Amaryllis Basics III - Vase Culture

James Waddick
Tue, 04 Dec 2007 06:15:23 PST
Dear PBS,	This is the third/final article. Can this be done 
with any other bulbs?		Jim W.

Garden Amaryllis - Hippeastrum Basics

3. Vase culture: Breeder's vase techniques for Amaryllis 
(Hippeastrum) and others.			by Bill Warren of the 
Amaryllis Study Group

	You can culture Amaryllis (Hippeastrum)and other similar 
plants to produce seed from cut flower scapes.

	Works with hollow scapes only.  Cut the scape (with a clean 
knife) so that it is as long as possible.  Place into a vase with 
only enough clean, plain, fresh water to immerse 1-2 inches above of 
the cut end of the scape. It does not need sugar or anything else. 
Change the water every third day. This keeps the "micro moat 
monsters' from incubating and invading the scape to eat it from the 
inside. Just use plain water and change it every one to three days. I 
will test chamomile tea as a water treatment to prevent "micro moat 
monster" growth in vases shortly.

	A proper controlled test of chemicals to control the mmm 
(micro moat monsters) was conducted by UNC & U of F and found that 
the basic ingredients needed were an antifungal, an anti bacterial, 
and an antivirus. Vitamin C and aspirin crushed will do the trick. 
However If you keep it simple FRESH WATER, no sugar (what about the 
carbs etc, in the plant juices coming out of the scape - yes, 
changing the water in 3 days or less interrupts the incubation 
period), amazingly scapes will last longer in the vase than on the 

	One very interesting line of inquiry when you are pollinating 
(especially) and growing your seeds in a vase is to use very dilute 
solutions of the chemicals used for tissue culture and creating 
polyploidism. Well here we have a simple system that should use 
exceedingly low concentrations of these dangerous chemicals (possibly 
a hundredth or a thousandth of dilution for external drenches) to go 
right up the scape directly to the ovary (seed pod) to change the 
seeds before or during pollination. It is 1931 again and you have a 
choice of tissue or vase culture. Which is more dangerous ? 
Which needs more sterile conditions. Cut the scape for the vase 
before the bud capsule has opened. Yes; it will go all the way 
through bloom and seed formation if the water is not contaminated 
with bacteria, molds, or viruses. 

	So far all of my investigation techniques are minimalist and 
can be done by any interested individual in their garden or 
greenhouse. Understanding why they work will allow them to be very 
easily scaled up for commercial facilities so we are on a level field 
with the Dutch and South African companies in finding new varieties 
or starting a wide ranging breeding program with new Hippeastrum 
cultivars. It isn't tissue culture, but who knows what magic lurks in 
the genes of Hippeastrum (Apologies Shadow).  

	Go for it with some of the other amaryllids you have in your 
collections. I have used it with the fast blooming rain lilies-taking 
flowers or just pollen for my flowers from bulbs by the road 
side. Even if you stick to species and are not interested in hybrids 
using dilute PGRs, plant growth regulators, in a vase may give you a 
whole new approach for changing and improving. How about that = Vase 

Good Fortune to you,
Bill Warren = Amaryllis Study Group 
Questions welcome. Answers praised.

Dr. James W. Waddick
8871 NW Brostrom Rd.
Kansas City Missouri 64152-2711
Ph.    816-746-1949
Zone 5 Record low -23F
	Summer 100F +

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