Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Amaryllis in Bloom

For the first time in four years of trying, two out of four potted Amaryllis bulbs have bloomed! One bulb even has two flower stems.

 I inherited these red Amaryllis bulbs from my Grandmother. She received them for Christmas one year and continued to take care of them after the flowers had faded since the leaves were still green and growing. When she left her home, I brought her plants to my home to care for. Pink geraniums which she had for many years have bloomed faithfully for me almost continuously. These Amaryllis bulbs are a different story.

I have cared for them according to the horticultural advice. The plants receive plenty of sunlight and water. After the last frost in spring, I move them to a shady but bright spot on the side porch and continue to water. In late September, I tip the pots so that they will not receive water or rain and are forced to go dormant.  I usually bring them in early October and store in the basement for a few weeks, bringing them upstairs to sunlight and resume watering. Each year new leaves sprout and grow but a flower stalk does not develop. This year I left the potted bulbs out until early November and brought in after a few light frosts. Bringing them up to the southern window in the dining room in early December, they promptly sprouted and this time produced flower stalks which are now blooming.
It may be that the colder temperatures forced it to produce flowers, or it may be that it needed five years to rejuvenate enough to produce flowers. We will see what they do next year. It is not clear why the other bulbs - white ones given to me by a friend before they moved - which were treated in the same manner are growing leaves but have not developed flowers. It may be because I haven't been growing them as long.

For now, I am thoroughly enjoying the rich orange-red color against the snowy backdrop outside the window.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know Amaryllis required such detailed care. They're gorgeous! My daddy sent me a Christmas Cactus a few years ago and after Christmas I throw it outside (well not literally) and leave it until the next Dec when it is blooming again! I don't do anything to it all year except water it when I bring it in. It is the weirdest plant!!!


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