Need help with amaryllis

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by winniewh, Jul 3, 2007.

  1. winniewh

    winniewh Member

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    Sandia Park, New Mexico, USA
    I grew my first amaryllis this spring in my first grade classroom. The kids and other teachers were fascinated with the growth. The seed pods just opened (I have the plant at home now) and I am getting ready to remove them. What do I do with the stalk after I remove the seed pods? I hear I should cut the stalk above the bulb, but do I keep the bulb in the soil and keep watering it? Or do I carefully remove the bulb from the soil, let the bulb dry out, and chill it before planting it again. Please help!!!
     
  2. judydotson

    judydotson Member

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    I just found this site and was immediately interested in your post. I, too, took my amaryllis to my 1st grade class so we could watch it grow. Now, the flowers have died and I have the large green seed pods. I'm wondering: should i open them to take out the seeds so I can try to generate another amaryllis bulb, do I leave them until they open themselves (when might that be?) and, like you, what do I do with the plant itself? There are new leaves coming from the bulb and, of course, the very tall stalk.

    I would appreciate any comments/suggestions/ideas as to what to do next with this gorgeous plant. Thank you.

    Judy in WA
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2008
  3. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

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    Vero Beach, Fla., USA
    Amaryllis (actually Hippeastrum) grow happily outdoors in mild climates (presumably milder than Sandia Park). They do go through a cycle of first flowering, then putting out a bunch of leaves, then (usually) going dormant for a while.

    The stalk will fade away of its own accord. If the plant's happy, it may make pods with abundant seed, and in our local climate, you're likely to get seedlings.

    The leaves will keep growing for some indefinite time. I think after a number of months, you could let the plants gently dry out, perhaps outdoors during the summer.

    I'm sure better-informed information is available elsewhere.
     
  4. Rhynno

    Rhynno Active Member

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    Wow, looks like no one answered the original poster in a long long time :(! That sucks. July 3, 2007. I wonder if he/she will still get the email notification...

    Anyhow, you can let the bulb produce seed though it will most likely weaken your plant. Also, you can cut off the stalk or simply let it die back on its own. If you cut it though be careful as it may still be filled with fluid. Also, it may weep out clear fluid from the cut (I just spray it with water when it happens but it should stop on its own soon enough).

    It's a toss up if you want to induce dormancy or let it keep going through the year. One group of growers thinks that you should induce dormancy around September (reduce watering to next to nothing and let the leaves die back without removing them so that the nutrients go back to the bulb). By inducing dormancy apparently it ripens the scape (not sure if I have my terminology correct here), but anyway it apparently ripens the flower spikes for next season and stores up energy in the bulb (it is thought that but inducing dormancy that the bulb grows larger as a result). If you go this route DO NOT REPOT until you have to, all plants of this family do not appreciate it when their roots gets disturbed (having said that, that's the way that they're shipped typically so it's not the end of the world if you take them out of their compost). Still, you're further ahead to leave the plant in its pot and store it on its side in a cool, dark place. When you notice new growth start to water and increase the water as the plant grows. Top dress the pot as needed.

    The other group of growers grow these guys without a dormancy period and keep the leaves as they are (though they do tend to look tired and worn after a while and should probably be removed eventually). The plant still blooms and life goes on (although in my experience, the blooms seem to be smaller but I'm not sure).

    I'm not sure which camp is correct/better so I'll leave that to you :).

    Also, if you plant the seeds don't give them a dormany period for at least a year. They most likely won't be flowering size for at least 2 years or so (I've heard as long as three). Another easy way to get more plants is to simply remove the offsets as they get large enough.

    Good luck!

    Ryan
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    They don't need the dormant dry period, it's just a way to get them to flower at a particular time. Given adequate light, moisture and fertility clumps producing multiple spikes can be grown. One a friend planted this winter quickly produced and ripened a seedhead without artificial pollination, doesn't look like something that would seriously tax the bulb but of course some energy was used to make it.
     
  6. judydotson

    judydotson Member

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    Hey, Ron. I see you're in Edmonds & I'm in Kent. Do you know if I can put my Amaryllis outside in our climate zone? OK, so not considering what kind of weather we've been having (it's hailing right now!), but usually. I've always been told that they need to be put in a dark place to "winter" and brought out when they begin to grow again. However, mine never flower after I do that. I would really like to : a) get this to flower more than 1 time, and b) get the seeds from the green bulbous pod that has formed and plant them. I think my 1st/2nd graders would enjoy the experiement and I'd love to start a plant from scratch. Any thoughts/suggestions/ideas about this/

    Thanks for any input.
    Judy
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I have seen them in gardens here but they cannot be expected to persist. Certain kinds (not the built-up hybrids sold by most outlets) are grown outdoors in milder parts of UK but some west coastal sections there are actually as warm in winter as coastal California.

    Oversize bulbs probably need a pretty diligent fertilization program to continue enlarging and flowering. The most impressive one I have seen, grown in a house in the Lower Mainland was getting regular doses of a liquid product. The curtained window it was near didn't seem at all bright yet there it was. I usually have them stretch and fall over under ordinary household conditions.

    The seeds on the friend's plant turned black when mature. I'd just insert them into pots and place in a warm and bright environment for germination.
     
  8. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

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    Judy,
    I'd be surprised if the bulbs need to be put in the dark. Mine will go dormant in the sun, the tops of the bulbs peeping above the ground.

    In Florida, a single-variety bed of amaryllises will come into flower simultaneously in spring. Even if kept watered during the winter, they seem to get seasonal cues, perhaps from cool weather as much as dryness.

    Their reputation for doing well in small pots might possibly come from what seems to be a tendency to grow in shallow soil in the wild--suggested by photos from the http://www.bulbsociety.org/index.htmlhttp://www.bulbsociety.org/index.html.

    If only hippeastrums were taken more seriously as garden plants in the US...
     
  9. rockminer

    rockminer Active Member

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    Germinating Hipp seeds can be quite entertaining to kids. Keep the seed pods on the scapes until they split open. Remove the seeds from the pods and float them in a lidded jar in plain rain water until they have started their roots and a first leaf. They are then planted individually in small pots. I have also started them just a successfuly in potting medium but that is not as visually exciting as starting them in water.

    My Hipps are all grown in pots, go outside in summer and come in in winter. some are forced into dormancy and others continue growing all winter. Doesn't seem to make much difference in flowering except that the dormant ones can be forced to bloom to my schedule...somewhat...LOL.

    I usually separate all offset bulbs so I can share with friends but this 'Red Lion' I have been just potting up to see how it develops.

    Bill
     

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