25 August 2012

Christmas In August

In November of last year, I fretted over planting an amarylis bulb right before Thanksgiving. I started up a bunch of paper whites about the same period during the previous year, resulting in Christmas and New Years blooms. However, I was worried about starting the amaryllis at this time - too late since they take a lot longer to get their butts in gear. Thanksgiving, I thought, was too late. Christmas was without bloom, but at my New Years open house, the amaryllis (Hippeastrum) was in in full glory.

I know something about bulbs, and how they need their foliage to redevelop the bulb package for next year's bloom. Armed with that fact and the techniques found on the Internet about getting an amaryllis to bloom again, I placed my new 4-leaf foliage plant on the outdoors deck in the early spring after the blooms had faded and withheld water.

The foliage did not get any prettier. I left it lie dormant for another month, and then planted it in the vegetable garden. The hope was that it would grow foliage during the summer and replenish the bulb in time for another Christmas bloom this year (after a fall dormancy.)

Leaves began growing again. Then, the darn thing started blooming in the garden last week! And, it's got two small side shoots - cute new baby amaryllis plants. Quite a surprise! A few notes about this South African native: First, the flower stalks are easily knocked down by wind and just plain rain, which makes the flowers too heavy for their stalks. I am now using a support. Second, the flowers are lasting a very long time! Third, I believe the flower color is a more vibrant red than when it bloomed indoors. Is that possible?

So now what? The plans need to be modified. When the flowers die down, I will let the foliage continue into the fall. Hopefully, that will also die down in time. Then, after digging it up, it will be planted indoors at the beginning of November for another Christmas bloom. Fingers crossed. Stay tuned.

For The Record:

  • Good garden soil
  • Mostly full sun
  • Small amount of fertilizer
  • No serious pests/disease
  • Leaves have some light colored spots

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: pink cosmos, mexican zinnia, zinnia, cosmos, zephyranthes,
    belacamda, nicotiana
  • Harvested: 5 hungarian peppers, 8 cucumbers, lots of tomatoes


Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...
I take all my amaryllis when they are done and plant them in the garden. There is one amaryllis, Papilio, that doesn't need a dormant time...at least that is what was read. That one I keep in a pot on the deck and bring in when I bring in other houseplants.
flwrjane said...
How cool is this?

I have never known anyone to plant their bulb but with results like this it might come into vogue.

Great August, yes?

xo Jane
Les said...
I've put several of these out in the garden, but my problem is all foliage and now flowers. I may have to triple phosphate them.
Swimray said...
Jane, Les,
It must be beginner's luck rubbed off from my poinsettia experience of last year. Maybe there's hope for me yet as a tropical gardener in zone 7.

Maybe my bulb doesn't need down time, either?
Northern Shade said...
Great job with getting another round of blooms out of your amaryllis. It makes a beautiful flower for late August, very vibrant. I have trouble enough getting the timing of my paperwhites down for forcing indoors, but haven't been able to get them to rebloom. Good luck with round 3 for the Amaryllis.