December 31, 2016
My triple-bloom amaryllis fell over during the night. The flower stalk broke, but there is another one sprouting I think. Is the bulb still ok? If so, what is needed and how can I prevent this from happening again?
This is not an unusual occurrence on amaryllis. The flowers are large and come with three to five blooms per stalk, so the plants are often top-heavy and fall over if left unsupported. Cut off the flower stalk and use it as a cut flower. The foliage should be emerging, and you may even be lucky and have another flower spike. Let the foliage grow. Give it a sunny window and regular water. Once spring arrives, move it outdoors, fertilize every month or two through August, then let the foliage die back and start the cycle over again next fall/winter. The bulb should not be damaged, just the flower stalk, and they can live for many years. If you do have another bloom spike, be sure to turn the plant periodically to keep it from leaning towards the light, and consider weighting the pot a bit to keep it stable, or provide a stake. I had one that toppled a few years ago and took an art glass bowl with it, so I feel your pain.
June 25, 2016
My amaryllis bloomed beautifully this year but now where the blooms are, they have formed these round things. What is it doing now? It has never had these round parts appear.
Those round objects that followed the bloom would be seed pods. Amaryllis can be grown from seed, it just takes a little patience. If you don’t plan to grow them from seed, just cut the stalk off. I normally cut the bloom stalk off immediately following flowering and just grow the foliage.
June 4, 2016
Would you please identify this plant for me? I have had it forever and have just called it hummingbird plant, but some of my friends want to get one, and we don’t know the real name.
The plant in question is a hardy alstroemeria lily, Alstroemeria psittacina. This member of the amaryllis family is a native of Northern Brazil. Common names are Peruvian lily or parrot flower. The blooms on this species are about half the size of the Alstroemeria lilies you buy as a cut flower, but much hardier. They grow from a small, white tuber (bulb). They have survived in my garden for 8 years now. I have them in too much shade, so they don’t bloom as well as they could. They are best in morning sun or filtered sunlight. Protect them from the hot, afternoon sun.
March 1, 2016
I got an amaryllis bulb for the holidays and it was gorgeous, but now I have these floppy big long leaves in the house and I am ready to do something with them. Can I cut them off like daffodil bulbs or move them outside. I am told it will bloom again next year, but I don’t want these leaves inside year-round. Help!
In about a month you can move the amaryllis bulb (with leaves) outside and leave them there until the fall. Amaryllis bulbs need a much longer growing season than a daffodil. We typically grow the foliage from the time it finishes blooming until it goes dormant in late September or October. Although the amaryllis bulbs sold at the holidays are not really considered hardy bulbs for Arkansas, many gardeners have started planting theirs outdoors and leave them year-round and they come back annually, blooming in late spring. If you want to enjoy yours indoors next year, then move it outside in mid-April when it warms up, and either keep it in the pot or sink the pot in the ground. In the fall, gradually taper off on how much you water it, cut off the leaves and bring it inside. Stop watering. When you see a new bud emerging, increase the sunlight and water and you should have a flower in 6 weeks from the buds appearance.
February 27, 2016
In one of your recent columns you talked about planting amaryllis bulbs in the ground. When potting them, the instruction is to leave the top of the bulb exposed. I'm guessing that when planting in the ground they should be fully covered. If so, how many inches of dirt should cover the bulb?
Cover the bulb with the top of the bulb resting at the soil surface. As fall approaches and the foliage dies back, then cover the bulb with an extra few inches of mulch, but do so AFTER it goes dormant. Make sure the site is well-drained. In a really cold winter, they may have damage, but we have seen them growing almost state-wide outside, and most made it through the last two colder than normal winters.
January 16, 2016
I was given a potted amaryllis bulb several years ago. It has bloomed annually and has multiplied. I have potted the new bulbs and am running out of space. Each winter I trim them back and bring them indoors. Will they survive outdoors if planted in a flower bed and covered with mulch? Will they continue to multiply and bloom?
While the answer should be no, they are supposedly rated as hardy to 30 degrees, many Arkansas gardeners have been planting them outside and they are surviving quite nicely—even the past two hard winters. I wouldn’t plant now, but wait until spring and allow the soil to warm up. Then divide some and plant outside in a sunny, well drained location. Let them get established all growing season and next fall after a frost, cut the foliage and mulch and see what happens the following spring. They should bloom for you in late spring and they do multiply. I would keep a few inside just as a backup
December 26, 2015
I was recently given a waxed amaryllis. The directions said to put it anywhere and it doesn’t need any water or care and it will bloom. I can’t imagine how. What directions would you give me for this?
I saw the first one ever a few weeks ago as well. I had not seen this trend, and I don’t think it is a good one. Supposedly it is all the rage in Europe right now. While it is true that everything is contained inside the bulb to bloom when you buy it, with amaryllis, most folks want to keep the bulbs for years. With this waxing method, it prevents any roots from growing and it would be like a forced bulb—once it blooms you throw it away. I have also heard that the waxing process itself may damage the bulb with the heat of the melted wax. It is a new process for me, but if you want to try to keep the bulb see if you can remove the wax without damaging the bulb even further, and then pot it up after bloom and see what happens. Or enjoy and throw it away after bloom.
Winter Gardening Tasks
Continue to clean up in the garden. Since our first killing frost was late, many people still have dead foliage out in the garden. Some late leaves have continued to fall, so those too can be raked and added to the compost pile. If you still have spring blooming bulbs that you haven’t planted, get them in the ground as soon as possible. Remember they need to be exposed to at least 12 – 16 weeks of cool temperatures if they are going to perform at their peak. Winter weeds are the green in your lawn right now. If you plan to spray with an herbicide, do so on a day that is above freezing. Killing winter weeds is not difficult, but the smaller they are, the easier they are to kill. If you have pansies and violas in your landscape, fertilize them on a mild winter day. Deadhead or remove the spent flowers to keep them producing more. Continue to enjoy your poinsettia now that the holidays are over. I like the added color indoors since all the other holiday decorations are gone. Give them plenty of sunlight and even moisture and they will continue to give you color for months. If you can still find them, buy some paper white narcissus and amaryllis bulbs for added color indoors. They are typically in bloom within six weeks of being planted. Amaryllis bulbs can last for years, but paper whites are typically a one season wonder. I toss them after they finish blooming. Seed catalogs are arriving. Start planning your vegetable and flower garden. Try something new this year. We are in the middle of the transplanting season, so if you have plants that need to be moved in your garden, you can do so now through early March. Remember to use caution if you are moving plants in freezing temperatures. Don’t expose the root system to freezing temperatures for long. Have the new hole dug before you dig up the old plant. Mulch and water and they should start putting down roots. No fertilizer is needed until new growth begins in the spring.
I had several beautiful amaryllis plants over the holidays. Now that they are done blooming, what do I do with the bulbs so they will bloom again.
After bloom, cut off the bloom stalk, but leave the foliage in-tact. Allow it to get as much sunlight as possible and water as needed. When spring arrives (if it ever does!) move the plant outside. You can plant the bulb in the ground or grow it in a container outside. Give it full morning sun and afternoon shade—that will help you keep it watered. Fertilize monthly until September. At that point, you have two options. One is to leave it planted in the ground and mulch heavily after a frost, or bring the bulb inside, stop watering and allow the foliage to die down. Once dormant, ignore it for a while. The amaryllis bulb has a mind of its own and will start growing when it is good and ready. When you see a sprout beginning in the center of the bulb, increase sunlight and water. You should see a flower in 6-8 weeks. Then you repeat the process.
In trying to get a jump on the holidays, I have just purchased four amaryllis bulbs. However, I see that they need to be planted six to eight weeks before they bloom. Well, that is just a bit premature for the Christmas table!! So, my dilemma is this, what shall I do with them until time to plant? I have placed them in the crisper, but; I may be on the wrong track. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I would not try to chill the bulbs, or you may slow things down too much. Amaryllis bulbs have a mind of their own, and will start growing when they are ready to—sometimes you can’t impact that too much. If you keep them unpotted, dry and on the cool side, you shouldn’t see too much growth. However, I have seen them try to complete their life cycle in the box unopened, from those purchased too late after the holidays. When you are ready, pot them up, move them to a warmer location and give them a little water and light. When you see the new growth beginning, add extra water. You should have a bloom within six weeks after you see signs of new growth beginning. If the bulbs are kept too warm once they begin to grow, you may find they grow even taller than normal, making it a challenge to keep them upright. Also, rotate the container periodically to prevent leaning.
A few years ago I planted all of my holiday amaryllis bulbs outside and they have done quite well. They are now shaded by a tree, so now they don’t bloom. When should I be able to move them this spring so they will not die and possibly bloom this year?
This may be a year that tested all the amaryllis bulbs that have been planted in our gardens. Those holiday amaryllis bulbs are not considered true "hardy" bulbs, but have been overwintering fine the past few years. If they need to be transplanted, do so when the foliage emerges this spring, and after all chances of frost have passed. Then let them grow in their sunnier location and you should have blooms again next spring. They will not bloom this year unless you bring them inside this fall for a holiday bloom. They set their flower buds for the following years blooms during their growing season.
I have been growing the tropical type of Amaryllis for the last 10 years, the one you grow for Christmas, outside. They bloom, and multiply in the ground! I haven’t found a particular hardy variety, and I have a mix of red, pink/white, red/white and solid white. Methinks our winters are becoming much more "tropical".
You are not alone. Many folks statewide have been having luck getting the holiday amaryllis plants to overwinter outdoors and re-bloom in the garden. Just make sure winter soil drainage is good and plant them in the spring after frost has passed so they have a chance to establish before winter sets in.
My triple-bloom amaryllis fell over during the night and broke the flower stalk off. Is the bulb reusable? If so, what is needed?
This is not an unusual occurrence on amaryllis. The flowers are large and come with three to five blooms per stalk, so the plants are often top-heavy and fall over if left unsupported. Cut off the flower stalk and use it as a cut flower. The foliage should be emerging, and you may even be lucky and have another flower spike. Let the foliage grow. Give it a sunny window and regular water. Once spring arrives, move it outdoors, fertilize every month or two through August, then let the foliage die back and start the cycle over again next fall/winter. The bulb should not be damaged, just the flower stalk. Next time, be sure to turn it periodically to keep it from leaning, and consider weighting the pot a bit to keep it stable, or provide staking.
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