Amaryllis and Hippeastrum forum: Got the amaryllis itch.. questions about forcing dormancy and buying new bulbs

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Name: Paula
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
Oct 15, 2017 11:12 AM CST
I just ordered a ton of stuff as an early christmas gift to myself from blooming bulb.com and I'm hoping for the best, i'm on kind of a budget and they had decent prices although I didn't look that hard. Where are you shopping?

In the mean time, all my bulbs from previous year are still in full leaf. This year I've taken really good care of them and I'm hoping most of them will bloom this winter.
I don't need them to bloom for chistmas - obviously I'm already to late for that, in fact I'd prefer them to bloom late so the sun is stronger when they leaf out. We're still having pretty warm weather in NY- 75-82 days but they are getting a lot less sun then they used to becasue of shorter days and the sun lower in the sky. Should I give them a couple more days/weeks, maybe one more dose of miracle grow and wait for cool temps to start witholding water, or just withhold water until they dry out where they are (outside in the sun)? Or withold water and put them somewhere dark-ish like the garrage? Do they need the cold (40-50 temps?). It won't be all that cool in the garrage now. I do have a wine fridge I could put them in if I had to provide a cool spell- it runs about 55 degrees.
Thoughts? advice?
Name: Christie
43016 (Zone 6b)
Plays in the water.
Amaryllis Roses Annuals Composter Hybridizer Cat Lover
Garden Ideas: Master Level
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cwhitt
Oct 16, 2017 11:22 AM CST
I like https://www.easytogrowbulbs.co.... If it were me, I would withhold water and put them somewhere cool. Either in a basement or the wine cooler sounds good. If the cooler or fridge, do not keep any citrus fruit in there though.
Plant Dreams. Pull Weeds. Grow A Happy Life.
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 17, 2017 2:28 PM CST

Moderator

Good advice from Christie. But I will add: No more fertilizer. You are trying to slow them down, not encourage more growth. Stop watering them now, the leaves will start to yellow and die back. They can stay outside until your nights get around 40 F then put them in your basement. The easiest way is to leave them in the pots, if you have the room for them. Reduced day length, cooler nights and dry soil will put the bulbs into dormancy. In 2-4 months, repot into fresh soil, water once (no more water until you see top growth) and put into bright light. They will start to put up leaves and flowers. I'm not a big fan of storing the bulbs in a wine cooler. It was a disaster for me, all my bulbs rotted, but I think that they were too moist when they went into the cooler. I hope that you able to get a good percentage of re-bloom next spring. If these bulbs were all from last year, they may not bloom this year. It can take 2-3 years for the bulbs to rebuild themselves enough, after the initial forcing for Xmas blooming, to produce new buds. What you are looking for is good healthy foliage next spring, flowers are a bonus. As to where I'm buying. There are so many internet suppliers. Cost is certainly a consideration, but correctly labeled bulbs, healthy bulbs and responsive customer service is important. Most of my annual shopping is done with Royal Colors, White Flower Farms and Amaryllis Bulb Company. I get lots of catalogs and occasionally will order a single bulb that catches my eye.
Name: Jane
Tobyhanna, PA (Zone 5a)
The "Garden" is my Happy Place!
Garden Ideas: Master Level
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PAgirl63
Oct 17, 2017 4:30 PM CST
I've got the Amaryllis itch, too. Sticking tongue out
All my last Christmas/and mid-winter plants spent this past summer outside in their pots and I stopped watering them towards the end of August. I put them all in the garage sometime in September (not sure when) and they are still there. The pots are dry and the leaves are dead and gone. My garage stays cool but doesn't freeze, so they'll stay there til I'm ready to pot them up again - probably every 2 weeks or so starting in late November for this upcoming indoor winter flower show after January.

BUT - I couldn't resist buying a few new ones, too! I was in Lowe's recently and they have NICE, HEFTY individual bulbs in mesh baggies for $7 each. No box or pot. Just bulbs. I bought a few. I'll pot them up beginning of November and should have flowers by Christimas. I am tempted though to pot ONE up NOW ... it's about 5 1/2 weeks til Thanksgiving. That would be pushing it, but who knows? Big Grin
Name: Paula
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
Oct 18, 2017 9:13 PM CST
PA girl I am jealous. Haven't seen any in the NY stores yet, although I should be grateful I got my fix with an early internet order so I'm not tempted to buy every juicy bulb I come across.

Many of my amaryllis are YEARS old- maybe a decade, and they are the worse for wear- but as experience increases so does bulb diameter.

In August I had to water them every day to avoid wilting, and now that day temps stay ~75 they refuse to dry out.... Typical...
Name: Christie
43016 (Zone 6b)
Plays in the water.
Amaryllis Roses Annuals Composter Hybridizer Cat Lover
Garden Ideas: Master Level
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cwhitt
Oct 19, 2017 8:10 AM CST
Mine are starting to turn yellow now - I tipped the pots on their sides and stopped watering them. Nights are getting pretty cool here now, so will be taking them down to the basement soon. ALTHOUGH -- my Royal Velvet, that has been dormant for over 14 months Shrug! has suddenly started to leaf out Hurray! So I guess I will just bring that one into the office for the winter and let it grow and just watch it to see what it is going to do Shrug!
Plant Dreams. Pull Weeds. Grow A Happy Life.
Name: Paula
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
Oct 28, 2017 2:33 AM CST
I stacked 11 pots into a big tuperware today and moved them into the garage. If I could choke a plant- i would strangle all of them! pots dry as a bone....green fat and upright chillin out in the night time 50s...

however- I am thrilled they're going to bed till the miserable depths of February in NY because
A) they haven't been helping.
B) my box from bloomingbulbs.com arrived today!

I bought a couple "jumbo" bulbs- an they are not fooling around. I have big hands for a woman and I can barely pick them up. They have a mid range quality called "symphony" that's not really that impressive compared to their standard size and I'll see what happens.

the thing that really turned me on about them was the mini's and the jury is still out.

in the photo of three bulbs in my hand, the 9 o'clock position is a "symphony" level bulb which is their mid range- you're looking at a 5cm difference in circumference- less than a CM in diameter. Its not bad- it just is. The one at 6 clock and three o'clock are mini's- a double blooming dwarf called fanfare and Im concerned about the one at 3. Its pretty soggy....

however I bought a little more than a dozen, and the majority look/feel pretty good. They are firm, appropriate size and most have at least one nice fat tip that indicates a loom on the way.


I'm really pleased. It was, for sure, money well spent and for the price they exceeded my expectations
Thumb of 2017-10-28/Turbosaurus/6db4af


Thumb of 2017-10-28/Turbosaurus/f96200

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 28, 2017 3:28 AM CST

Moderator

I'm looking at your photos. If there is a question about the condition of the bulb, peel off the dried exterior skin, down until the white bulb itself and see if it is still has a mushy spot. You can cut out the rotten areas, and dip in cinnamon or powdered sulfur and plant very shallow. You want to keep the wound as dry as possible. If the bud is OK, you will still get a bloom, though the bulb may not survive the summer, depending on whether or not it continues to decay. If the decay is severe when you receive the bulb, take a photo and send it to the seller and ask for a credit or a replacement bulbs. Unfortunately sometimes, a whole batch of a particular cultivar started to decay before it got to the seller, so the other bulbs from that bin are bad, so they will ask if you would like a substitution. Customer Service doesn't want the bulb back, and normally would be responsive to your request.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Nov 16, 2017 2:29 PM CST
Great looking bulbs, Barbara! I assume you know to pot them up now in pots that are just a bit larger than the diameter of the bulbs. Terracotta works best because they become top heavy when they develop leaves. After potting, they need only one good thorough watering to trigger the flower development, assuming they received proper prep in the past year.

Amaryllis are really quite simple to get to bloom every year if you do the following:

After flowering is finished, cut the flower stalk down but leave the leaves in place. Move it to a sunny location so the leaves receive maximum light. Water when the top quarter of the soil is dry. They can be moved outdoors when temps are consistently above 55 degrees.

Let them grow all through the summer, fertilizing monthly. In early September, force them into dormancy by moving them to a dry, cool, dim indoor location. With total neglect, the nice healthy leaves will gradually yellow and die. They can then be cut off. Maintain them in this dormancy for 8 to 10 weeks. Then, bring them to a nice living room location and water them thoroughly once and they should respond accordingly.

As long as you honor their need to have the bulbs replenished throughout the spring and summer and their need for dormancy in the fall, you should have success.

You may want to look into White Flower Farm in CT. They have absolutely top quality plants (Including Amaryllis), superb instructions and helpful personnel. Yes, they are expensive but well worth it if you can afford them. Visiting them in May and June is a wonderful experience!
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Paula
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
Jan 1, 2018 7:34 PM CST
So it's been ~60 days since my bulbs went in the attic (Its the only cool dark spot I have- no garage). I will tell you we are paying for those 80 degree days in October - it hasn't broken 25 degrees in over a week with 4 more on the horizon, some days not even breaking 20- I gotta get out of NY.

I also put some of the new bulbs up there so I can dole out the blooms to ward off winter blues, so I'm well stocked. I couldn't help buying some more - I'm a sucker for a sale and when Shop-rite has been selling potted bulbs with two-three inflorescence each for $4.99 How could I possibly say NO! It would be nuts.

So how do I pick who's coming out of exile first if new growth isn't evident? Its been 8 weeks since they went up to the cool dark.... I'm not in a rush, but I do want to give them the best chance to bloom if its possible- we did have a really strong summer (in terms of me taking care of them properly and the bulbs fattening in gratitude). I have three questions- timing, light and fertilizer:

I'm not in a rush, but do you think its better to let them start up on their own? And if they don't start in the cool dark by the 12th week what do you do? Wait? or warm,water once and give them light? I can't check root growth becasue I put them away in their pots (okay, I could but I'm lazy.)

When they begin to blooming do you fertilize, wait for leaves, wait for flowers to die (which usually happens after the leaves have emerged) or do you wait till longer days of spring, when they have enough leaves and sun to really use it?

I do have some pretty snazzy grow lights- I usually rotate my houseplants under them through the winter whenever they start looking sad.. should I blast them with light when they come out or put them in a sunny window so they can gradually wake from their winter hibernation?

Or am I making a big deal out of nothing? they're amaryllis... They will bloom or they will not, and only the summer makes it so...
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
Jan 3, 2018 4:04 PM CST

Moderator

Paula: Sounds as if your bulbs are doing OK in the attic. There isn't a rush to take them out, though once you're past 8 weeks you can start to bring a few out every week. I wouldn't keep them in longer than 12-14 weeks, get them growing again. Just check occasionally to be sure that the bulbs aren't showing signs of rot. If the bulbs do show signs of top growth while in the attic: Definitely get them into light at that time. The usual recommendation is to repot with fresh soil, water , put into light. Don't water again until you see top growth. You don't need to fertilize until they are done blooming. Fertilizing is pretty much done by personal preference. Some books say fertilize 3 times a season. Some say, fertilize with a very dilute solution every time you water. Amaryllis will eventually bloom, if not on your schedule, then they will bloom in late spring, which would be their normal time in the North. What you are doing with forcing dormancy is tricking them into thinking that they have come through winter, and its time to bloom.
Name: Tommy
Hudson Valley of N.Y.
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tommyr
Jan 6, 2018 9:18 AM CST
I wait until I see new growth starting to peek out, that tells me they're ready to wake up. I have one right now telling me it's time.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Jan 7, 2018 3:24 PM CST
Paula - I hope your attic is heated because Amaryllis don't like temps much below 55 degrees. The key to dormancy is total dryness. Cooler temps and darkness are much less important.

Anytime after 8 weeks of dormancy, they can be watered thoroughly just once and that is usually enough to wake them up. While it is in bloom (which is all too brief), it won't require much light. Just let it do its thing and that was established long ago during the summer growth period and the fall dormancy.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Christie
43016 (Zone 6b)
Plays in the water.
Amaryllis Roses Annuals Composter Hybridizer Cat Lover
Garden Ideas: Master Level
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cwhitt
Jan 9, 2018 1:51 PM CST
I water them one time after about 8 weeks, then wait to see which ones start to grow. If they are not growing by around 12 weeks, I water them again, and move them to either a warm room or put them under my grow lights. I don't have enough grow lights for all of them. Some of them I take to work to be under the office lights. I usually wait until after they bloom to fertilize. And then I either use a mild fertilizer at each watering, or put a slow release granular fertilizer on them. I fertilizer them until around August. If I have bulbs I store in the fridge, I just bring them out any time between 8-12 weeks, a few at a time, pot them up and move to a warm spot. But if they start to leaf out in the fridge, I bring them right out and pot them. Do not put citrus fruit in the fridge if you keep bulbs in there!
Plant Dreams. Pull Weeds. Grow A Happy Life.
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
Mar 11, 2018 9:45 PM CST
How far down should I cut off the scape of my bulb that's just finished blooming? I'm concerned because it has a partner in the same pot with a scape just starting to peek out. So will cutting the scape off the one have any ill effect(s) on the other?
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
Mar 12, 2018 2:39 AM CST

Moderator

No problem at all. Cut off the old scape about an inch from the ground. Hold a credit card or thin cardboard between the scape and leaves when you cut. That keeps you from nicking the leaves with the knife. That also works to protect the other bulb from getting nicked by accident. The remnants of the scape will dry up and you can pull it out later.
Name: Christie
43016 (Zone 6b)
Plays in the water.
Amaryllis Roses Annuals Composter Hybridizer Cat Lover
Garden Ideas: Master Level
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cwhitt
Mar 12, 2018 6:42 AM CST
Ditto what Barabra said. Also, cutting off the old scape will help the plant divert more energy to the new bloom. You only need to need to keep the old scape if you have pollinated it and are waiting for seeds.
Plant Dreams. Pull Weeds. Grow A Happy Life.
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
Mar 12, 2018 11:25 AM CST
Thanks. Not keeping it. I'm lucky that I even kept the bulbs alive.

But leaves?? Maybe if I had a memory I'd know if the bulbs used to have leaves. No leaves now. Maybe I took a picture at some point when the bulbs had leaves. That's one of the good things about the pics because they record date and time.
Name: Christie
43016 (Zone 6b)
Plays in the water.
Amaryllis Roses Annuals Composter Hybridizer Cat Lover
Garden Ideas: Master Level
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cwhitt
Mar 12, 2018 1:31 PM CST
The leaves will probably come after it is done blooming. Some of them put all their energy into the flower first, and then will produce leaves later. I'd say about 2/3 or more of mine do that. After blooming, I give mine a rest of about 3 weeks, just water them, and then start fertilizing them regularly after that. Until about August, then I stop the fertilizer and reduce the watering so they can get ready to go dormant for the winter.
Plant Dreams. Pull Weeds. Grow A Happy Life.
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
Mar 17, 2018 10:58 PM CST
What type of fertilizer do you use? Do I need something specifically designed for Amaryllis? (I hope not.)

BTW -- I went back to look through my plant pictures and the bulbs did have leaves 2 years ago, then lost them, then grew them again, and lost again and viola! blooms!

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