Lycoris radiata AKA 'Spider Lily'

randit(z8 southern NM)October 2, 2004

I am still hoping to move some Lycoris to NM. I have had very poor results from this beautiful plant, UNTIL a friend gave me some of her veeery old Spider Lilies...of which she has a kazillion. These bulbs have already started to bloom...yet the "original" plants that came from a Dutch mail order source have already sent up a big stand of nice green leaves, and not a single bloom. They have been in the garden for several years. Should I try to move the mail-order Lycoris?.... Has anyone, in the SW, had ANY luck getting blooms from anything other than "pass-along" strains of this spectacular plant? Am I doing something wrong? These bulbs were all put into the same size pots, under a shade-cloth-covered frame? WHY the difference in growth/bloom? Any ideas?..When we move...all "non-performers" ain't gonna make the trip!

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Infinity(8a Texas)

Oh...don't give up on the mail order ones...I have old plants ..goodness the lady that planted these whom I bought my house from is 103 years old. Some years they bloom like crazy otheres not...I am told that they like a real hot dry spell and then good watering to bloom...and that they won't bloom for years when distrubed.
Never give up...I had a white one bloom for the first time last bloom this year. I have been here 30 years...
get surprises all the time from my spider lilies.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2004 at 3:55PM
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Let me quote a phrase I liked from Tony Avent (Plants Delight), 'flowering seems to be controlled by aliens from outer space' regarding flowering of Lycoris radiata.
Which reiterates what Infinity said. I've had some that took 4 years to clump up and start blooming after planting. I've had others that bloomed the next year. You just never know what they'll do and when. They definitely have their own private calendar.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2004 at 7:16AM
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randit(z8 southern NM)

Thanks, Infinity, and dbarron. Those wretched mail order plants have yet to send up a single bloom after I dug them from the ground, and potted them up. The Old-tymey bulbs bloomed some, even though they were more-recently potted up. I think these bulbs are soooo beautiful...but Tony Avent appears to be right,..?. Thanks for the tip re the real hot spell, then much water. That pretty much duplicates weather-wise, what we had before, and after, hurricanes Frances and Jean. I will remember this.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2004 at 3:52PM
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I'm glad you posted this because my two year old nursery-purchased Lycoris radiata haven't done anything either and I didn't have a clue as to why. At least I know I'm not the lone Ranger with this plant.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2004 at 11:41PM
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randit(z8 southern NM)

Thanks, Ankraras & Redthistle for more feedback on these beautiful members of the Amaryllis family. Ankraras...I have to guess at the size of the bulbs of the these two separate groups of Spider Lilies, because they have been potted up for several months now. The pass-along plants, which managed to bloom this fall, have smaller bulbs than the "plumper" catalog-variety. I would guess that the Old Tymey bulbs have a maximum diameter three-quarters to one inch. The store-bought bulbs are larger,..some 2+ inches in diameter and yet they still refuse to bloom.,..Grrrrrr. Both groups of plants look like Happy Campers, but the catalog variety is still MUCH more luxurient as to length of (otherwise identical) foliage. Does any of this make sense? Thanks....some of these are close to making their 1700 mile journey to NM...others may "go south" (like.. STAY in the South).

    Bookmark   December 3, 2004 at 10:27PM
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Clotilde_Soupert(z9b/east texas)

My red spiderlilies are from my grandmother and great grandmother. They always bloom about Sept. 12 here in z9, before the leaves come. We often find red spiderlily bulbs lying out on the ground. Mama said they are so prolific they just push themselves out of the ground. They have a real personality, and are very well loved.
In my gypsy days, Mama used to give me grocery sacks of the bulbs that I planted all over Texas. They always grew and bloomed.
I had to move some of them twice this year, and some of them still bloomed! I think the old-timey ones are worth any trouble. I'm not sure about the ones in commerce, where they came from, but they've probably been messed with.
I was recently given some yellow ones, and they only bloom about every three years, twice now in 6 years.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2004 at 3:37PM
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Paul_zone10(10b or 11 FL)

My radiata bloomed in Sept. during hurricane season after massive water flooded front yard. They had been resistant to blooming after being transplanted about 4 years ago and I can see why some get frustrated by their irregular blooming.
ps - don't let them ever see a shovel! I have been told they stop blooming for several years just from the shock of seeing gardening tools!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2004 at 11:30AM
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randit(z8 southern NM)

Thanks, Paul....I am, also, beginning to think that radiata does not want to be disturbed. Although most of the bulbs that I potted up, of the old-tymey variety, have bloomed, and come up with leaves...some of the bulbs are just beginning to emerge in the pots. I made note of the number & general size ...large..medium..small,...of these bulbs when I potted them up. Many of the "max-sized" bulbs appear to have resented their move, more than the "mediums".....which bloomed fine. Some of the larger bulbs are just beginning to show new growth at the soil line. My dozen-or-so pots are not a very "scientific study"....but the variation in bloom & leaf growth is interesting.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2004 at 9:55PM
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yes they are difficult!!!
i have had mine in the ground for maybe 6 yrs. all i ever get is two slender leaves about 3 - 4 inches long....they never seem to die back.
this yr i thought maybe they were to far in the ground so i dug them up and put them (with some better dirt) back cause they were not that far down.....sounds like that might of been a big mistake!!!! lol guess i will just keep on waiting

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 4:15PM
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I have been given some radiata bulbs and I didn't realize I should plant them immediately, instead of in the fall. But they are sprouting, so I'm going to plant them now. How deep?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 10:28AM
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After several years, I got my first blooms this year, 2011. I'd forgotten I had planted them. So, yes, they must be influenced by aliens from outer space. :) I'm planting new ones but don't know how deep. I've been to a dozen online sites. About half say plant so top of bulb is at soil line. Another group say plant deeper, instructions ranging from 3 to 8 in. depth. How can there be such discrepancy in planting instructions??????

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 10:54AM
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megan_anne(TX U.S. z8a)

Dell, I believe that the discrepancy in planting instructions that you saw relate to the frost depths in the areas or zones where the Lycoris will be planted. Lycoris isn't frost hardy, so in areas where the frost get deep, it's better to go deeper with the bulbs. Here where I am, frost is pretty shallow so the shallower planting depths are fine. That might explain it. Even then, it doesn't explain the oddball or "alien influenced" blooming pattern! I got one bloom out of all my Lycoris this year, and I have a lot. Last year, I was flooded with them. Of course, Texas has had a horrific summer this year with record heat and lingering drought, and no blessing rains from tropical storms to dump water on them, as we did in the wake of TS Hermine which prompted mine to flourish. But mine are definitely still alive and multiplying, as they are just beginning to break soil with many more leaf clusters-- even though they didn't bloom. I haven't scared the bejeebus out of them with garden instruments in a few years ever since I divided and transplanted them.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2011 at 3:29AM
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megan_anne(TX U.S. z8a)

All, a Chinese (or maybe Japanese) legend calls these flowers "the flower of a special person who came into our life as a happy surprise, and whom we may never see again". If we are fortunate enough to see this person again, it is a happy, beatiful and magical surprise. If not, then we have the treasure of a special encounter that we will always remember in our hearts. In fact, another name for the Lycoris sp. including radiata is the "surprise lily", or the "magic lily".

As for me-- in the off years, I simply refer to my Lycoris as "those @#$% red spider lilies"! Coincidentally, after a good name-calling, I'm often rewarded the following year with at least a few flowers! Hmmm... maybe some "salt" (as in language) is the key???


    Bookmark   October 8, 2011 at 3:49AM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

The store bought ones seem to come dried out. I have heard from someone , I forget who, that that causes them to take forever to rebloom. The ones I dig up from someones yard and replant never break stride. I have also learned that when on waters them with a deep watering in end of August, that wakes them up for the october blooming. I think if one gets a extended heat in the summer, it is advisable to give it a bit of depth also. My school house AKA oxblood bloom in september and my red spiders bloom in October here in Central Texas. This year. No water, no blooms.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 1:03PM
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