Sunday, February 6, 2011

Amaryllis Wake-Up Month

Sorry, but keeping names of these bulbs just does not seem to be my best skill....
You will just have to enjoy them and carefully read catalog descriptions for a possible match.
Not an advertisement but I do like John Scheepers for good healthy big bulbs.

This multi-bulbed Appleblossom fell victim to Red Blotch (Stagonospora curtissi) after this great flowering.

Constant turning will help to keep the stalks as straight as possible
There is at least two weeks between the bulbs in the back and the ones in the front.
I like multiple bulbs in pots as it makes for possible more blooms. Plus happy plants just seem to grow more off-shoots.
This bulb, although small, is still in need of a new pot for a few years growth.
Don't bury the bulb, as this will allow you to renew the soil in the pot and keep the bulb happy.

I am glad that February is short because with all but one seed order in, my fingers are itchy to get planting. So, the next best thing is to wake-up the amaryllis bulbs that were nestled in the crawl space in the dark since November. I purchased five new bulbs last fall to add to the fifteen pots I already had. One of these bulbs had Red Blotch (Stagonospora curtissi) , which I identified in an earlier blog, and was thrown out - the bulb supplier promptly reimbursed me the cost - and all the new bulbs have bloomed so we are now working with the older bulbs some of which are at least five years old.

As the pictures identify, we have many budded bulbs ready to bloom. I awoke half of the collection by renewing the soil tops in the pots and then soaking the pots overnight. They are under the fluorescent lights until the bud stalk gets started and then I will bring them up into natural window light to finish them off. The bloom stalk on most of them will lean towards the window so daily pot turning is essential to try to keep the stalk as straight as possible. I don't over water them at this stage but keep the soil moist.

Some of the bulbs were in need of a larger pot so some transplanting was done, however I try to keep them as tight in their pots as possible. Happy amaryllis have pinched roots. You can renew the soil in the bottom of the pot before you awaken them but keeping them root bound for as long as possible should ensure flowering every year. And your bulbs treated this way should have two flower stalks not just one. I even have some that have thrown three!
Once they have flowered, they go back to the fluorescent lights or some may stay in window light until I can get the green house started and they can go out there in full sun. They grown in the greenhouse all summer with regular watering and heavy fertilizer all summer until late August. Later in the fall I start to withhold water and then once again they go into the crawl space before the greenhouse freezes.

I never cut the flower stalk off. I just let it wither until the stalk pulls out. I also do not cut the leaves back in the fall, I let them die naturally which they do in the dark of the crawl space. These bulbs are like any bulb, a predictable bloomer, and with care they will reward you with repeat blooms the following year, or sometimes even in the summer.

I am waiting on only one more seed supplier and then we have all of this years seeds. Even all the back-orders are here already. I spoke to Josh at Territorial Seed Company about - yes - grafted tomatoes. Territorial is the ONLY seed company to offer the home gardener grafted tomatoes this year. Of course, even though we are going to try our own grafting again, I could not resist ordering a few of their plants just to see how they would produce here in Wisconsin. Watch this company for more grafted possibilities in the future. Great job Territorial!
I also spoke with Maria at Johnny's Select Seeds about their seed sales this season and they, like Territorial, are having a very good beginning sale season. Both of these companies are ones you should request a catalog from as they both develop and produce their own seed. It is certainly not too late to get a catalog and make an order either online of by phone. Plus, I will probably make a another seed order in late summer for fall crops. Unlike the local garden center that pulls their seed display down by July, these people are available all year for orders, so get that catalog.
Also notably: this is the first time since my rotator cuff surgery that I have been able to type and use the shift key - Ah! progress....
Happy Gardening


  1. Wow. Beautiful photos. And glad your rotator cuff will be ready for spring.

  2. Thanks Richard, I am too.
    Happy Gardening