Lycoris squamigera in warm climates

Jim McKenney
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 10:38:47 PDT
Last weekend I was in Bridgewater VA (elevation 1178 feet, longitude 38.39 or about 70 miles south of my home here in Maryland, but also well west- longitude 78.97W - of here) and saw numerous Lycoris squamigera in bloom. The first to open here at home (elevation about 285 feet) started a day or two ago.

Sometime in the past, maybe a few years ago now, Jim Waddick pointed out that he had seen Lycoris growing on the dykes or banks which separated rice paddies. Ever since reading that, I've been tempted to plant a few in my bog trays at the edge of my garden pond (these bog trays dry out occasionally as the water level drops in the pond). Bloom on Lycoris squamigera has been erratic over the years here: there is some bloom every year, but there are also plants which have been here for years and never bloom. Leafy growth is profuse yearly; but blooming scapes are not as abundant as the leafy growth seems to promise. 

I've often wondered if a good flooding will trigger bloom. I know for a fact that in drought years the plants produce very short scapes. And only this week some potted bulbs of Lycoris squamigera which got soaked in a rain storm  have started to send up scapes. 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where my six foot bay (Laurus nobilis), which a month ago seemed to have been killed outright by last winter's cold spell, now has a sprout coming up from below ground.   

On Thursday, July 31, 2014 12:48 PM, Jane McGary <> wrote:

Some years ago I bought several species of Lycoris, including L. 
squamigera, and they mostly survived winters in the foothills about 
Portland, Oregon, but none of them ever flowered. I assumed this was 
due to their experiencing cool nights and low humidity in summer. 
These conditions often adversely affect plants that have evolved in 
humid-summer regions where night temperatures are not extremely lower 
than day temperatures in summer. A typical example was the past few 
days, with daytime highs around 90 degrees F and nighttime lows 
around 60 degrees F. At slightly higher elevations the drop can be 
even greater.

I never managed to flower Nerine except in a solarium, but I know of 
plants that flower in Portland in the open, especially in sites 
against a west-facing wall. Now I have Amaryllis belladonna in that 
type of site and will see if it ever flowers; it did survive our 
unusually cold spells this past winter. Agapanthus in the same site 
froze to death, but to my amazement Iris unguicularis is thriving 
with almost no damage there.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

At 09:11 AM 7/31/2014, you wrote:

>That's worth checking into. Sebastopol may have one of the highest 
>concentrations of Amaryllis belladonna in Sonoma County but I have 
>yet to see any Lycoris squamigera flowering there.

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