Monday, May 6, 2013

Amaryllis bulbs

Not to drift too far from the gardening theme, but our very old amaryllis bulb bloomed again, as expected.

For those viewing this post in the distant future, note that it's early May, when most tulips are still in bloom but starting to move beyond the flowering stage (I won't use the word "die").  Most magnolias are a bit beyond the blooms, and dogwoods are in full bloom.  Amaryllises do not bloom during the holidays in their natural state, just like paperwhites, tulips, or other forced bulbs don't normally bloom in December.  Amaryllises just don't survive the winters like those other flowering bulbs, so they are sold as quasi-houseplants, and hence the industry can chose when to make them bloom.

The one pictured was purchased in January 2000.  It hasn't bloomed every year since, but it has when I followed each rule below:

How to make your amaryllis bloom year after year

  1. After bloom, remove from pot, trim roots (if too tight) and add more soil, or amend old soil with compost.
  2. Place plant in very sunny location, outdoors.  Can be in pot or ground.  Not much attention needs to be given, but water every-once-in-awhile.
  3. Bring indoors in Fall before it freezes.  Cut leaves off, just leaving an inch.
  4. Water a little every few weeks; will be dormant for many months.
That is pretty much all I ever do.  When I lived in an apartment with no balcony or yard, I kept it in a sunny window and then it had new leaves, but no bloom.  Another year, I skipped the part about replacing soil or adding compost, left it in a sunny balcony, and again I got leaves, but no bloom.  Thirteen years, and we've had at least ten blooms.

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