These common names arise from their flower stalks which appear almost overnight sans any sign of foliage. They are, as we like to say about certain plants here, born pregnant. The flower stalks emerge from the ground with the bulbous petal casing already swollen, ready to give birth to the blooms.
Lycoris squamigera is the first to appear, usually the last week in July. The weather then is always horrendous, very hot and very dry. These are not the best conditions for long lasting blooms, but since we lack power over the weather gods, that is the way of it. Oftentimes we are out of town, vacationing in some pleasant locale, and completely miss the Lycoris squamigera eruption. This year luck was with us, for we had just returned from the garden blogger fling in Seattle to see the pink fluff of flowers.
Lycoris can be divided into two groups…those whose foliage appears in fall and those whose foliage appears in spring. The fall foliage groups are only reliably winter-hardy into colder Zone 7 and warmer Zone 6b climates. Those with spring emerging foliage can be grown into Zones 4 and 5. Here in the Fairegarden we have both kinds. Lycoris Squamigera has leaves that appear in the spring, looking like fat daffodil leaves. Those with fall foliage are also grown, Lycoris radiata being one. Two new varieties with fall foliage that emerges after the flower stalks, a yellow and a white, were ordered last fall, but have not bloomed as yet so will not be included in this post. Maybe some year they will join the story, it is hoped.
While Lycoris are incredibly drought-tolerant, they flower much better when provided with some moisture during their dormant period in late spring and early summer. Moisture can be iffy here beginning in late spring and lasting well into fall. That is why it is such a pleasure to see the fat buds pushing out of the earth, the above being Lycoris radiata.
Last year, 2010, saw the first bloom of Lycoris radiata, aka spider lily, with one stalk. Click here-A Surprise Worth The Wait to read about it. The flowers are a candy coral-red with very long filamentous stamens which are very arachnid looking. We are pleased to note that this year there are two stalks. Let us hope for an exponential increase with each passing year.