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I was at the garden of Texas plantsman Greg Grant when I first saw the peppermint surprise lily. I had grown lots of surprise lilies, but nothing like Lycoris incarnata. The Chinese Lycoris incarnata, from Yunnan and Hubei Provinces, produces 20" tall stalks, starting for us in mid-August with 6-9 frilly white flowers that have a red stripe down the center of each petal. Even before the buds open, Lycoris incarnata is truly superb...vaguely reminiscent of a miniature, lacy "milk-and-wine" crinum lily. To flower well, Lycoris incarnata seems to need a dry period during summer months. The foliage on Lycoris incarnata doesn't emerge until late winter, making it quite adaptable to much colder climates than the surprise lilies with fall-emerging foliage.
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