Amaryllis flowering

Nathan Lange
Sat, 13 Jun 2015 17:38:51 PDT

>Just curious, do they bloom the year they are planted or do they 
>take a year to settle in before blooming?

If you are talking about flowering, in my experience, successful 
flowering of Amaryllis belladonna during the first year after 
planting depends on several factors, assuming the plants' other needs are met:

First, the number of roots that are saved at the time of 
transplanting. The percentage of flowering the first year likely goes 
up with the number of roots that are saved at the time of 
transplanting. For example, I once planted out about 450 Hannibal 
hybrid Amaryllis bulbs that had no roots at all when first planted. 
Less than five flowered that same autumn. Only 17 flowered the 
following autumn. Nearly 200 flowered the following year after that.

Second, bulb size. Like all bulbous plants, there is a minimum bulb 
size required for flowering. The minimum bulb size for A. belladonna 
to flower has been reported to be 26 cm (10 inches) but this seems 
very large and likely varies with growing conditions. Larger bulbs 
are much more likely to endure harsh transplant shock and root loss, 
flowering the first and second years. In the example above, I sorted 
and planted the bulbs by bulb size and the 17 that flowered were all 
from the largest 20% of the population. Large bulbs with intact roots 
that are carefully transplanted almost always flower the first and 
second summer/autumn. Less than 200 out of 450 bulbs flowered the 
third year in this example because many of the bulbs were not large 
enough to flower. Bulb size might influence spathe emergence time and 
could be responsible for some portion of the variability people 
observe within any given genetically identical population of plants. 
Of course, the overall timing of flowering of a given population is 
undoubtedly due to some aggregation of bulb temperatures during the 
13 or more months prior to spathe emergence.

Third, what species are we talking about? Amaryllis belladonna or the 
endless multitude of intergeneric Amaryllis hybrids that are 
available? They are not the same. The distribution curve of spathe 
emergence in autumn for my Hannibal Amaryllis population is 
completely different from that of my straight A. belladonna 
populations. Again, this should not be surprising to anyone who has 
observed populations of both. Just as they very greatly in flower 
color, Amaryllis hybrids vary in nearly every conceivable plant 
characteristic imaginable, including flowering time, minimum bulb 
size at first flower, etc.

In my example above, why did so few bulbs flower both the first and 
second year with a big increase in the third year? A very small part 
of the increase can be attributed to the general increase in average 
bulb size of the entire population with time. The real answer is that 
when I planted these bulbs in the autumn of year one, both the spathe 
for that year (year one) and the spathe for the following autumn 
(year two) were already present in these bulbs. The harsh treatment 
these bulbs received before I planted them aborted both year one and 
year two spathes which is why I had to wait until year three for a 
lot more flowers.

Yes, they can definitely flower the first year if transplanted with 
care. If not, you may have to wait two years for flowers.


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