amaryllis buds not maturing

At the end of 2007 I bought two amaryllis bulbs from a reputable online vendor who was getting rid of them at half-price. They both bloomed, and I was able to re-bloom them this winter, so I assume I know what I'm doing with amaryllis. But last Christmas I bought three more bulbs of different varieties from the same vendor's closeout sale. One of them bloomed. The other two had flower buds just start to peek out from the top of the bulb, then the buds sat there and didn't rise further while the leaves grew. They stayed that way for two months, now the buds are shriveling. The leaves are still mostly healthy. Does anyone know what caused this?
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On 3/21/2009 7:28 AM, Jim Shaffer wrote:

Are they true amaryllis, or are they hippeastrum? See my <http://www.rossde.com/garden/garden_hippeastrum.html for the difference between them. I'm not really familiar with true amaryllis but am very familiar with hippeastrum.
The latter might fail to bloom if it is over-watered or under-watered. If it's over-watered, it might be rotting and not salvageable. If it's under-watered, it could be salvaged by giving more water. The soil should be constantly moist but never soggy.
Another problem with hippeastrum not blooming is if it's forced into dormancy. This bulb (quite unlike true amaryllis) is evergreen and should be kept growing year round. Of course, it might go dormant in the winter on its own if grown outdoors where there is light frost. One of my did indeed go dormant this winter; it now has the start of new leaves. Another did not go dormant and is now in full flower.
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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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On Sat, 21 Mar 2009 16:15:09 -0800, "David E. Ross"

They're hippeastrum.
I scraped a little soil away from the top of the bulbs on the two that aren't blooming. One of them seems OK, the other one, which also has much less leaf growth than the first one, seems to be a little soft on one side. But it's not liquifying or malodorous, so I'm hoping I can dry it out and at least salvage the plant for next year.

They were dormant when I got them, and as I said it was an end-of-season sale, so maybe they were dormant too long. The roots were almost totally dessicated.
I'm puzzled by what you say about them blooming without dormancy. Years ago when I hadn't heard they were supposed to have dormancy, I tried re-blooming one without doing anything other than moving it indoors before frost and it never bloomed. My girlfriend currently has one that she's been forcing into dormancy by withholding water in the fall, but *not* chilling as I do, and it's never rebloomed either. (I only chill mine in an unfinished basement, it rarely gets below 45 and often is warmer.)
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i kick mine outside in the late spring (when it stays above 50F at night). they get a couple weeks hardening from shade cloth to full sun, & they stay in full sun until September or so (they come in when frost threatens). then they go under florescent lights or on the shelves in front of the windows. almost all of them will bloom between December & April. one hasn't bloomed in 3 years, but it keeps making offsets. it's treated just like the rest, so i'm not sure why it does that. i do feed them (seaweed & fish emulsion) when i have them out for the summer. i don't try to force dormancy at all. lee
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On 3/23/2009 2:24 PM, Jim Shaffer wrote [in part]:

Their natural environment is in the tropics. They stay in leaf and grow year round. They should never be artificially chilled.
Where I live, I get frost at night as early as the end of November. We got frost at night about a week ago; April is generally beyond any frost. My potted bulbs -- remaining outdoors in the winter -- stayed in leaf all winter. While they seem to stop growing in the winter, they are not deciduous. One is blooming right now. Sometimes, one of my potted bulbs might bloom three times in one year.
I have one in the ground. It lost its leaves late last year and is just now starting to get leaves. I planted it in the ground last summer, an offset from a potted bulb. It bloomed once, but snails chewed away the stalk before it was done.
The conclusion is that hippeastrum should never be forced into dormancy. They might go dormant anyway, on their own. My experience has been that the bulbs that stay green all winter bloom in the spring, again in the summer, and yet again in the fall. When snails, other pests, and the weather cause a bulb to lose its leaves in the winter, the bulb is likely to bloom only once in the summer.
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Climate: California Mediterranean
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I have been enjoying success with my amaryliss (Hippeastrum) bulbs in recent years, after many years of less success. Now I just leave them on the window ledge all year, and cut back on their water from September through December. They get a natural chilling period during winter because the window ledge is quite chilly. (Winnipeg, Canada).
I used to force dormancy by puting them in the basement in the dark. It was never very successful.
I notice that some of the posters here say they don't force dormancy, but I also notice that their bulbs are in locations where they get a natural cool spell. I think the cool period is necessary for flowering.
You know, commercial growers sell bulbs that are guaranteed to flower, and do. They know exact methods for reliably producing flowers. I wish I could find details on what they do.
Andrew
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