Monday, December 7, 2009

Amaryllis in Time for Christmas

I wasn't going to have an Amaryllis this year, until I saw the bulbs in a bin at Ramona's Flint River Nursery. They had sprouted in the warm room. She said the ones she'd potted and put outside in the cool didn't have buds yet. When I got home, I called back and asked her to put the two bulbs with the tallest sprouts aside for me.


Lying in a cardboard bin, they'd sprouted into a curve, trying to reach the light. I potted them with their shoulders showing, mulched with a few river stones and gave them a drink for those parched roots. The roots are not to be trimmed off. Because the buds were already sprouted and growing, it was not necessary to put them in a dim, warm place for a few days. I turned them away from the sun, so they would follow the light and straighten up.





Sure enough, in only 5 days they were straight up. They need to be turned regularly so they stay erect. Another 3 days and the bud was beginning to crack open.
The next day, the petals were visible inside the bud.


Guidelines I try to remember for growing Amaryllis:
  • Amaryllis bulbs are tender; do not pre-chill, expose to frost or allow to freeze.
  • When searching for bulbs on the net, they are sometimes found under 'Hippeastrum.'
  • Pot in a neutral pH, sterile soil medium. Give the bulb a good drink and do not water a dry bulb again until green growth appears. Best to not mist nor use overhead irrigation.
  • Foliage may appear before or after flowering.
  • For subsequent bloom in pots: deadhead the spent blooms, fertilize lightly through mid-summer. In July, put the potted plants in a dark well-ventilated spot with no water, allowing the foliage to die completely. Bring out again in early November, cut off the dead foliage, add fresh soil without damaging the roots and start over with a light watering. When the bulb has sprouted again, start to water.
Eleventh Day:


Did I mention that Exotica is not red, but a pretty peach color with red striations?
They should be fully open in a few days. I'll post the blooms.







19 comments:

  1. They are very suitable to our climate. wonderful tips. they flower twice an year. great to see they are blooming for you at right time. enjoy the blooms.

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  2. I have just got mine planted. I hope they grow as fast as yours have.

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  3. How kind of you to rescue a couple of beautiful amaryllis'. You did a great job getting them to straighten out. It's amazing that they can send out a flower bulb when they're not even planted in soil. Enjoy!

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  4. Nell, I love Amaryllis but almost never get around to starting them in time. Sometimes I end up with blooms in May, just when I could care less about them. I'm going to look for some that have already sprouted! -Jean

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  5. Isn't it amazing just how quickly they grow. Look forward to seeing more photos. I have bought a couple of bulbs but still have to plant them.

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  6. I do love these lovely plants. I have yet to put mine away ... still growing their long leaves. Oh dear . . . I never do get them ready in time for Christmas. I should have blooms in February when it is quite cold and one longs for spring. I love your series of photos and the colors are beautiful. Carol

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  7. Great information. This is my first year growing them and they are just barely starting to show new growth. I had wondered about deadheading them. Yours look very happy you gave them a home.

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  8. They did need your love and care. You brought them back and the blooms are so pretty. Love the peach color.

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  9. Thanks, y'all for all the nice comments. If you haven't planted them yet, they'll be really pretty for Valentines, or any time in the cold winter, or even Mother's Day. Hurry, hurry.

    Catherine, we're about to get off into deep water here. Those of us who grow amaryllis in the ground sometimes save seed -- another whole subject. I don't know about letting bulbs go to seed if you're leaving them in the pot, whether it takes away from the renewal of the bulb for the next season. Have to look that up, whether to deadhead before seed set. Before anybody asks, it takes about 3 years to get a bloom from seed, if that soon.

    I have not brought any to blossom from seed, YET, but I have little bulbs in the ground from seed. They needed more fertilizer than they got, I think. I see them growing in gardens around here and they are multiplying like mad.

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  10. Oh my goodness, I can't believe they straightened up so quickly. What a blessing to find some with a head start. I look forward to seeing the pretty peach-colored blooms.

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  11. They look quite happy that you rescued them. That is a pretty color! I see your holiday cactus is about to bloom, too, unless those are finished flowers I was seeing.

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  12. What a lucky find! Amaryllis is one of the few houseplants I've had repeated success with... till the Year of the Slugs finished off my "family" during a summer vacation outdoors. Must restock! They're always such a treat, even if not in time for the holidays.

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  13. Nice going, Nell. What a lovely reward for your efforts.

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  14. Great tips and easy too! I hope that I will remember this for next year. Or maybe even I will try now, if I find nice amaryllis bulbs these days.

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  15. I've been unable to do much in the way of blogging lately, but am so glad to read this post.

    I wonder if you should add to your guidelines: do not buy Amaryllis Kit. Phillip and I planted a bulb on October 23 in hopes he could give it to his mother for Christmas. It did nothing for more than a month. This last week it has finally grown a couple of inches. We haven't given up hope.

    You have the magic touch, NellJean.

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  16. I had good and bad results with the kits, Donna, but I didn't use the little containers and coir fiber included with them. I put them in a regular pot with good potting soil. Phillip's Mom will appreciate the bulb if it has any growth at all; she can watch its progress, which is the real joy of a plant. It will grow really fast now that it has started growing, and may show color by Christmas.

    Back to Catherine: I researched letting amaryllis set seeds. It does take energy away that would be better used to make next year's blossoms. Cut the faded blossoms back to where the little stems join the upright stem.

    Most writers agreed that growing from seeds takes years of patience, suitable for people like me who are just curious, but not for quick results.

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  17. I love the gorgeous peach color! Two years ago our granddaughter bought me a white one... I'll have to post it.... beautiful, but not white.;)

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  18. Amaryllis is a beautiful plant. I love to watch the buds grow into flowers. I mean watching other people's amaryllis blossom because I have never been able to grow babies from bulbs. By the way, you can also use the trash bin to kick out nasty commenters for good like the 'series of dots' fella. Just that he gets the chance to flash his assets first before you can kick him out.

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  19. Very pretty Amaryllis Nell Jean. I have one on the dining room table, almost in suspended animation....wish it would get moving.

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I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.



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