The Q&A Archives: Strange Lycoris Bulbs

Question: I purchased some Lycoris bulbs, planted them in the spring like the instructions said, and they failed to grow. However, the following fall, green strap-like foliage appeared and stayed the winter. Nothing happened in the spring and the foliage disappeared. No summer "resurrection" blooms. This fall the foliage appeared again. What is going on? Are the bulbs "off cycle" or what?

Answer: Lycoris, the Spider Lily, is rather fussy and doesn't like to be disturbed. They also bloom best when the roots are somewhat crowded. The mere fact that they were planted in the ground might have been enough to set them back for a time. They will adjust, though, and begin to perform if your bulbs are planted in full sun to light shade, and you keep the soil moist during the spring and early summer, but let the soil dry out in the late summer. It's natural for the leaves to appear and then die down before a bloom appears. The leaves are providing the energy the bulb needs to produce a flower. Just exercise a little more patience and you're sure to be rewarded with spectacular flowers.

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