Dear fellow gardeners,
I am posting this in both the Florida Gardening forum and the Amaryllis and Hippeastrums forum because I grow amaryllis in central Florida.
I have hundreds of amaryllis and I’d like to sell a few. Unfortunately the best market time is the November and December Holidays and I am unable to persuade any of my bulbs to bloom then. They won’t even put in an appearance for Valentine’s Day.
For the past several years I have tested various methods with no success. This last season I tested 33 bulbs 2.75” in diameter or larger. Unpot in mid-August. Then dry and dark with good air circulation. Note: it’s hard to do “cool” storage in Florida. Attics, garages and barns are like ovens and we generally don’t have basements. Repot after 8 – 10 weeks.
13 bulbs have done absolutely nothing. 1 is still dormant as of May 9 although the bulb is solid and green with good roots. The rest have bloomed but none before Valentine’s Day. I actually had bulbs that wintered outside bloom before the bulbs being tested for the winter Holidays!
So - does anyone have a history of successfully reblooming amaryllis – in time for the Holidays - in central or south Florida?
How do you do it?
Need Help to Re-bloom Florida Amaryllis for Holidays
Dear fellow gardeners,
I'll tell you up front, I probably don't have any helpful advice specific to your situation, but here's a little tidbit FYI. Last fall (September, October?) I potted up one of my mature amaryllis bulbs (3" or so) in hopes of forcing it to bloom in the winter - something I've never done before. During cold weather it sat on a windowsill inside the house, but otherwise, it's been outside on a south-facing patio without doing a thing for over 6 months. Several weeks ago it began sprouting new leaves, and 2 weeks ago it developed a bud which will probably open in the next few days. All of the others, in flower beds, finished blooming in early April.
Obviously I didn't get my winter amaryllis! But I think I'll try this again this year with more than one bulb to see if I can replicate the results and extend the bloom time.
Note that this bulb never received any chilling other than the cool nights we got in the spring. Also, it's in a relatively small pot; about 6" diameter and has received regular water.
Im in 10 a and I never had mine bloom in the winter. Only in the spring. Im betting they need real cool / cold weather in the fall which I can't offer without putting them in the fridge. But I am no expert either. Let us know what you find out. :)
I once managed to dig some mid summer, let them dry out and replanted in a pot and they did re-bloom inthe fall but it was a long time ago and I don't remember the specifics but I bet someone on the amaryllis forum would know the answer.
Thank You for your replies!
To Amaryllisgal: It sounds like you might have been dabbling with what I call “even warmth” during the “inside” months. I tried that also this year and like you, have some very delayed flowering. My most recent new scape tips were this last week! It has made for a delightfully long flowering season.
But I also think this past winter was so mild that the bulbs became thoroughly confused. We had some cool (not cold) nights but the daytime temps spiked to almost summer highs. Some bulbs never went dormant and have an odd mix of new and old leaves. Some others that did go dormant are still dormant.
To weloveouryard: A “cool period” around 55° F for 8 - 10 weeks is recommended for Amaryllis. The folks up north have it easy. It’s darn near possible for us in Florida. And a fridge is too cold. That will damage the scapes and the bulb. A wine cooler might work but I have hundreds of bulbs and limited resources.
So we are looking for a new, different method. We just have to keep trying.
There is a product called Gibberellic acid. It is use it to induce flowering on some kinds of plants.
Never tried it on bulbs, but Amaryllis are a form of grass - monocot.
Hudson seed sells it. http://www.jlhudsonseeds.net/GibberellicAcid.htm
Here is a guy in NZ that you might direct your questions too. http://www.gibb-gro.co.nz/aboutus.html
All those bougainvillea that you see blooming at the big box stores are treated, but I think they use Florel. Makes the plants bushy, but, delays flowering. I am pretty sure that it's generally used only on broad leaf plants. Might be worth trying since it is not expensive.
I have used Florel and one of the 'side effects' is that treated plants will blooms out of their normal season about 6-7 weeks after treatment.
Here is an info sheet from the folks I buy it from http://www.southernag.com/docs/labels_msds/florel.pdf
I had people tell me that they wrap bulbs in thick newspaper and put them in the bottom of the fridge for force blooms. Not sure what kind they were talking about because that seems a whole lot of trouble for flowers of any kind . Mine amys always bloom in the spring. I must grow them in pots to keep the armadillos from eating them :(
Thanks! I’m loving all these replies.
To DaleTheGardener: I’m hoping to avoid chemicals and all the cautions they require... I’m a backyard grower inside a city. That could be an issue.
I guess I need to clarify that I’m looking for a technique or procedure.
Also, I’m curious about the variety of the white flowers with the fine red lines in your first and middle photos. I have a few of these but I don’t know the variety name.
I was told that they where called 'Fairy tale' I have had mine over 50 years
I had a rather strange guy selling amaryllis say that mine called him and said that they were planted too deep and too large of a pot. He said they like to be root bound. I saw online that the pot should only be 1-2 inches larger than the bulb.
For supplies you might need search Craigslist. I search my towns name daily to see new listings that are right in my neighborhood. You'd be surprised at the deals you can find if you bide your time.
I went to one of my favorite books 1001 MOST ASKED TEXAS GARDENING QUESTIONS by Neil Sperry. Amaryllis is a tropical type of bulb that is winter-hardy only in deep south. Best luck if you leave it in a pot and grow it all spring and summer. Around the first of September you can set the pot on its side, so the soil can dry out. This plant goes dormant and dies back to its bulb in its native home to get through dry periods. If you let it get dry 4 to 6 weeks, then repot it into fresh potting soil, it should bloom for you again in late fall or early winter. It won't work every time, but generally the plant will reflower. Give it bright light and moist soil.
Wonderful, wonderful replies!
To wren107 in Jacksonville: Fairy Tale is indeed similar but mine don’t have enough red.
Their photo of Sydney is closer but still not quite. Emaryllis tends to agree:
I kind of hope they are Old Mead Stripes but I can’t find any descriptions other than “red with a white stripe and white with a red stripe”. Dr Mead grew Amaryllis close to my location back in the 1880s thru 1920s but I doubt mine are old enough. Yours certainly are!
To tarziesgirl in DeLand: Too deep is certainly a problem. I have gotten more than a few bulbs when people offer theirs to me. “They used to bloom fine but they haven’t done much the last few years. You’re welcome to them.” Amaryllis have contractile roots. The roots pull the bulb deeper and deeper but don’t know when to stop. Amaryllis beds that decline in blooming generally just need to be lifted. I do that, reset the largest bulbs and then take a few loose offsets as payment. Next thing I hear is how wonderful they are doing.
All mine are pot grown and planted no deeper than “just off the shoulder”. Some are mid-belly deep and a few are barely hip deep. The ones in the photo in my original post do like to be crowded. They multiple so fast they will break the pots if I don’t transplant most every year.
Since we are both in west Volusia County, perhaps you know of a “pot exchange”. Friends supply me with every size and type of pot imaginable. Some I use but many are too small or too large. I’d love to find an exchange!
To Plant_Thang in Jacksonville: Don’t you just love good resource books! So: Sept 1 put the pot on its side and let it dry out. Wait 4 to 6 weeks, then repot with fresh soil, add light and water. I will try it!
To everyone else reading this: Please keep the suggestions coming for Re-blooming Florida Amaryllis for the Holidays. I have enough bulbs to test more than 1 method.
Thanks to everyone!
this might have been mentioned earlier (i forgot while looking at the wonderful pics!) but the University of Florida suggest digging in fall and allowing to dry then replant for late winter blooms. i don't know how late and i don't know how early to dig. i guess you can time it since the bulbs bloom about a month-month/half from planting.
The dormancy is when the bud for the bloom develops inside the bulb.
Vernalization is absolutely necessary for decidous trees and temperate climate plants,
including apples and peaches, tulips and daffodill bulbs.
Photoperiodism day light length causes some plants to bloom like poinsettias and fall blooming perennials.
I suspect that the amarylis species are tropical in origin, therefor the dormancy is linked to dry periods.
Good luck on trying to fool mother nature.
My recycled paint buckets make for a darn good hillbilly planter because we can grab the handle and move it in front of the window when it blooms. This one bloomed in March. Then we dead-head it and put it in the back corner to complete the growing season. Dormant bulbs are sold at $ clearance prices at walmart after the holidays.
those are gorgeous ApopkaJohn, good idea with the bucket.
i never have the luck of going to Wal-Mart or the HomeDepot and getting clearance bulbs. im telling you, the HomeDepot here really hates packing bulbs! in New York, i was in heaven, because there was a HD that would literally have bins/shelves of both packaged and loose bulbs for dozens of spring/fall planted flowers.
i would actually write to the HD to let them know they should advertise &sell more bulbs
I was just browsing Craigslist and found that a local nursery is closing and one of the things they mentioned was lots of pots. Here is a link http://daytona.craigslist.org/grd/3103629094.html Not sure if that's allowed or not if it gets removed you can D mail me and I'll send it to you that way.
I'm still looking for suggestions to get my amaryllis to bloom for the holidays.
I selected 3 healthy bulbs today to reside on my porch for 4 - 6 weeks - no water. We'll see how that goes...
I found this hope it helps
I love the enthusiasm and support. I too am an avid fan of Google and IFAS. And I have Veronica Read’s book.
Most every suggestion for re-blooming Amaryllis includes some form of cooling or chilling.
Specifically 55° is highly recommended.
*** CAUTION *** serious whining ahead.
This is Florida! I should be cooling my bulbs right now. Except overnight temperatures are still above 70°.
Some instructions say to place the bulbs in a cool, dry place like an attic or a basement. Hello!!!! This is FLORIDA! Attics are stifling hot and my house does not have a basement. No one in my neighbor has a basement. I truly do not know of any basements in my city of over 120,000 people.
Some people have recommended wine coolers or converting an old refrigerator from 38° to 55°. That could be interesting but at the last count I have over 2,000 bulbs. I can’t afford that many refrigerators and that much electricity.
~~ le sigh ~~ (rant over)
Back on May 17, Plant_Thang shared a reference from a Texas gardening book. The instructions were simple enough that I could follow them and required no special equipment.
So here’s an update.
On September 3, I put 3 large, healthy, potted bulbs on my back porch. They get defused light but no water. They remain in their pots.
Today (October 3), I updated my records.
ID = WB2R (has produced large, single generic red flowers in the past)
Size: diameter in line with leaves has increased slightly, opposite diameter has also increased.
Leaves: 3 of 6 leaves have declined, turned brown and been removed. Remaining leaves upright and healthy but have not grown in length.
ID = CG4 (verified large, single, white flowers, sold under the name Christmas Gift)
Size: diameter in line with leaves has decreased slightly, opposite diameter has increased slightly.
Leaves: 1 of 2 leaves has declined, turned brown and been removed. The remaining leaf is upright and healthy but has not grown in length.
ID = MY2 (has produced large, single, generic white flowers in the past)
Size: Both diameters have decreased slightly
Leaves: 1 of 3 leaves has declined, turned brown and been removed. The remaining leaves are declining and appear wilted.
That’s it at the moment. I’ll probably note when MY2 goes completely dormant and perhaps let it rest another week or so after that. It depends on how much diameter it has lost. The losses thus far are around 3% which doesn’t concern me at the moment.
I apologize for using use this Thread almost like a blog but I thought people might be interested...
WB2R and CG4 still have leaves. The bulb size and leaves are holding constant. They aren’t growing but they’re not dormant either.
MY2 has been dormant for over 3 weeks. The bulb size dropped slightly at first and then has been stable at about 3.3” diameter (10.35? circumference).
I trimmed the neck so it will be easier to spot new growth and then unpotted the bulb. There was a mixture of old, dead roots and plenty of healthy, fat, white roots. The Basal Plate is a wee bit thick but I’ve seen far worse.
I cleaned away all the old soil and dead tunic and then returned it to the same pot with fresh soil mix and a slow release fertilizer.
I am slowly, gently watering it with about ˝ cup at a time in a deep saucer. It will go outside back to regular sunshine.
Will let you know what happens.
Im sure hoping some of mine bloom. They might not do it right for Christmas, but its usually in Dec. or Jan.
Mother Nature has won Round One.
I have 2 scape tips in the greenhouse outside and none with the 3 test bulbs that are inside.
Our area has had “proper chill” nights regularly since Oct 20. I define proper chill nights as overnight lows of about 46 – 59° F.
30 of the last 48 nights fall into this range. There were also 9 nights even colder (below 46° F) during that time with a low of 37° F.
My greenhouse has fared better. 35 of the last 48 nights were “proper chill”. There were only 4 nights below that when the early cold surprised me before everything was operational in the green house. I heat the greenhouse only enough to avoid the damaging cold below the mid 40s. It is vented during the daytime warmth.
Last fall we didn’t have this type of cold nights until January of this year...
The first scape tip was noted on 12/5 on a 3.00” diameter generic orange rescue bulb. I didn’t report it here as I thought it an isolated exception.
The second scape tip was noted today (12/7). I have been cleaning and trimming the necks of bulbs that have dropped all their leaves and nicked a new leave and a scape tip. This bulb is Elvas # 3 and is 2.80” diameter at this time.
The test bulbs are inside and have not received the nighttime chill. The procedure has been as much light as possible but no water to force the bulb to go dormant. Resume watering after a period of dormancy.
Two of my inside test bulbs are dormant.
Bulb MY2 took almost 6 weeks to go dormant. I left it dormant for another 3 weeks. It has been watered the last 4 weeks. The bulb has held its size/mass but there are no indications of new growth.
Bulb CG4 took almost 11 weeks to go dormant. Then I mistakenly watered it when I watered MY2 so it was dry/dormant for only 2 more weeks. Its size has also held but there are no indications of new growth.
I also mistakenly watered bulb WB2R once. But it had never gone dormant. It dropped 4 leaves but the remaining 2 have not declined. It had been dry for over 12 weeks when I watered it. The leaf measurements have remained unchanged but the bulb measurements have changed. While the 2 dormant bulbs are still very round WB2R has gotten slightly fatter where scapes may originate.
Enough for now!
Cant wait to see the pictures. I hope you can post some for us to enjoy.
I hope you got some of this storm up in high springs, its one of the driest I can remember in a long time! Boy did we need it.
I now have 12 scape tips showing in the greenhouse.
The three test bulbs inside have changed little.
One is still dormant despite watering. One has come out of dormancy and has 4 new leaves. The last never went dormant because I accidentally watered it twice. Its leaves are definitely starting to grow again.
The two that are growing have become slightly oval in the correct direction that indicates buds might be swelling inside.
The test was light but no water until dormant. Then dormant for 2 or more weeks. Resume watering.
The test was too small but I didn’t want to risk too many bulbs. I should have left them dormant longer...
Perhaps next year I’ll try dry and dark with a longer dormant period.
2013 January 16 Wyckoff Update
The scapes are starting to show in force now. I have 28 bulbs in the greenhouse with 30 scape tips showing.
Two of the test bulbs inside also have scape tips. Both inside bulbs with scapes tips have “cousins” out in the greenhouse.
CG4 is inside and has a scape tip peeking out at the neck. There are 4 other large CG bulbs in the Greenhouse that are big enough to bloom but don’t have any scape tips showing yet.
WB2R is inside, never went dormant (due to errors in watering) and also has a tip at the neck. It has 2 cousins outside. Again the cousins are large enough to bloom but don’t have any tips showing.
So now the critical question is: When will the cousins bloom?
If the cousins show tips within a few days, then the “dry till dormant plus a couple of weeks” test is inconclusive.
If the cousins don’t show tips for several weeks, then it will appear that this year’s test shifted the bloom time.
That is going to be one pretty display when they finally bloom!
Very Late on getting on this thread, but read through the whole thing.
The key to getting Amaryllis to bloom when you want them to is forcing them in water! In order to do this, they must be dug out in the summer, given a rest period of about a month, then placed in water until winter. Bad thing about this method is, once forced, they will not produce flowers. once planted for a few years, if ever.
Amaryllis, unlike some other bulbs, do not require a cold period. What they do require for best bloom every year is, in the fall, take the bulbs out of the ground, cut the tops & roots off, store in bags or boxes until spring. If left in the ground to do what-ever they want, the leaves will take away some of the energy that is needed to make the new flowers in the spring.
I grew up, working with my father, when he had his nursery, & specialised in bulbs, & we did Amaryllis bulbs by the thousands. Every summer, plant the bulbs----every fall---dig them all out, cut the tops, cut the roots, & store them!!!! Only key to this one is, store them in a box or bag,away from sunlight. Heat or cold, doesn't make a difference. Grew up in Vero Beach, Fl., & we stored them in the heat of the winter in our garage.
You may leave them in the ground for one or two years, without digging them up, but after that, they will start to diminish in blooms as the bulbs need a rest period.
CG4 is blooming! I put CG4 on my porch in early Sept where it had sunshine but no water. The idea was to duplicate the “dry season” in its native country. It was fully dormant after about 10 weeks. I started watering it about 2 weeks later and also moved it inside to more even temperatures. A scape tip and leaves appeared mid-January. The flowers started opening about 5 days ago.
CG4 is a variety called Christmas Gift. It’s the 4th in a group of 6. The other 5 have been in my greenhouse. None of them have so much as a tip showing.
This is only 1 bulb so it doesn’t prove much. Some varieties bloom earlier than others. Sometimes an individual bulb blooms earlier than others of the same variety. It could be a fluke.
This IS a start however. I will continue along this line next year.
I dislike cutting the roots although the pros certainly do so.
I also dislike unpotting the bulbs. The bulbs dry out too much and lose too much mass. Maybe the boxes and bags make a difference. Maybe I’ll unpot a few and put them in bags. Then again some of my most reliable bloomers have been in the same pots for years...
I’m more comfortable with cutting the leaves to help the bulbs go dormant more quickly. I also like keeping them in the dark. Again the boxes and bags fit with this plan.
I need to be more careful about when and which bulbs I water. I’d forgotten that bulbs can be forced in water. I’ll not do that but I can be more generous with water and make sure there is good drainage.
I agree amaryllis do not require a cold period but there are people who promoted the idea of a COOL period around 55°. Nights were cooler in the greenhouse this fall but rarely went below 45°. There were a lot of nights in the mid 50s.
My first tip for this season (2013) appeared 12/05/12. Last season – with a warm winter – the first tip appeared during the last week of January 2012. This year we had a cool fall, buds are 2 months earlier. So the verdict is still out regarding a “cooling period” but it might be a factor...
WB2R is unchanged. It’s probably “confused” because of my watering mistakes. It never went dormant. My other WB bulbs are dormant in the greenhouse.
MY2 followed the same schedule as CG4. It also went fully dormant. It started growing the same time as CG4. It has more leaves and the leaves are longer and wider. Its diameter is now about about 3.05”. CG4 is under 3”. But there is no flower bud...
MY2 was supposed to be a variety called Santa Fe but it’s not. It’s similar to Intokazi but fades to pink. Hence its ID is Mystery # 2. In 2011 its tips appeared in late February. In early fall 2011 it was unpotted and kept in the dark for 2 months. Then it was repotted, watered and kept inside in a sunny window. The result was a decrease is size from 3.50” diameter to 2.95”. It did not bloom. It had recovered to 3.40” for the start of this season’s test.
I don’t know if there’ll be any more to add to this. Time will tell.
Very exciting. I would say you planned it all along like this, wanted them to be valentines blooms ;-). A bloom is a bloom and they are sure pretty at any time.
That's great news! Your photo also confirms the identity of the Christmas Gift I've had for over 15 years. It was in a mixture of about 30 untagged amaryllis seedlings given to me by a breeder. It's a pretty reliable bloomer, but in all that time it has only produced 3, maybe 4, bulbs. Here's a pic from last spring.
Agree on ID.
Sepals more rounded with a distinctive dimple at the tips, petals more pointed, slight ruffs along the edges here and there. Green throat with white anthers and stigma. I got my 6 in November 2011. Only 1 offset so far from all 6 bulbs.
I have grown Amaryllis outside for almost 50 years, we never cut them back and only dig them up when they get too crowded. We then plant them right back.
AND we all ways have a lot and lots of blooms. I already have a bud up on one of my new ones.
The only thing that sets them back in a lot of hard freezes or overly hot summers and not enough water.
My goal is to get them to bloom for the HOLIDAYS – Thanksgiving through Christmas.
That is when people wish to buy them. I have no trouble getting them to bloom when they (the bulbs) wish to bloom. I have 35 scapes in bloom right and 53 more coming along.
My annual tests are to convince the bulbs to bloom earlier and I think I’m gaining on it.
I have 6 “Christmas Gifts” bulbs that I acquired at the same time from the same source. I selected CG4 for this year’s test. The other 5 remained out in the greenhouse.
CG4 showed a scape tip on 1/15/13, bloomed on 2/9 and is now well past. The scape will collapse soon.
CG1 showed a scape tip on 2/19/13.
CG5 showed a scape tip on 2/21/13.
Since these are all the same variety, it appears I was able to shift the bloom time for CG4 about 1 month earlier.
The other 2 bulbs in this year’s test are ignoring the test.
WB2R showed a tip on 1/15/13 and there are no measurable changes. It is still just a tip.
MY2 still does not have a tip.
I do not no if you have seen these 2 links
Yes, I am familiar with those instructions. They are from and for North Dakota.
Note on Page 2 under How to Rebloom Amaryllis, the 4th paragraph.
It starts “In late summer before the frost” Summer? Frost? In Florida?
The first frost at my location after summer of 2012 was 29° on Feb 16, 2013!
Frost after the summer of 2011 was Jan 3, 2012.
A frost precedes cool nights so the bulbs are well chilled outside by late summer in North Dakota. But it doesn’t happen that way in Central Florida.
I did follow “discontinue watering, but give it full light” which I started on September 3.
“Keep the pot in a cool (50°- 60°) basement” Basement? Florida? I don’t have a basement. No one in my community does.
How am I going to do 50°- 60°? A refrigerator is too cold. It’s 38°. A wine cooler might work. But I have hundreds of bulbs... How many refrigerator size wine coolers would I need? And the cost of just 1 cooler would eliminate any thought of profit on sales.
I have tried dry and dark in my Hurricane Safe Room but that harmed more bulbs than not.
I’ll stop and apologize right now. Numerous people have shared similar directions with me. Everyone means well. This is my 4th year of testing. I’m tired and frustrated. I apologize for my attitude.
As soon as I see Summer and Frost in the same sentence and store in Basement, I know the directions are not for Florida. The other common suggestion for a “cool, dark” place is an Attic. I don’t know about other houses but my Florida attic is not cool in late August / early September or even in November/December.
I need to state the question more clearly.
Rebloom Amaryllis in mid-November through December in time for Holiday sales
Bulbs are grown naturally outside in Florida
Chemicals are not used.
Cooling to 50°- 60° is cost prohibitive and not an option.
Procedure can be applied to hundreds of bulbs at the same time.
I made some progress this year. CG4 bloomed about a month earlier than my other CG bulbs. It’s a start. Hopefully next year will be slightly better as I test a few more variables.
I’m still looking for Florida ideas. Eventually we will figure this out.
I was wondering, do not know if it is possible but could a cooling coil be taken out of a refrigerate and placed in a home made box. the box could be lined with insulating material. The box could be made any size or even a row of boxes.
Second idea. I know there are ways of cooling water for aquariums that house cool water fish. So maybe plastic tubes with cold water running through the boxes.