Good Gardening: How to Make Amaryllis Bloom After Christmas

Good Gardening: How to Make Amaryllis Bloom After Christmas

This morning I said to myself, “I” (and I knew it was me, because I recognized my voice, and I was wearing my pajamas) “Today is going to be a good day! I’m going to write about amaryllis.

Well, that's not exactly how it went. I believe I can rise and shine…but not at the same time.

At Christmas time, you can find amaryllis almost everywhere — in big box stores, convenience stores, and grocery stores somewhere between canned peaches and Bisquick.

Clarence Schmidt

(courtesy photo)

After the New Year, many people are ready to open the halls and throw out their seasonal flowering houseplants. Instead, keep the holiday spirit alive. When the amaryllis has finished blooming, try to get it to bloom again.

Or do nothing and let the plant do its job all year. But where's the fun in that?

These tender perennials are sold individually or as part of a set that includes the bulb, a heavy pot and some potting mix.

Some garden centers offer larger bulbs that give you more options in variety and sizes. The larger the bulb, the more flowers the plant can produce.

Flowers can be red. White, pink, salmon, apricot, burgundy, or a combination thereof. It can grow 18 to 36 inches tall and 6 to 8 inches wide, and blooms in spring and winter.

As every plant lover says, “it's so easy to grow.” In this case they would be right.

Warning: As with most bulbous plants, it is toxic to humans and pets. The plant contains lycorine, which may have harmful effects on the digestive system if ingested.

During the spring and summer, you can grow amaryllis as a foliage plant. Use a fast-acting, high-phosphorus fertilizer (such as 10-20-15) when the flower blooms.

In Poway and Rancho Bernardo, these are heavy duty outdoor lights. They can be kept in containers or planted in the ground about eight weeks before you want to see them bloom.

They like more than six hours of sunlight and temperatures between 60 degrees to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Water only when the upper part of the soil dries, taking care not to let water reach the neck of the bulb. If the stem starts to lean, place a stake next to it.

They hate Jack Frost and won't survive, so bring them inside and stop watering.

According to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, they need drought to induce a period of dormancy (until fall). Store the pot in a dark place around 50 degrees F, then move it to a warmer location (70 to 75 degrees F) and water in mid-November, for Christmas blooms.

They produce flowers between late winter and mid-spring. Once the flowers have faded, cut the flower stem back to about 2 inches from the top of the bulb. Keep the foliage intact so the bulb can absorb energy and replenish nutrients lost during flowering.

According to Wright State University. https://corescholar.libraries.wright.edu, “Although caffeine is naturally found in many plant species and can be used on plants to control pests such as slugs, snails, bacteria and birds, this study concluded that caffeine inhibits root growth by reducing Protein production.”

Anyway, as long as it is green, the main stem will promote photosynthesis and continue to absorb light and provide nutrients to the bulb.

Remove the bulb from the soil and store it on its side in a cool, dark area to rest for 8 to 10 weeks.

In early November, to stimulate flowering in time for next Christmas, soak the bulb roots in lukewarm water for 10 hours to hydrate them. Then place a layer of soil at the bottom of the pot, then place the bulb so that the top protrudes above the edge of the pot.

Place the pot in a warm, sunny area and water. Allow the soil to dry between watering. So, expect beautiful lily-like blooms in 10 minutes or 10 weeks, whichever comes first.

The main parasite of the plant is the lily borer. Red spots on the outside of the bulb indicate the presence of a fungal disease.

Some other problems include spider mites, mealybugs, slugs, and snails. Treat these pests with insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils or systemic fungicides.

Greek mythology presents us with the story of Amaryllis, a love-struck maiden who longed for the handsome but cold-hearted Alteo. Desperate to win his love, she pierced her heart with a golden arrow and then visited his hut daily, shedding drops of blood along the way.

On the thirtieth day, beautiful crimson flowers bloomed along the road. Alteo was enchanted, Amaryllis' heart was healed, and our favorite holiday flower got its name. (This happy ending was brought to the Hallmark Channel by Penn State Extension.)

This was until it was reclassified in the nineteenth century under the genus Hippeastrum. Source: Gardeners.com

And…here we go again…our friends, the plant wizards are at it again. (By the way, eye rolling is considered cardio.) I hate being in the same room with botanists and taxonomists.

For many years there has been confusion among botanists about the names Amaryllis And Hippestrum. Most amaryllis varieties Those grown today are not “true amaryllis”; They are instead part of sex HippestrumIt is native to South America. the truth Amaryllis AReturn the original to South Africa. They are also known as belladonna lilies, although they are not true lilies.

Bulbs sold as amaryllis and described as “ready to bloom for the holidays” belong to this genus Hippestrum.

As we all know by now, a botanist is someone who solves problems you didn't know you had in a way you can't understand.

Amaryllis plants can use repotting every three or four years.

Candle-covered bulbs do not require watering, soil or potting. Simply place the bulb in a well-lit room and the flower stalks will appear within 4 to 6 weeks. These bulbs contain all the water and nutrients a flower needs.

The problem is that these bulbs die after one growing season and will not bloom again.

Schmidt is a Poway resident with more than 40 years of gardening experience.

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