now the exception. I have seen various species of 
fall-foliage Lycoris growing and blooming in Central Hunan and 
Jiangsu Province which are both Zone 8 - give or take. We all know 
not all zone 8s are equal. But Hunan and Jiangsu have much milder 
temps than I do.

	Depending how adventurous you are, get a few bulbs of L. 
radiata and L. squamigera this fall. Plant them in sites that do not 
dry out and in half sun. See what blooms. Lycoris 'resent' pots and 
moving. They routinely take 2 or 3 years to recover and bloom.  I am 
sure I have told this before, but one year I planted 25 bulbs of L. 
chinensis sort of late in the season and all had no roots ( a 
condition Lycoris hate!). The first spring only 3 came up and 
bloomed, the second spring about 20 came up and bloomed, and in the 
third spring all 25 came up and bloomed a few with multiple bloom 


	But do try some of the smaller crinum. You should be able to 
grow quite a few in your new milder location.

		Best wishes and good luck with the move.		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 +

More information about the pbs mailing list