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The Amaryllis Plant for the Brown-Thumbed Gardener

By PAgirl63
January 24, 2015

I've always had a "brown" thumb when it comes to growing amaryllises. Either I'll grow plants that have lush green leaves and no flowers, or the bulbs will just sit there and sulk. Or even worse, the bulbs turn to mush or they just shrivel up. This year I cheated and had success!

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Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Jan 23, 2015 6:16 PM CST
I notice those are very short, I have a very short amaryllis in my garden that is solid red, if it multiplies this year I might try that with some bulbs, reminds me of Christmas candles.
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Jan 23, 2015 6:20 PM CST
So they were "not" planted in dirt at all? Seems they might not grow much, but if they bloomed for you ... definitely a plus! Interesting article. Nice Christmas arrangement, too!
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
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tarev
Jan 23, 2015 8:34 PM CST
Oh, I saw those amaryllis bulbs at Lowe's but to be honest I am appalled and repelled by it. Reminded me of the poor succulents that gets spray painted or glittered.

I guess to have it like a temporary, seasonal cut-flower decor is okay. But for overall growth later, it does need to be properly planted in soil or whatever means you prefer, so it can grow its foliage and return to the bulb the energy it needs for next season.

Nice presentation though, that aspect is pretty. Smiling
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Jan 23, 2015 10:49 PM CST
I agree Tarev is quite right, you won't salvage those bulbs, the plant must grow a new bulb each year. So you need to take off the wax and plant the bulb where it can grow roots and leaves to re-generate a bulb for next year. Directions are in a previous article on the home page.

They did bloom very nicely, and your arrangement was lovely.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Barbara
Palm Coast, FL
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bsharf
Jan 24, 2015 2:09 AM CST
This leaves me shaking my head. I haven't seen wax encased Amaryllis bulbs before. Its a great idea for people who just want a Xmas Amaryllis. However, In terms of keeping the bulb long term, the wax would definitely need to be removed. I will be interested to learn if anyone is successful in salvaging one of these bulbs.
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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grannysgarden
Jan 24, 2015 6:27 AM CST
I have had success with these. I have bought huge amaryllis bulbs with the metal attached to the bottom thinking it was just for the Christmas season. I put it in a glass vase with some stones in the bottom just covering the metal base and kept water just above the root line never letting it get low. It bloomed beautifully. After the bloom faded I cut the stalk and the green tops continued to grow. I kept the water just above the roots and in late spring dug a hole in the garden where I plant other amaryllis, watered the hole well and put the big bulb with the green tops in it. It continued to grow that summer and the next year it did bloom. I think keeping it watered until I could get it into the soil and then it having all summer to make bloom energy helped.
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Jan 24, 2015 7:12 AM CST
Barbara - I am wondering the same thing! BTW - You have an amazing collection of Amaryllis! Almost every amaryllis in the plant database (that has photos) has some beautiful pictures uploaded by you! Wow! You certainly have some rare and beautiful ones! Do you have an amaryllis plant nursery or are you just a collector? What lovely blooming amaryllis photos! Thank you for sharing them in the database! I could look through those all day! Thumbs up

Bonnie - Good info to know! Do you peel the wax off first or does it just naturally deteriorate?

It blows my mind that these bulbs are tossed after Christmas! Can you imagine. ugh!
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Jane
Tobyhanna, PA (Zone 5a)
The "Garden" is my Happy Place!
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PAgirl63
Jan 24, 2015 7:59 AM CST
@Seedfork, yes they are rather short. I really had no idea how they would do. I'm going to try and salvage them. But I did enjoy them for Christmas. Smiling
@beckygardener, thanks! No dirt whatsoever. Smiling
@tarev, I know it seems like a waste in a way, but I wasn't going to toss them. I'm going to carefully cut the wax off, check out the condition of the bulbs, and then replant them in soil and keep them inside in a warm spot in indirect light and see what happens. Angel
@dyzzy and @pyxxy and @bsharf DITTO! on what I told tarev.
@grannysgarden, glad to hear that. If the plants continues to grow inside, when it gets warm I'll move them outside onto the deck and continue to water and feed them. Then late August, I'll start holding back on watering. Come late September I'll bring them back indoors and let them rest in a cool, dark place. Hopefully, if they they start to produce new growth AGAIN, I'll try letting them bloom indoors naturally. Keeping my fingers crossed. Smiling
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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grannysgarden
Jan 24, 2015 8:13 AM CST
And if they do not bloom the first year just keep up the regimen of feeding and moving them outdoors in the summer and you should be rewarded with blooms.

The first time I bought an amaryllis from a big box store they had gone on sale after Christmas and were really cheap. they were in pretty bad condition and the lady marking seasonal stuff down said they were going to be thrown out. Why not buy a beautiful bulb and give it a chance to do what it is destined to do. Having it survive to bloom in subsequent years was a big bonus. Now I have a small collection that I add to each year.

Yes, I take the wax off. I was afraid water would get between the wax and the bulb and cause it to rot. These are such resilient plants. Just give them half a chance and you will reap great rewards.

My most recent one was growing in a southern window in December. Its bloom stalk was almost 18" high when my youngest grandson crawled up on the sofa, put a firm little hand gently around the stalk and lifted it right out of its pot. He turned and said "Granny, what is this?". I gently took it from him and told him all about it. I put it back in the pot and two weeks later here is what we had.

Grand Cru
Thumb of 2015-01-24/grannysgarden/a8a82a

The green leaves are now almost 18" tall. smiles
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Jan 24, 2015 8:20 AM CST
Bonnie - I love your story! My 4 year old granddaughter was out in my garden with her uncle (my younger son). She saw one of my amaryllis blooming and loved it, so my son cut the flower and gave it to her! Argh! I wanted to say something to my son, but my granddaughter loved the flower so much I decided to just smile and bite my tongue. Sticking tongue out
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Jan 24, 2015 8:21 AM CST
BTW - Your Grand Cru is gorgeous!!! I saw that one in the database and it made me gasp! Drooling Lovey dubby Lovey dubby Lovey dubby

Edited to add: Please submit that to the plant database! It's a must-see photo!
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
[Last edited by beckygardener - Jan 24, 2015 8:23 AM (+)]
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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jan 24, 2015 11:24 AM CST
Becky, I've seen them sold as cut flowers, and they last almost as long in a vase as they do on the plant, so maybe it wasn't such a waste for your granddaughter to have that flower anyway?
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener Xeriscape
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tarev
Jan 24, 2015 2:12 PM CST
I find the amaryllis bulbs quite forgiving, provided it has not turned too mushy or rotten or diseased beyond redemption, so document how it recovers Jane. I love doing that too, trying out different ways to grow a plant, but within acceptable limits of course. I do have my own ongoing experiment, just growing the amaryllis bulb in clayrocks and water in a glass container. So far it works, plant is alive and it just follows springtime bloom period now.

And I have seen too at my mom's place, well, they do not really know how to grow the bulb so they have left it sitting in water, really, looks like the bulb is drowning in a glass container with lots of yucky algae growing with it, but it is by the window. Surprisingly the bulb is alive, still firm to the touch. I guess as long as it has been able to grow roots, it will fight for its life.

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