Planting depth for Lycoris

Tony Avent via pbs
Thu, 15 Oct 2020 09:05:51 PDT
Hi Nick;

This brings up another puzzling lycoris issue.  Everything I've ever read has repeated that Lycoris x squamigera flowers only after a very cold, long winter, which is why it flowers reliably in cold climates, but not in warmer regions. This winter (2019/2020) was our mildest in 60 years, with a minimum low of only 23.7F, yet, we had the best flowering of Lycoris x squamigera ever, indicating that something else is at work. Another puzzle is that the bed of Lycoris x squamigera that flowered so incredibly well was divided in 2019. Two other large patches that were not divided had virtually no flowers in 2020.  A question that Bill Hoffman and I discussed is whether lycoris flower buds are formed underground and then some temperature/moisture issue cause them not to break dormancy, or, if the flower buds are simply not formed because of mild winters.  Bill made a very convincing argument that the flower buds are formed regardless, but only break if the conditions are right....sort of l
 ike zephyranthes. That begs the question as what causes the buds to break or not break if they are indeed formed underground.  Bill suggested that our long, cool spring in 2020 caused the buds to break, despite the mild winter temperatures.  Others have long linked rainfall with lycoris flowering, which is certainly the case with zephyranthes. Sounds like a great grad student project.

Tony Avent
Juniper Level Botanic Garden<> and Plant Delights Nursery<>
Ph 919.772.4794/fx 919.772.4752
9241 Sauls Road, Raleigh, North Carolina  27603  USA
USDA Zone 7b/Winter 0-5 F/Summer 95-105F
"Preserving, Studying, Propagating, and Sharing the World's Flora"
Since 1988, Plant Delights Nursery is THE Source for unique, rare and native perennial plants.

The contents of this email message and any attachments are intended solely for the addressee(s) and may contain confidential and/or privileged information and may be legally protected from disclosure. If you are not the intended recipient of this message or their agent, or if this message has been addressed to you in error, please immediately alert the sender by reply email and then delete this message and any attachments. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any use, dissemination, copying, or storage of this message or its attachments is strictly prohibited.

From: pbs <> On Behalf Of Nicholas plummer via pbs
Sent: Thursday, October 15, 2020 11:24 AM
To: Pacific Bulb Society <>
Cc: Nicholas plummer <>
Subject: Re: [pbs] Planting depth for Lycoris

I'm reassured to hear that even at Plant Delights, some Lycoris bloom
sporadically. In my garden, about 45 miles northwest of PDN, L radiata in
all its forms is by far the most reliable Lycoris. No matter what the
winter conditions were, I can be sure that almost every clump of bulbs will
flower every year. All the other hybrids and species are more iffy. This
year, my spring-foliage plants made a particularly poor showing, and I am
wondering if the problem was the very mild winter of 2019/2020. Do the
spring foliage plants need a colder winter to set buds?

Nick Plummer
North Carolina, Zone 7

On Wed, Oct 14, 2020 at 8:37 PM Tony Avent via pbs <><> wrote:

> Hi Jim;
> In our research, it appears that the key is for the fall-leaved species to
> have adequate time for the foliage to grow and feed the bulbs before first
> frost, so the earlier the foliage emerges from the soil, the better. We
> don't find that planting depth is the issue, but instead parentage, and
> then clonal selection. Deeper planting actually causes the foliage to
> emerge later, which makes the plants less likely to flower since the
> foliage doesn't make enough food before being damaged by winter cold
> temperatures.
pbs mailing list<>…
Unsubscribe: <><>

pbs mailing list…
Unsubscribe: <>

More information about the pbs mailing list