Planting Lycoris squamigera.

Jim McKenney
Wed, 15 Nov 2006 15:36:38 PST
Thanks for those links, Robert. 

The data on that NC State University site is in need of some finessing. They
show Lycoris squamigera as hardy in zones 9 and 10 and requiring mulching in
zones 8-5. It has long been known that Lycoris squamigera is more or less
useless as a flowering plant in zones 9 and 10 and perhaps even in the
warmer parts of zone 8. On the other hand, it thrives - with or without
mulch - from zone 7 northwards. 

Furthermore, the foliage is not produced in the spring; it's produced in the
mid to late winter. Also, the hardiness data given is peculiar: they show
the plant as injured at temperatures just below freezing. Yet in my garden
the new foliage routinely appears when nighttime temperatures are still
dropping down into the teens.  

This site also suggests spring planting: spring planted bulbs are almost
certain to be storage bulbs, bulbs dug the previous summer and held over for
spring planting - bulbs which have been out of the ground for six or more
months, part of which time is their prime root growing season. 

And I think few of us would say that these bulbs benefit from dry storage.
Yes, they will survive dry storage for awhile; but they are better off not
stored at all. 

Lycoris are like Lilium candidum: they don't fit into the usual bulb
handling routines. Both should be handled in late summer. 

Thanks in particular, Robert, for calling attention to the Caldwell article.
I first read this earlier this year, after making a post to this list
suggesting that Lycoris squamigera might set seed if pollinated by a Lycoris
with tetraploid pollen. There was no response to that idea, but the Caldwell
article suggests to me that at least some forms of Lycoris chinensis ( or
maybe I should say some of the plants called Lycoris chinensis) might be

Incidentally, I live not too far from Glenn Dale, Maryland, and I've known
about the "Glenn Dale yellow Lycoris" for a long time; but I've never been
able to find anyone who can confirm if it still grows in a local garden. I
seem to recall hearing that a USDA staffer had it in his personal garden
decades ago, but he died long ago.  For me the trail stops dead there.

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7
My Virtual Maryland Garden
Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 
Editor PVC Bulletin
Webmaster Potomac Lily Society

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