Lycoris behavior

Tony Avent via pbs
Fri, 16 Oct 2020 03:26:24 PDT
Hi Jim;

In compiling lycoris data, I noticed that all lycoris species occur naturally in a single province, Jiangsu, which seemed odd considering the differences you outlined. Is this one of the areas you visited?  The province with the 2nd most species is Zhejiang, followed by Anhui.

Tony Avent
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From: pbs <> On Behalf Of James Waddick via pbs
Sent: Thursday, October 15, 2020 4:13 PM
To: Pacific Bulb Society <>
Cc: James Waddick <>
Subject: [pbs] Lycoris behavior

Dear PBS,

Not all species are the same. The genus Lycoris is composed of 2 quite distinct subgenera.

The subgenus that includes the spring foliage species most notably L. squamigera, L. chinensis and others produces is annual foliage in spring at the end of winter. They bloom in late summer and early fall months after the foliage has gone dormant. These species and their hybrids are generally quite cold hardy through Zone 5 and generally grow and bloom best no warmer than Zone 7/8.

The 2nd subgenus is characterized by winter foliage that appears in late fall often AFTER the flowers have finished and the foliage persists in winter. These species such as L. radiata and others are NOT reliably hardy in Zone 5 , but do best further south than spring foliage species.

They are almost mutually exclusive to some extent, but some exceptions and variation are expected.

Growing depth can be estimated by their behavior in the wild. I have seen fall foliage species grow in mild parts of S. W. China with half or more of the bulb fully above ground. These can also grow in seasonally wet environments.

Spring foliage species grow in N. E. China with their bulbs fully beneath the surface, but rarely deep. Often the top of the bulb is barely covered.

None of these do well under conditions similar to Dutch Bulbs (tulips etc). They do not prosper if given hot summer baking. They require some degree of year round soil moisture and shade.

The main ‘lesson’ is that Spring foliage species and Fall foliage species probably require different year round gardening techniques and climates to grow and bloom routinely.

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