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?
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.
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
On Sat, 21 Mar 2009 16:15:09 -0800, "David E. Ross"
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.)
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.
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.
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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.
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