Amaryllis and Hippeastrum forum: Caring for a very old Amaryllis Bulb

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Jan 17, 2018 8:54 AM CST
Hi All,

I am a total novice when it comes to caring for potted bulbs and I have an amaryllis that I inherited from my Aunt, it is likely 10 years old (or more). It is still in the same container it has been in for 7 years at least, which is a small glass container with a little bit of soil and pebbles on top. There are what looks like 3 bulbs in there. When my Aunt had it, it bloomed beautifully every year... since I have had it, it has not bloomed but it always goes dormant in the fall and comes back to life with green sprouts this time of year and then leafs out over the spring and summer. I know it needs new soil and probably a new container but I am afraid to do anything to it because I don't want to kill it... can anyone offer some advice on what I should to to improve its situation, and maybe even coax it to bloom again? I have read a lot of pages that talk about how to care for them and get them to produce blooms, but with this one being so old, I didn't just want to repot it and do the wrong thing. Any tips or advice are welcomed... it has a lot of sentimental meaning to me and I would love to keep it alive and happy!

Thanks in advance
Name: Barbara
Palm Coast, FL
Amaryllis Container Gardener Dog Lover Cat Lover Butterflies Birds
Region: Florida Daylilies Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Level 1
Jan 17, 2018 2:24 PM CST


Wow, you have the ultimate "pass along" Amaryllis.
Amaryllis bulbs are relatively hardy and will survive in conditions that might not be conducive to blooming. But something needs to change in order to get them to bloom again. I bet the roots need more room, drainage and nutrition. Also, the bulbs may need a bit more light. Try repotting the 3 bulbs into a clay pot with a drainage hole with good quality potting soil. The pot doesn't need to be huge, just slightly bigger than the diameter of the 3 bulbs. Make sure the neck of the bulbs are above the soil line. Fertilize during active growth, and put outside when frost free with half day sun. You probably aren't going to see blooming next year, but hopefully in 2-3 years. Good luck.
Name: Christie
43016 (Zone 6b)
Plays in the water.
Amaryllis Sempervivums Roses Bookworm Annuals Composter
Hybridizer Cat Lover Garden Ideas: Master Level
Jan 18, 2018 8:12 AM CST
I agree Yes to everything Barbara said. Also, keep in mind that it takes 2 years for a flower to form inside the bulb - Amaryllis bulbs actually work on 2 years of blooms at a time - during the active growing stage I use slow release granular bulb fertilizer and/or a weak solution of liquid fertilizer I apply at each watering. I stop all fertilizing around August, then let it go dormant with the cool weather. Bring it inside before the first hard frost and set it in a cool, low light area. It needs to go dormant for 8-12 weeks. Be patient, and good luck! Happy flowering! Hurray!
Plant Dreams. Pull Weeds. Grow A Happy Life.
Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Jan 19, 2018 11:48 AM CST
The fact that your Amaryllis bloomed every year for your aunt potted as it is, suggests that repotting is not essential if you would rather not try it. However, your aunt was doing something other than what you have done. If she is still available, you may want to get details on her routine for watering, dormancy, etc. If not, perhaps you can recall some details of what she did and try to duplicate them.

The most difficult part may be that the glass container does not have drain holes (I assume) and that makes proper watering difficult. Make sure it gets maximum sunlight when it is growing leaves. Be sure to provide complete dormancy for 8 weeks in the fall.

As others have mentioned, the bulbs are quite tough. You may need a knife to pry it out of its container. If you do so, I suggest that you also try to separate the individual bulbs and put each into their own small pots, although that is not essential.

Repotting may disrupt the flowering cycle this year. However, they will bloom annually if properly cared for. If you use a pot that is too large, then it may take several years for the bulb to fill the pot with roots before blooming. Always keep your Amaryllis as tightly potted as possible.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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