I will admit, I love amaryllises (and yes, I got the plural right…but I’ll admit, I had to look it up). Those giant bulbs, the perfect green spears, and finally, that amazing, huge, showstopping bloom! It’s the perfect flower, and, like many others, I love to use them at Christmastime. But, I’m sure you’re wondering, why am I talking about it today, Valentine’s Day? Well, sadly, I didn’t have much luck this year…my amaryllises are just blooming now!
In my kitchen, I have a perfect spot for flowers. The sink is angled and in the corner, and above the sink are two huge windows. There is a perfect triangular spot for flowers, and I love to swap those out during the year for the seasons. A few years ago, I had the brilliant idea of planting amaryllis bulbs and paper whites. I ran to my local Home Depot, color coordinated the blooms, planted, and waited for them to come. Sure enough, they were perfect! I had some buds showing by Thanksgiving, and by Christmas, they were in full bloom. Needless to say, I was proud!
So, being the optimist that I am, I thought, I need to save these bulbs, because I can do it again next year! And I did just that. I cut the leaves and stems off, shook off the dirt, and put them in my shed. And then, come October, I potted them up (as I had read, about 8-10 weeks before you want them to bloom). They started to sprout right away, and I was thrilled. Those leaves shot up, and more leaves, and more leaves, and, well, that was it, just leaves. No buds ever came. Realizing I had either underestimated the re-blooming process or overestimated my gardening skills, I did some research. What I found out was you have to keep them growing and feed them into late winter, spring, and summer. So last year, after the holidays and my sad leaf display, I re-potted the bulbs (after all, I had to rotate in some spring flowers for my kitchen display), kept them watered and fed, and eventually, when it was warm enough, I moved them to the porch.
I can proudly tell you, after following these guidelines, I was the only house on the block that was sporting huge amaryllis blooms in June! That’s right, after I re-potted them and once they started growing, several sent up blooms. I’m sure it was because I didn’t give them the nutrients they needed to develop the buds, but once I kept them going, they finally had blooms. So, keeping with my research, I read that you should keep them going all summer, then, in mid-August, stop watering and move them to a dark, cool location.
Being the rule follower that I am, I did just that. I moved them to a cool, dark part of the basement and stopped watering them. It lasted for 8 weeks. After that time, in October, I re-potted them and began to water. Sure enough, there was growth, and I was thrilled. But the problem was, my timing was still off. While I had growth, and eventually buds, I was a few months off.
I’ve watered these buds, and talked to them, coaxing out a bloom, but I wasn’t rewarded until now, about 2 months after I wanted the show. But, I have to say, I’m still relieved that they bloomed this year, and not in the summer. Maybe this year I’ll move my timing up a bit, but hopefully the bulbs are now getting back into the routine after I messed with them for a while year. We’ll see! Hopefully you have more luck. I’d love to hear how you’ve succeeded (if you have).