Planting depth for Lycoris

Tony Avent via pbs
Wed, 14 Oct 2020 17:37:48 PDT
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.

We have seen a huge genetic difference in clones within the same species/hybrid group.  For several years, we evaluated all the fall-leaved clones we grow for foliage appearance in very late winter early spring and rated them 1-10, with 10 being undamaged foliage, and 1 looking like it was hit with a blowtorch. We had 45 clones that ranked 1-2, and consequently rarely produce enough energy to flower.  96 clones ranked 3-6, and flower sporadically, usually after mild winters. 57 clones ranked 7-8 and flower rather consistently.  Only 3 clones ranked 9-10, and flower without fail for us. These are Lycoris 'Syosyu-no-Shirabe', x straminea 'Caldwell's Original' , and x rosguinea 'Syuhtou'.

Interestingly, F1 crosses between a fall and spring-leaved species are usually the worst performers because their foliage tries to emerge late October to December, so they rarely produce energy for the bulbs to flowers.  When these are crossed back to the tender parent, they flower more consistently because the foliage emerges earlier, therefore producing more food for the bulbs before cold weather.

I hope this helps.

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.

From: pbs <> On Behalf Of Jim McKenney via pbs
Sent: Wednesday, October 14, 2020 8:14 PM
To: Pacific Bulb Society <>
Cc: Jim McKenney <>
Subject: [pbs] Planting depth for Lycoris

Is there a reliable consensus about the right depth to plant Lycoris bulbs in order to encourage bloom? Should those which produce winter foliage be planted differently than those which produce late winter foliage? Jim McKenneyMontgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7

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