Can you make this antique bloom (Hippeastrum Petiolatum)

David Pilling
Tue, 04 Feb 2020 04:40:50 PST

Tom Schafer, who lives in the North East of the USA, wrote to the PBS 
website asking how to make a 19th century bulb flower.

You can reply direct to: or to the list.

"I inherited a Hippeastrum Petiolatum from my late friend who inherited 
it from her grandparents when they died.
They had received it as a wedding present in the late 1800's.
My friend did not have a green thumb and she kept it pot bound in the 
same pot for years.
She fertilized weekly but I don't know what she used.  And the plant 
blossomed for her at least twice a year with upwards of 15 stalks!!
She loved it and wanted me to have it when she died.

I have had it for about 10 years now and I have had no luck whatsoever 
with it. I did not know what it was (nor did she) so that didn't help 
but I cared for it like I would a child!
Occasionally it would send up a flower or two and that's all.  And it 
kept looking worse by the month.
(At one point I had it planted in a bark mixture used for Clivia because 
I thought that that is what it is.)

I somehow decided on making some new potting soil on my own (1 part 
perlite, 1 part peat moss and 1 part manure).
I pulled the plant all apart in the spring of 2018, used my soil and put 
it on my porch for the summer and it looked (and still does although 
it's now inside) wonderful!!
But not one single flower.  I did read that after they are transplanted 
they may not blossom for a year or two and that they like to be pot 
bound so that could be the problem.
(I have attached a picture.  I divided it into two pots when replanting.)

I decided that I used too much fertilizer and over watered it in the 
past (on all of my plants) so I cut back.
And on this plant I only occasionally gave it 10-10-10.  I am using 
Jack's Classic all purpose 20-20-20 water soluble plant food at half the 
recommended dose.
I have not given it anything since last fall but with spring hopefully 
arriving in a few months, I thought I should start again thus my 
question to Pacific."

There is a photo in the scrubbed link below. The PBS wiki has a page 
about one of these bulbs from the 1920s…

David Pilling
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