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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.

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.

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.

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.

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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