Haemanthus season

Michael Mace mikemace@att.net
Fri, 27 Aug 2010 18:17:43 PDT
Here in northern California, Haemanthus amarylloides is just finishing its
bloom.  We didn't have any photos of the flower on the wiki, so I posted a
couple here:


It's probably one of the most boring Haemanthus flowers, by the way.  But it
blooms when almost everything else here looks dead, so it's welcome.

I don't know what triggers Haemanthus blooming, but this species
consistently blooms for me just as the Hannibal Amaryllis hybrids are
beginning to show buds.  The same thing happened this year, but the whole
season started about two weeks later than usual.  We had a long and wet
winter last season, so maybe the bulbs sense how long it's been since the
last rain, or they track some sort of accumulated heat-hours.  The trigger
can't be just day length or water, because it hasn't rained here since
spring, and if the trigger was day length, the start of the bloom season
would not shift around.

Bu the way, last spring I made a bold prediction that because we had heavy
and prolonged rains in California last winter, we might get a good bloom
season from Amaryllis belladonna and its hybrids this year.  So far it looks
like I was wrong -- this is shaping up to be a typical bloom season here,
nothing special.  I'd be interested to know what others are seeing.

So maybe it isn't the amount of winter rainfall that makes them bloom.  Or
maybe the buds form over multiple years.  Nikko's post on Nerines was
extremely interesting; if they set buds two years in advance, I would not be
surprised if Amaryllis do the same.

One final note, my biggest bulb of Brunsvigia marginata (bought from Telos
in 2001) is showing a little green bit at the center that might be a flower
bud.  If it is, this will be the first time it's bloomed.  On the other
hand, it could just be the leaves getting started.  This is the torture and
glory of growing amaryllids.

San Jose, CA

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