Amaryllis Basics I

James Waddick
Tue, 04 Dec 2007 06:09:25 PST
Dear PBS Friends,
	I have been emailing Bill Warren, the founder of the 
Amaryllis Study Group. This is a group of avid Garden Amaryllis 
(Hippeastrum) growers mostly in Florida. Bill sent me some basic info 
and I have edited it slightly with Bill's permission and additions. 
He agreed to let me share them with PBS.
	This is the first one, others to follow.

Garden Amaryllis -Hippeastrum - Basics
1. Easy Outdoor Forcing in Florida and Consecutive Blooming for Holidays
			by Bill Warren of the Amaryllis Study Group

	My most basic instruction for hybrid Hippeastrum is plant the 
bulb whether in a pot or ground in well draining soil so  the widest 
part of the bulb is the soil line (half or more of the bulb is above 
the soil.). Use sandy soil; many clay soils do not drain well.

  	A very nice lady from Palm Bay, Florida, USA shared a simply 
great way to bring amaryllis into bloom in beds or pots in Florida. 
She pulls the bulbs out of the ground and lays them on the grass in 
the back yard for a MONTH to a MONTH and a HALF. THEN she replants 
(widest part of the bulb as the soil line).
NO, she DOES NOT cut off the leaves.
YES, she has used both sun and shade to lay them in. They bloom 4 to 
5 weeks later. YES, she has done this for years. She does give at 
least a couple of months in the growing stage with the new leaves 
after blooming before unplanting the bulbs in maybe late June or July 
(in the northern hemisphere).
YES, she does this for any time of year including Christmas.
YES, she plants them back in the ground or into pots for blooming (so 
if you are in Chicago and want to force some of your outdoor garden 
amaryllis [Hippeastrum] in pots for fall and winter blooming this 
will be EASY). What? You don't have a bed of Hippeastrum in your 

Is this SIMPLE enough for us ?
Where ever you are in whatever state, city, country, or growing zone; 
please let me know how well this works for you.

	REMEMBER that leaves and flower stalks have enough water in 
them to freeze (but not enough water in the bulb) in an air freeze. 
So, either replant in a pot or be prepared to cut a growing flower 
stalk for a bud vase if a freeze is predicted.
	First results indicate it works on a wide range of medium and 
large flowered hybrids, but do not use too young (5 + years) or small 
a bulb. Since different varieties have different size mature bulbs, I 
can't tell you what measurements. This has been successful in Miami, 
Land O' Lakes, Ocala, Gainesville. Let me know if I can add your 
location to the list.

How to use this information?
	Pick the date you want your bulb to bloom; back up 4-5 weeks 
and mark your calendar for the replanting date. Then back up 4 to 6 
weeks and mark your calendar as the unplanting date. You can do 
anniversaries and birthdays and even tighten the bloom period for 
spring weddings with similar figuring. And how about the date of that 
flower show you want to enter. Enter your amaryllis in bloom in a 
fall  or midsummer show. Be prepared to answer "How'd you do dat?". 

Holidays will look like this:
New Years/Christmas = Replanting day --- November 20 --- Unplanting day ---
	October 05
Thanksgiving = Replanting day --- October 15 --- Unplanting day ---
	September 01
Halloween = Replanting day --- September 10 --- Unplanting day ---
	August 01

  	Halloween & Thanksgiving are a great time to have orange & 
lavender amaryllis flowers in the house. Yes, I know Dutch 
Hippeastrum catalogs idea of lavender color is mostly wishful 

  	The above is really easy, right? What if you replant the bulb 
outside and want the flowers inside ? Cut your flower scapes (stalks) 
just before the holiday and keep the water in the vase fresh by 
changing it every one to three days.
  	What if you grow amaryllis inside in pots ?  Use the same 
forcing technique you have been using OR unplant the bulb lay it on a 
shelf where it gets enough air to keep from molding (darkness is not 
necessary nor do you cut the leaves in this case) and then use 
approximately the same date schedule planting in a new larger deeper 
pot with fresh sandy soil and potting soil. You could use this plan 
to take four bulbs from smaller pots and put them in a 15" or larger 
pot. You will be surprised how much they will appreciate the extra 
soil depth.

  	NOW let us get a little fancier. You have in your garden or 
deep pot a nice big bulb that you have been growing several years and 
it gives you plenty of leaves in the growing season after blooming 
every year because you have the bulbs planted with the widest part of 
the bulb as the soil line.
September 1 -- Unplant it
October 12 ---- Replant it in the ground or a deep pot
just before Thanksgiving ---- cut the scapes for a vase and cut the 
neck, flower stalks, & leaves off 1/4 inch above the top of the bulb 
Dec. 20 --- Cut the new scapes and put them in a vase or if the bulb 
is in a pot display the flowers through Jan. 2 and then cut the 
flowers for a vase (make sure the leaves are again cut to 1/4 inch 
above the top of the bulb) ---- when Valentines Day comes, you will 
have a third set of scapes (stalks) of flowers. Different varieties 
will have shorter or longer times from cutting to blooming. Joker, 
the beautiful floriferous red/white double is extremely fast for 
instance so practice your timing.

	If you keep your house cooler than average the flowers will grow slower
and have taller scapes. If you keep your house warmer than average 
the flowers will mature faster. Same is true from beds in south to 
north Florida in the late fall and winter.
  	If someone you know has bought a house in the last 5 years, 
give them an amaryllis bulb and teach them how much fun and beauty 
they can produce over the years as their flower beds slowly spread.

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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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