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Amaryllis and Hippeastrums: Confused as to when to repot my amaryllis

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mygardens
Croton-on-Hudson, NY
(Zone 6b)

January 23, 2012
2:26 PM

Post #8979476

Someone gave me an amaryllis a week before Christmas. It came in the usual, light, container with some kind of soiless, potting medium. It had 2 stalks and one is still blooming. I have read much information about how to feed and maintain the leaves and what kind of soil mixture to use when repotting, but I am unable to find out when to repot a bulb like this. Do I repot it now and let the leaves grow, or do I leave it in it's original container, let it grow through the summer, let it go dormant, and then repot it in new soil for next years bloom? Need to keep this bulb from dying!

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bsharf
Palm Coast, FL
(Zone 9a)

January 24, 2012
1:16 AM

Post #8980083

If I were you, after it is done blooming, I'd cut off the spent stalks, repot in good potting soil. Treat it as a houseplant with good light until after your last frost. Put it outside for the summer, water and fertilize it regularly. You want nice green healthy leaves this summer. Next year's buds are made this summer. Bring it in again in the fall. Remember though, it may not bloom next year: a lot depends on how quickly the bulb recovers from being "forced" for this year's blooming.
mygardens
Croton-on-Hudson, NY
(Zone 6b)

January 24, 2012
4:29 PM

Post #8981025

Thanks. That does make sense since it has no nutritional soil with it now. I did read that a slow release fertilizer might be good too, so if I am going to treat it like a houseplant, perhaps I should add some fertilizer also.
kdjoergensen
Waxhaw (Charlotte), NC
(Zone 7b)

February 17, 2012
2:14 PM

Post #9010217

Amaryllis are relatively heavy feeders, so fertilizing during active growth is very helpful.
mygardens
Croton-on-Hudson, NY
(Zone 6b)

February 18, 2012
11:18 AM

Post #9011149

kdjoergensen - Do you use something like Osmocote or anything special? Most of my plants seem to benefit from fish emulsion. Would this be good on Amaryllis?
kdjoergensen
Waxhaw (Charlotte), NC
(Zone 7b)

February 18, 2012
5:43 PM

Post #9011480

Once they have flowered, an all round fertilize 10-10-10 is fine. Osmocote or other slow release fertilizers are good. You can add fish emulsion (high in nitrogen) in between.
mygardens
Croton-on-Hudson, NY
(Zone 6b)

February 21, 2012
8:38 AM

Post #9014558

Thanks again. I will feed them regularly. The bulbs are in the sun and the leaves look very good now. Will put them outside when it warms up.
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

March 7, 2012
7:18 AM

Post #9033147

Okay, I'm kind of a idiot, so please bear with me. After my amaryllis finishes with it's third flower stalk, I should remove all stalks, repot it in potting soil (same size?), and fertilize with 10-10-10 or something similar. It can go outside after danger of frost passes, until fall, when I will come back and learn what to do then :)
If that's correct, great, if not, can someone send me on the right path? After all the work this poor little fellers done, I'd like to do the best for it :)
bsharf
Palm Coast, FL
(Zone 9a)

March 7, 2012
1:48 PM

Post #9033571

That works.
kdjoergensen
Waxhaw (Charlotte), NC
(Zone 7b)

March 7, 2012
4:34 PM

Post #9033779

Catmad,
you can cut spent flowerstalks and leave the amaryllis in the flowerpots they are in (no need to repot, if you are anyway just putting outside). Once night temperatures are consistently above 50F, move pots outdoors for a few weeks (harden off), and then you can plant in full sun and fertilize. A 10-10-10 fertilizer is just fine.
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

March 7, 2012
4:47 PM

Post #9033815

bsharf, thanks:)

kdjoergensen, I can put them in the ground? I didn't think they'd survive the winter, but you're even farther north than I (about 2 hrs). Last year I left a three bulb set in it's container by my prochfor the summer, and brought it in for the winter and it died back. I refilled the soil when it started to grow, again, but there is more room around them than this single has in it's little pot. Do they like close quarters?
Thanks for the help.
bsharf
Palm Coast, FL
(Zone 9a)

March 8, 2012
5:34 AM

Post #9034317

Outside survival depends on microclimates. If you happen to have a sheltered location by the sunny side of the house, you might get enough heat radiating off the walls, in the winter, to keep the bulbs from freezing. Also mulching a bit more in late fall. Some people have luck with outside Amaryllis much further north than one would expect given their planting zone. This winter was so mild that there was probably a good survival rate in bulbs that would be considered to be in borderline areas. The same bulbs might not survive a "normal" winter. Some cultivars are hardier. The best would probaby be H. striatum, which is the traditional "pass along" one, found in many southern gardens. I understand some people do well with Red Lion and Appleblosson, which are the older commercial hybrids. Its a matter of trial and error. A second major "threat" to Amaryllis is wet soil. In general, the further north you are, the wetter the winters. Its possible that bulbs, in a borderline area, would do better in a raised bed to ensure excellent draining.
kdjoergensen
Waxhaw (Charlotte), NC
(Zone 7b)

March 8, 2012
4:16 PM

Post #9035054

These bulbs wont die outdoors in SC. In my experience, they are not difficult to grow at all outdoors in our area.

They like plenty of sun during the active growing season (summer) and lots of fertilizer. Given them deep, well aerated soil to promote deep root growth. Water them well.
The information of "close quarters" has to do with prompting the bulbs to bloom. If they have had a rest period (winter with leaves dying back) the close quarters are usually not necessary.

catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

March 9, 2012
4:31 AM

Post #9035438

Thanks :). I'll find a sunny spot where I can amend the soil (red clay is not very well aerated *g*) and we'll see. I just hope we don't have a repeat of the previous winter...
tropicalnut777
Provo, UT
(Zone 5a)

March 16, 2012
6:53 PM

Post #9045532

this last yr i actually paid attention to amaryllis bulbs i put outside during summer..
i left mine potted up..i used a really well draining soil..they got all morning sun and early mid day.then
filtered.. they bloomed again in late july.. and the bulbs got HUGE..
i did fertilize them heavy..the leaves were prolific..
ive rested them up to last month..and started to water again..
surprise..i have flowers again..:) yea..
i plan to repeat what i did last yr.. i love these flowers..and even more
where i pay attention to them..and i have bigger bulbs next yr..:)
thanks for thoughts and ideas here !!!!!!!!
bbrookrd
Nantucket, MA
(Zone 7a)

June 12, 2012
5:13 AM

Post #9161779

I have a large collection of Hippeastrum which for years I have kept in their pots in our GH for the winter. We bring them into the house as they begin to spike for our enjoyment throughout the winter and spring months. For the summer for many years we would put them outside on the east side of the house with other container plants before bringing them back inside in late summer when we would cut off their foliage and withhold water for 8 weeks. But a few years ago we started just leaving them in the GH for the summer as we had too many to move outside which seemed to work OK. However last winter's bloom count was down, so I decided this summer to take them all out of their pots and plant them outside in a bed. We will give them a good feeding and I will add, as suggested above, fish emulsion and plenty of water. In late August we will dig them up and cut off their foliage and then put them into paper lunch bags and place them in a cool dark closet for the required forced dormancy period and then re-pot them all in fresh potting soil as they begin to show some green. I guess I will see if I have bigger and happier blooms this winter from their new summer home. I hope they are happy as I would hate losing any of them. I think I have at least 75, but I should count them I Love them all. If this works well, I will do this method always as it is so nice to have them out of the GH for the summer and far easier to water. If they get too fat and happy, I will need more clay pot. Good thing I am a potter. Patti
tropicalnut777
Provo, UT
(Zone 5a)

June 22, 2012
6:03 PM

Post #9176505

wow patti.. thats alot of bulbs.. :) for me its tropicals..EE,bananas,now amorphophallus..
i have several butterfly hipp.. all are in good leaf..and putting out more leaves..
i have a huge one. 1 1/2 size of softball.. its just been sitting there..
(ive only had it since spring)
its firm..i did pop it out of pot to check for rot,how the roots were.. looked good..
just sitting there..
i guess when its done resting..it will come alive again..
good luck on bigger blooms next winter !!!!!
bbrookrd
Nantucket, MA
(Zone 7a)

June 25, 2012
9:55 AM

Post #9180094

It will need a real dormant period when you cut off it's foliage and withhold all water and put it in a coolish dark place for 6to8 weeks before it will spike again. I have the most trouble with the "butterfly" types, but adore them. Good luck. Patti
tropicalnut777
Provo, UT
(Zone 5a)

June 25, 2012
11:20 AM

Post #9180249

thanks patti.. and good luck with your millions of amaryllis!!! :)
joanlc
Perham, MN
(Zone 3b)

January 25, 2013
10:52 AM

Post #9397242

Patti,

What's "cool" enough? I had mine in a shop built inside our garage for about 14 weeks this fall, going into winter. Withheld water (and they sure didn't seem to use much) and tried to let the foliage die back naturally. Some let all their foliage brown off completely and some didn't, but they all did stop growing, for sure. Temps in there varied from 65 to about 40 (a small electric heater prevents that room from ever quite freezing, even when it's -20 here). I brought them in about 3 weeks ago and 3 out of 6 have visible flower spikes now. I'm expecting 2 of the remaining 3 to do the same when they get around to it. So I think it's going OK. Especially considering a couple of these plants had the brilliant idea of blooming again in the garden in August! Silly creatures.

There's one bulb, an Apple Blossom, that seems to want to make lots and lots of offsets, but not a flower spike. What's up with that? Any ideas? Same thing happened last year; no flowers! I took off most of the babies when I brought it in about 3 weeks ago, so it wouldn't have to support them. But it's just decided to grow some more. New potting soil, professional nursery grade (from the nursery where I used to work), and no fertilizer. I figured there is some weak fertilizer (starter fertilizer) in this soilless mix, and I wouldn't add anything else until growth starts to really push. So... what do you guys think is going on here?

Thanks,

Joan
bsharf
Palm Coast, FL
(Zone 9a)

January 25, 2013
2:53 PM

Post #9397503

It sounds as if your Apple Blossom wants to make babies without flower sex: its cloning itself. If this is the second year this has happened, it might be some sort of genetic glitch in that bulb. Its not uncommon for a bulb to take 2-3 years to bloom again after the initial blooming when you bought it. But it is odd that this one just wants to make offsets. Some cultivars are known for making lots of offsets, but Apple Blossom isn't one of those. Give it some more time, since you said that you brought them inside only 3 weeks ago. A lot depends on how much time and effort you want to invest in this bulb, since you can't just plant it outside and let it do its own thing, as we are able to do in Florida.
joanlc
Perham, MN
(Zone 3b)

January 26, 2013
8:01 PM

Post #9398697

Well, that's certainly interesting. This Apple Blossom has *never* bloomed for me. Got it for next to nothing in a K-Mart box after Christmas a couple of years ago when the craze hit me too late to find any decent bulbs anywhere. It had made a stab at sending a spike, which had gotten bent in the box and more or less keeled over before flowering, in spite of my efforts at support. So I let it grow on, thinking "next year...". Lots of handsome leaves, followed later in the season by lots of clones. OK, said I, you're just off your schedule. You'll bloom next year - which is this year. But no - same thing, tons of babies. Genetic, huh? Good excuse to... get another bulb! Ha! I have my eye on either a fun pink, like Vera, or maybe something bright orange (totally the "wrong" color in my house, but hey - cheerful!).

Thanks for that perspective, bsharf.
bsharf
Palm Coast, FL
(Zone 9a)

January 27, 2013
4:03 AM

Post #9398818

I read your last post, and it gives me more information about what happened to your Apple Blossom. Flowers aren't produced for our enjoyment, but for reproduction: mixing the genes of 2 parents. That is the primary means of reproduction. The secondary means of reproduction is offsets, which have 2 copies of the "mother's" genes. I'm wondering if this bulb's failure to successfully flower at K-Mart has somehow reprogramed it to only reproduce by offsests. If you look at it from the "point of view" of the bulb, why put energy into the primary reproductive path which failed? Instead invest the energy into the secondary reproductive path which so far has been successful. It must be extremely stressful for a bulb to try to bloom in a box in total darkness. First, once green parts appear, the bulb starts to switch over to photosynthesis for energy production: in the dark that is blocked. Secondly, there are growth hormones at the growing tip of the scape that position it vertically. Once the scape is turned back down (in a box) the hormones are going crazy trying to correct the scape's position. If you get them before the scape has hit the top of the box, they probably can be saved. But if this bulb was as far along as you say, I think you are never going to get it to rebloom. It would be interesting to know if anyone on DG has successfully rehabilitated a Amaryllis that had been in that condition on purchase.
Wyckoff
Deltona, FL
(Zone 9b)

January 27, 2013
6:26 AM

Post #9398914

Some varieties and some individual bulbs tend to produce more offsets than others.

Apple Blossom isnt known for tons of offsets but you might have an individual bulb that excels in producing offsets.

However, we can and should rule out that the bulb is threatened or sick in some way.

Currently I am culling my collection because many bulbs are infected with mosaic virus.

The virus will eventually kill the bulb but its very slow. I keep records on everything and have noticed several things about the infected bulbs:

The infected bulbs are slowly declining in size. Some are still over 3 in diameter but smaller than the last time I measured them.

They still have leaves. Frequently many of the leaves look healthy and only one leaf indicates the fact that the bulb is inflected.

Some are still producing scapes and flowers but many scapes fail in this group.

Offset production has doubled and even tripled. The bulb is doomed but still trying to carry on through its progeny.

Virused bulbs must be destroyed.

Another issue is thick Basal Plates.

These bulbs may be loose in the pot. Again the size is declining. Leaves may be OK or not.

When I unpot a bulb like this, typically many roots are dead or dying and there is a thick Basal Plate. The bulb is starving and living off the mass of the bulb.

Sometimes there are more small offsets around the edge of the Basal Plate than roots. Again, the bulb is trying to find a way to continue through its offsets.

Bulbs with Basal Plate issues can be saved, brought back to good health and will flower again. Unpot the bulb to check the Basal Plate. Any Basal Plate over thick can be trimmed.

This post is already far too long. If anyone wants more information, let me know and I can start separate discussions for mosaic and Basal Plates.

Sincerely,

Candace
joanlc
Perham, MN
(Zone 3b)

January 28, 2013
10:36 AM

Post #9400226

Still more interesting, bsharf, re "re-programming." It makes rational sense. Yet... I find it hard to believe that a plant would change from one sort of "behavior" to another, and not back again to its natural and more fundamental tendencies, when conditions are back to normal. All the many varieties of plants I've raised over the years respond fairly quickly to environmental changes, for good or ill. Yet we have the evidence of our eyes, so maybe --. Cool science fair experiment (except that it would take a few years): try to reproduce this phenomenon by purposely stunting flower spikes. If I lived in Florida where I could grow lots and lots of amaryllis outdoors, I would consider sacrificing a few for the sake of possibly advancing knowledge.

Mosaic virus: not likely in this case. No leaf issues at any time; mother bulb prospering and getting larger; average basal plate (apparent when I removed offsets); roots all exuberantly healthy.

Take-away lesson: Don't bother buying stunted bulbs, no matter how attentive a gardener you are, unless you have lots of space and want to do a horticultural experiment.

Now to work myself up to take her out to the compost heap. Sniff.
bsharf
Palm Coast, FL
(Zone 9a)

January 31, 2013
3:35 PM

Post #9404071

Awwwwww!
mygardens
Croton-on-Hudson, NY
(Zone 6b)

March 3, 2013
12:44 PM

Post #9437599

EXCITEMENT - I did everything that was mentioned at the beginning of the thread, took it out of dormancy two weeks ago, and now it has two flower stalks. It's the first time I have been able to get these plants to bloom a second season. Thanks everyone!!

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joanlc
Perham, MN
(Zone 3b)

March 4, 2013
10:34 AM

Post #9438464

That is a beautiful and extremely robust-looking plant! Congratulations!
mygardens
Croton-on-Hudson, NY
(Zone 6b)

March 26, 2013
6:47 PM

Post #9463271

UPDATE: My amaryllis is now in full bloom. I'm so thrilled.

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