Will Lycoris grow from purchased, packaged bulbs?

eukofiosSeptember 23, 2009

I've been trying for years to get a stand of Lycoris squamigera started. My family grew it for generations without problems, in Illinois. The flowers are gone now, along with my family members.

I have one bulb that comes up annually, then the leaves die down, but no flowers. I've planted many others - not a cheap process - and none have grown. Maybe one other that also died.

Researching the internet, I see that they often don't bloom for 2 or 3 years after planting. Also, they really resent being moved. Some authors give up after a few tries. I don't want to move or replant the one that I have growing, for this reason. It has not bloomed, ever, but has been growing for about 4 years.

I've read that they are planted 6 inches deep, or with the neck at ground level. I've read that they grow in warmer climates than I live in (W. Washington state, Zone 7 or 8), and I know they'll grow colder.

I'm wondering if the purchased bulbs are just false promises, not likely to grow and a waste of money. Some writers claim that L. squamigera are very easy. Others claim nearly impossible.

I also have some L radiata that I just bought. I'm wondering if they will be easier. But I really want the L squamigera.

I grow all of the other usual bulbs with no problems - tulips, narcissus, leucanthus, scilla, muscari, erythronium, and many more.

So the main questions are:

For Lycoris squamigera, are purchased bulbs useless, or do they grow?

Should they be planted 6" deep, or near the surface?

Are L. radiata easier to get started?


Here is a link that might be useful:

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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Here in my zone, the neck of the bulb is probably about an inch (or less) from the top of the soil. Is your bulb getting a good deal of sun? It 'should' be established enough by now to bloom for you. My 'guess' is that it is likely planted too deeply, and I would advise lifting it now.


    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 12:08AM
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My L. radiata seem to be happiest with the shoulders of the bulb just peeking above ground. Mine also bloomed the month I planted them, then took a vacation for two years. Make sure to give them lots of sun, especially in your climate--maybe even on the south side of a wall to give them extra heat--and feed them lightly but regularly while they have leaves.
Good luck! : )

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 11:31AM
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Thank you both. I will plant shallow.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2009 at 9:36PM
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All of my Lycoris have been grown from purchased bulbs, other than the ones I've propagated. I'm guessing the two missing ingredients may be time and sunlight.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2009 at 5:13AM
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