Amaryllis and Hippeastrum forum: How do you overwinter Amaryllis?

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Name: Darcy
Reno, NV (Zone 6b)
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djinnevada
Oct 9, 2015 1:52 PM CST
Hi All,
I had some beautiful amaryllis that were several years old...I got them one Christmas and kept them indoors and they were really happy. I ran out of room inside, and put them on the porch one year to overwinter and that was the end of those. My mom planted hers in the ground (Outer Banks, NC) and they come back every year. So I'm wondering if maybe it was the pots I had them in? Should I have stored them in the shed instead of on the porch? Pulled them out of the pots? Ideas?


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Name: Barbara
Palm Coast, FL
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bsharf
Oct 10, 2015 5:38 AM CST

Moderator

How cold does it get on your porch? I looked up your winter temperatures for Reno, and you have the potential for frost from November through March. So if your porch isn't heated, it just may be a little too cold to overwinter Amaryllis. An unheated shed could have the same problem. If the basal plate of the bulb freezes, it will die. Also, how wet was the soil? Too wet during the winter, and the bulbs could rot. There are so many variables. The pots themselves shouldn't have been the issue. The standard procedure is to either let the Amaryllis grow all winter in doors or force the Amaryllis to go dormant in the winter (replicating the "in the wild" dormancy of native Amaryllis). You can let the Amaryllis dry out in the pot, cut off the wilted leaves and store the pot in a cool dry dark place, above freezing for a minimum of 8- 10 weeks. Some people take the bulb out of the pot and store that over the winter. That actually insures that the bulb is totally dry. A basement or an unheated closet are the best locations. The only other suggestion would be to treat the plants, on the porch, the same way you treat the ones you have indoors. Bring them inside if frost is expected and cover them with a frost cover when the temperatures are below 40. You can try this (its a lot of work!) and see if you are able to get the bulbs through the winter. You would definitely have to reduce watering with the colder soil.

The microclimate at your Mom's may keep the bulbs from freezing. Bulbs planted right against a wall can get some warmth off the wall at night. Sometimes coastal locations can stay a few degrees warmer than inland, enough that the Amaryllis will come through the winter without freezing, esp. if they are mulched and not kept too wet. I know that some gardeners are successful in growing Amaryllis outdoors in North Carolina. Some of the "pass along" cultivars, also Red Lion and Apple Blossom, seem to be a little bit hardier outdoors.
Name: Darcy
Reno, NV (Zone 6b)
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djinnevada
Oct 10, 2015 10:01 AM CST
Thanks Barbara,
Yes, we get frost and down to -4. I think the bigger problem was the wetness though. If I try these again, I'll just keep them inside like last time ... now to find room... Angel
Name: Barbara
Palm Coast, FL
Amaryllis Container Gardener Dog Lover Cat Lover Butterflies Birds
Region: Florida Daylilies Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Level 1
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bsharf
Oct 10, 2015 11:52 AM CST

Moderator

Love your chicken. Is that by any chance a silver sebright bantam rooster? The feather pattern sure reminds me of that breed.
Name: Darcy
Reno, NV (Zone 6b)
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djinnevada
Oct 10, 2015 12:04 PM CST
No, I'm not sure which breed but I know she is not a banny. I do have one rooster (a banny) left, but he is camera shy.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Oct 20, 2015 8:35 PM CST
I have a related question for you amaryllis growers... I bought 6 bulbs last fall, 2 each of 3 different types; all bloomed beautifully for me over the winter (I spaced out the starting times so they wouldn't all bloom at once). After they were done blooming I put them out in our "shop" (where the temp stays around 55-60F during the winter), in a south-facing window, and they all seemed to thrive. Once things warmed up in the spring I moved them all out to my greenhouse, where I continued to water them and they have been steadily growing new leaves and look very healthy.

I think I went wrong by not allowing them to dry out in August or so... (having done some reading on the internet after the fact, so to speak). So, what do you all think I should do now? Stop watering, let them dry out, give them a couple of months break and then re-pot, etc. for some late-winter blooms? Keep watering until sometime next summer, and just skip this winter as far as blooming? Or something else altogether?

TIA for any advice ! Smiling

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Name: Barbara
Palm Coast, FL
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bsharf
Oct 21, 2015 5:47 AM CST

Moderator

Does your greenhouse stay above freezing all winter? If the plants won't freeze out there, you can cut back on the watering, they will probably lose their leaves on their own, and put up new leaves and bloom in May or possible early June. If they would freeze out there, you would have to bring them in the house like any tender houseplant. Your "shop" would probably be fine. This late, it probably isn't worth forcing dormancy for bloom in mid winter. The most you are going to do is push up the flowering a month or two over letting them go dormant naturally. If you want to force dormancy, the pot needs to dry out completely and then be put into a cool dry place (above freezing) for at least 8 weeks. You can pull the bulbs or leave them in the pots. Just one warning: Last fall 's bulbs were specially forced for last Xmas' bloom. They may not bloom again this coming spring. It can take a year or two for the bulb to rebuild itself to produce new flower stalks. So even if you do bring them inside, they may just produce leaves in the spring. They aren't sick, just recovering from the commercial forcing. Good luck!
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Oct 21, 2015 7:39 AM CST
Thanks, Barbara -- the info about the "forcing" is really just what I was looking for. I definitely need to bring them inside for the winter, my GH is unheated except for a short time in the spring when i'm starting seedlings (and even those get initially started under lights inside and then moved out to the GH in April); but the shop stays cool and has a good south-facing window, so I think that's my best option.

Just to make sure I understand correctly -- I should just keep on watering (and maybe fertilizing?) and let them follow their own course? Thanks again!
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Name: Barbara
Palm Coast, FL
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Region: Florida Daylilies Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Level 1
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bsharf
Oct 22, 2015 11:27 AM CST

Moderator

Your shop will be fine, but just on the cool side for Amaryllis. To protect again the bulb rotting, with the cooler temps in your shop, I would cut back on water, wait till the soil is completely dry. The bulb has plenty of moisture inside it. They don't need fertilizer in the winter: You are encouraging the Amaryllis to slow down. In your shop, getting daylight, the plants may or may not go completely dormant. Since mine are outside, I don't have any experience with keeping Amaryllis growing all winter indoors. There are other people on this forum who might have some experience with this. In March or April, as the day length increases, you'll see new growth. Then you can start watering again. Its personal preference as to repotting it. They prefer to be a bit potbound. The other reason for reducing water is to cut down on the nuisance of fungus gnats. They eat the fungus in the wet soil:dryer the soil, the less fungus and the less gnats. They can be really annoying in a closed area.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Oct 22, 2015 4:47 PM CST
Thanks again! (and if anyone else cares to add their 2 cents worth, I'm I'm all ears! )
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Nov 7, 2015 6:44 PM CST
Hi Sandy, typically I just cut off the dried out leaves and keep them in our garage. I do not even bother removing from soil. Just keeping them in a dry media. Then I have one amaryllis I have kept year round in a glass container, no drain holes but in a clay rock/water gel media. So far still alive.

But I am making experiments again, watching how far along some of my amaryllis here will really tolerate the cold and at times cold rain outdoors. Those ones also got a dose of coffee grounds in early Spring this year..so still watching how that affects the growth. I did notice the leaves have been much better in growth even though it was so dry here.

Then got two planted in a clay container I brought in the garage, just a spare in case something goes afoul on those outdoors this winter. I was not planning any new blooms or to force bloom any of them this winter..but this one I kept in the garage, is awake now, feeling sorry for it, I brought it indoors to see some light. So will see how it goes.

the newly awake one
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and the one living in a glass container - I have a rather long, separate thread about this one, just watching how far along it will go in this set-up, started around Nov 2011, with transitions of different glass containers along the way, so it is like a toddler amaryllis, being 4 years old. Big Grin

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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Nov 7, 2015 7:42 PM CST
Tarev, you are so many light-years ahead of me on this... I have NEVER been able to get an amaryllis to re-bloom Blinking

Hoping that this year will be a turning point of some sort Hilarious!
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
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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
Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener Xeriscape
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tarev
Nov 7, 2015 8:37 PM CST
Sandy, it is hit and miss for me still to re-bloom them, sometimes I get lucky, sometimes just leaves..so I just take it as it goes. As long as it does not get sick or rot, I am okay with it. They are truly beautiful flowering bulbs. Sometimes I think it deliberately misses an entire year, but comes back nicely afterwards, in any case, as long as it tolerates me Hilarious! it will be a keeper. Smiling
Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
Region: Canadian Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Tip Photographer Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member
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mcash70
Nov 9, 2015 5:46 PM CST
Sandy, here is an article I wrote that may be of help getting your Amaryllis to bloom. http://garden.org/ideas/view/mcash70/1756/How-To-Get-Indoor-...

I just put mine away about 3 weeks ago and already I have 2 with bloom stalks showing. Hurray!
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Weedwhacker
Nov 9, 2015 5:57 PM CST
Excellent article, Margaret ! (WHY did I not think to search here for an article about how to do it?? Blinking ) I'm not sure I'm going to be able to get them to bloom again for me this winter, but at least now I know what to do next year. On the plus side, there is very little danger of me ever over-watering mine... I could be known as "the great under-waterer" Hilarious!
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
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Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
Region: Canadian Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Tip Photographer Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member
Morning Glories Critters Allowed Birds Houseplants Butterflies Garden Photography
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mcash70
Nov 9, 2015 6:46 PM CST
Thank you Sandy, glad to help. I tip my hat to you. You never know, you can always try and see if yo can get a few to bloom.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Weedwhacker
Mar 8, 2016 5:34 PM CST
Had to come back to post an update -- even though I made a lot of mistakes, 3 of my 6 bulbs have bloomed, another is about to do so (and will have 2 bloom stalks, the others only had one each), and one of the 2 that didn't bloom (yet) was the one that bloomed in the middle of the summer, out in the GH. The other one that doesn't look like it's going to bloom any time soon has a very small leaf poking up off to the side, so apparently the bulb is dividing?

Hurray! Hurray!

(maybe this year I can get the timing for letting them dry out and such a little closer to right!)
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
- John Powell / Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities
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Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
Region: Canadian Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Tip Photographer Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member
Morning Glories Critters Allowed Birds Houseplants Butterflies Garden Photography
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mcash70
Mar 8, 2016 6:20 PM CST
That's great Sandy! Hurray! Thumbs up

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