Monday, April 10, 2017


Amaryllis is one of the most beautiful flowers in the garden!  The huge flower and big bulb almost make them look like fake plants. They are such a showy plant I think some people are afraid to grow them. You can also extend their color by forcing them in the off season or just leave them in the ground and enjoy them in the spring. . Boy they really put on a show and are easy to grow!

After your foliage has died back, you can dig the bulb out of the ground.  
Amaryllis is unique in that they do not respond to photoperiod (light hours received).   This makes Amaryllis easier to force than Poinsettias that you have to bring in an out of a dark closet in order to get them to turn red.  You do not have to regulate the light hours the Amaryllis bulb receives.  All you have to do is hold back the moisture (i.e. no water or fertilizer for 8-10 weeks).  While holding the water back, you can put them in a cool dark place away from any direct light and forget about them.   Since Amaryllis originated in the tropics of South America you also do not need to worry about cooling requirements (i.e. no bulbs in the refrigerator next to your lettuce!).    

Once you have dug the bulb up from your yard, you want to plant the bulb in a pot with well drained soil.  Equal amounts of peat moss and perlite should provide you with a good growing medium.  Do not use a pine bark medium.  Be sure the pot has good drainage.  Usually a 6 inch pot will do for each bulb.  Ideally your pH would be between 6.0-6.5.  When placing the bulb in the peat/perlite mix have at least a third to a half the bulb above the surface.  This will help reduce a disease called fire or red spot that is caused by having the nose of the bulb wet.  When watering, avoid watering the nose of the bulb.   You want to wait until the plant has leaves before you fertilize or you could rot the roots.    

While your bulb is resting, check on it after 4 weeks and look for new growth at the top of the bulb.  Sometimes it doesn’t take the full 8-10 weeks.  If the bulb starts to grow, you can bring it out into the light and begin to water and fertilize it.  Fertilize every other week with a 20-20-20 fertilizer and in about 6 weeks you should have a new flower.

If you really like amaryllis and all the colors they come in, you could stagger (buy or dig some bulbs in week or 2 week intervals) force them, and have a perpetual supply of blooming amaryllis throughout the year! 

There seems to be a lot of insects attacking the new foliage of plants and trees. Tree and Shrub Systemic insecticide that you drench into the ground for long term control of many sucking insects. Neem Oil, an organic product, is good on many insects and mites as well as powdery mildew. Powdery mildew is a fungus that attacks our dogwoods, roses, and crepe myrtles in the early spring on the new growth. Powdery mildew really effects crepe myrtles since they bloom on new growth. Neem Oil will also help with those nasty leafrollers in Cannas.

Always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a Federal Law.