My amaryillis is out for the past month or so, and the leaves are only
about 4 inches. I notice that the flower stem is popping its head out.
We have had this plant for a number of years. It seems as if in the
past the leaves have been larger before the flower stem pops out. Does
the length of the leaves affect how successful the flowers will be? I
thought that the leaves make energy for the bulb for next years flower
rather than this years flower, and the less leaf the better. Any views
on this? The weather in our area has been colder this winter than last
year, although the plant is in a sunny window. We have always kept out
house at around 58 degrees.
Is this Amaryllis belladonna (common names: "naked lady", "belladonna
lily")? Or is this from the genus Hippeastrum (common names:
"amaryllis", "oxblood lily" (red varieties))? See my
<http://www.rossde.com/garden/garden_hippeastrum.html for thediffereces between the two.
Hippeastrum is supposed to be evergreen, not going dormant in the
winter. During a severe winter, however, Hippeastrum might become
leafless. I have three potted Hippeastrum on my patio, all of which
were hit hard by the record-breaking cold we had in January where I
live. Not only did they all lose their leaves; for a while, I thought
one or more was actually dead.
This morning, I checked my garden before breakfast. Two of the
Hippeastrum now have a good growth of new leaves. The third has the
start of new leaves, but it also has the start of a flower stalk almost
as high as the leaves.
The interesting thing about Hippeastrum is that it might bloom at any
time except winter. (It can also be forced to bloom in the winter if
indoors.) Some of mine -- all the same variety -- bloom two or even
three times between early spring and mid-fall. This is most likely to
happen with those bulbs that remain in leaf through the winter.
Don't worry if the flower appears before there is a full growth of
leaves. Just keep the bulb moist but not wet. Feed it lightly but
Do not force dormancy at the end of the growing season. If it goes
dormant anyway, stop feeding; but still keep it somewhat moist because
the roots will still be alive.
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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