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Anyone grow Lycoris radiata in Zone 5?

Posted by linnea56 z5 IL (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 2, 09 at 0:35

Im always tempted by this, but if its not hardy here, I should resist. I always see the red spider lilies in late summer at the Chicago Botanic Garden, but of course they may be just replanting them every year.


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RE: Anyone grow Lycoris radiata in Zone 5?

  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 3, 09 at 20:20

I grow them here in Central Illinois, in zone 5b, but I do grow them in a pot. I take the pot outdoors when all danger of frost has passed, and I bring them in before the weather gets chilly, in late summer. Most of the time, I grow them as a houseplant.

The bulbs I have right now are young, so haven't bloomed yet... but I expect them to flower this year. I treat them very similar to most of my other amaryllids. It's possible to grow tender bulbs in northern gardens, as long you bring them in before the weather gets cold.


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RE: Anyone grow Lycoris radiata in Zone 5?

I grow them here in the ground with no trouble. I live right on the line of zone5/6. They are on the south side of my deck in some shade. They multiply fast so I dig some and move them every other year. I know one other lady who grows them here and they are in the sun. Dig and move when the foliage disappears. I never dig and bring them in in the fall. They don't like to be disturbed, somewhat like the naked ladies.


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RE: Anyone grow Lycoris radiata in Zone 5?

Jodik, I never thought of treating them like a houseplant! Do they die back like tuberous begonias? Or just keep going as foliage plants? They dont need a "rest" period like the begonias seem to?

How do you know a bulb is too young to bloom? What size would that be?

Flowergirl: I'm used to digging dahlias, and it seems like they don't care about being disturbed. So callas are pickier?

I did transplant some naked ladies from my mom's house 2-3 years ago. They sulked and only this spring have some of them turned up! I thought they might have died since I had to transplant them while actively growing. But I had read that they could do this so let the site totally alone. Hard to tell how they managed to live without any leaves to provide energy.


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RE: Anyone grow Lycoris radiata in Zone 5?

  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 7, 09 at 8:11

I treat all tender bulbs as houseplants. Our winters can be too harsh to plant some varieties outdoors, so I keep them in pots. They let me know when they need rest by dropping their leaves, and I cut back on water when they're resting. When new growth appears, I resume normal watering practices.

With my Lycoris radiata bulbs, it's more an age than a size... my bulbs were small and young when I received them. They're still not large bulbs, but they are now old enough to bloom, I believe. I've had them for two years, and they were about a year away from blooming when I got them. I'm hoping to see blooms this summer.


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RE: Anyone grow Lycoris radiata in Zone 5?

Wow, you are patient! Ive nursed along perennials that way but not bulbs! How big would you say is blooming size? If I do mail order I wont have a choice, but if I see them in the store I might. I think I saw them somewhere, just have to remember where. Obviously I will pick the biggest I can, but what size would give me bloom this year? If the ones available are all too small I might pass for this year.

Im already trying callas this year for the first time, and those most likely will have to be in pots. From what I can tell the foliage for those is pretty so if they dont bloom it will be ok. Not sure about Lycoris, though: though I see them growing in the Chicago Botanic Garden every year, I have never noticed the leaves. (I tend to do too many pots and create too much work for myself; not sure I should be adding to it.)

I think I successfully saved over my tuberous begonias for the first time last fall. I had always brought them in before but they always died in a flash. This year I withheld watering after they drooped and I think they made it. Have to check on them in the basement see if they are sprouting.


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