Gardening Hotline: Tips for Growing Amaryllis Year-Round | Community news

Gardening Hotline: Tips for Growing Amaryllis Year-Round |  Community news

Amaryllis is one of the most beautiful flowers in the garden. The huge flowers and large bulbs make it look like fake plants. They are cheerful plants and I think some people are afraid to grow them.

Boy, they really put on a show and are easy to grow.

You can extend their color by forcing them in the off-season or leaving them in the ground and enjoying them in the spring.

Amaryllis are unique in that they do not respond to photoperiod (hours of light received). This makes forcing amaryllis easier than forcing poinsettias to bring in and out of a dark closet until they turn red. You don’t have to regulate the hours of light your amaryllis bulb receives.

All you have to do is hold back the moisture (i.e. don’t use water or fertilizer for eight to 10 weeks). While the water is trapped, you can place it in a cool, dark place away from any direct light and forget about it. Since amaryllis originate in the tropics of South America, they also don’t have to worry about refrigeration requirements (i.e. no lights in the refrigerator next to the lettuce).

Once you take the bulb out of your garden, you will need to transplant it into a pot with well-draining soil. Equal amounts of peat moss and perlite should provide you with a good growing medium. Do not use pine bark method. Make sure the pot has good drainage. A 6-inch pot is usually appropriate for each bulb.

Ideally, the pH will be between 6.0 and 6.5. When placing the bulb in a peat/perlite mixture, place at least one-third to one-half of the bulb above the surface. This will help reduce a disease called fire or red spot caused by wet bulb nose. When watering, avoid watering the nose of the bulb. You must wait until the plant leaves before fertilizing or the roots may rot.

While the bulb is resting, check it after four weeks and look for new growth at the top of the bulb. Sometimes it doesn’t take a full eight to ten weeks. If the bulb starts to grow, you can bring it out into the light and start watering and fertilizing it. Fertilize every two weeks with a 20-20-20 fertilizer and in about six weeks you will have a new flower.

If you really love amaryllis and all the colors they come in, you can reel in (buy or dig up some bulbs at one or two-week intervals), force them and have a constant supply of flowering amaryllis year-round!

Here’s what else might be happening in your garden. One thing about living in the Lowcountry: When something happens in the park, word spreads fast. Last Friday I was asked to look at some viburnums and the first call to ‘The Garden Clinic’ was for the same disease. Extremely hot, hot days and low humidity caused a disease that exploded because the soil dried quickly.

Botryosphaeria Dieback and Canker have caused a sensation in the area. Many of the viburnums I looked at were used as hedges, and had accumulated leaves and debris at the base of the plant causing adventitious roots to grow into the debris. These adventitious roots “take over” as the main roots growing into the soil and drying out very quickly.

Pruning dead plants (sterilizing shears and spraying wounds with T-Methyl) and getting the plant as healthy as possible (removing accumulated debris, watering and fertilizing according to soil test) will help them overcome the damage.

Always read, understand and follow the product label. Product labeling is a federal law.

Bill Lamson-Scribner can be reached during the week at Possum’s Landscape and Pest Control Supply, 481 Long Point Road in Mount Pleasant (971-9601). Or visit

    (tags for translation)Gardening Hotline

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