Planting depth for Lycoris

James Waddick via pbs
Sun, 18 Oct 2020 08:57:58 PDT
Dear Bill, 

	Interesting comments, but it also reflects our different growing conditions.  This spring here in Kansas City I had the best bloom ever on my few bulbs of L. sanguineae ssp kiusiana. I also had my first seed set on this species.

	Unlike most springs where we go from subfreezing to hot and dry, we had an extended cool damp spring, something more like what should be typical in most of the country. My L sanguinea in most years come up slowly, never get very tall and have sparse or no bloom. This winter the stems were tall - maybe close to double their ‘usual height’ and they seemed to have more flowers per stem (although I did not make notes). Most stems also produced multiple seeds. Definitely better growing and seed production conditions.

	Does this compare with your suggestions?			Best		Jim W. 

> On Oct 16, 2020, at 8:26 AM, William Hoffmann via pbs <> wrote:
> Tony mentioned our discussion about spring temperatures. My thoughts
> on the importance of a long,cool spring for spring-foliage Lycoris
> comes partly from speculation and partly from my experience with L.
> sanguinea. In trying to get the sanguinea to bloom, I tried piling
> snow and ice on top of the soil all winter one year, whenever either
> was available. I kept buckets partially filled with water to have a
> ready supply of ice whenever night temperatures were cold enough. I
> thought this should have generated plenty of chilling, but it did no
> good. But then, in 2019, after what to me seemed to be an unusually
> long spring for us, my L. sanguinea bloomed for the first time. Though
> this year also seems like a long,cool spring, and did not get any
> flowering. So, really just some anecdotal evidence.
>    My speculation is that a short spring limits carbon gain of
> spring-foliage species, similar to the way that cold damage limits
> carbon gain of fall-foliage species, which everyone seems to agree
> impairs flowering. It seems well documented that warm temperatures can
> accelerate leaf senescence in spring ephemerals, and it seems true for
> Lycoris. So a quick transition from winter to summer might not give
> enough time for the plant to accumulate enough carbohydrate for
> reliable flowering. Perhaps partial shade can have a similar effect as
> a long spring. Tony, when we spoke, you seemed to know which Lycoris
> bloom best in partial shade. I am curious if these tend to be the
> spring-foliage species.
>    Curiously I too transplanted some L. squamigera this spring and a
> few them bloomed. My established clumps did not.
> Bill
>> 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...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.
> -- 
> William A. Hoffmann
> Professor
> Department of Plant & Microbial Biology
> North Carolina State University
> Raleigh, NC, 27695-7612
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