bulb shrinkage while dormant?

Chicago, IL

Hi -

I am getting some more bulbs out of dormancy in the basement, and a couple of them seem to have shrunk! Did I leave them too long, and should I have given them a little water or something? I'll see how they do, but it might be a foliage-only year...too bad, since one of them is my Pink Floyd! Has anyone else had this happen?


Bessemer City, NC(Zone 7b)

Hey Scuba~

It is normal for bulbs to lose a certain amount of moisture to the air while in storage. If the air is very dry and/or the temperature on the warm side of cool, they might shrink more than under other circumastances. Some of the shrinkage can be due to the nutrient stores in the older, outer scales having been transferred to developing scape deep with in the bulb. That too is normal and no cause for alarm. Your bulb should take that all in stride and gain it all back and more during the coming season.

I store all my potted bulbs (ones I had last season) totally dry since they have lost all their foliage. They are also stored so cool without any air circulation at all, that too much moisture can cause rot to start on the roots, so I err on the dry side. If they were green, I'd water some, lightly, every 10-14 days, as long as the temperature doesn't go below, say 45F.)

When I check the roots of a potted bulb at the start of a new season, I see some dead roots in the medium. Those are likely lost naturally, possibly during the growing season, or naturally dropped from the basal plate. The remaining roots seem to be in fine shape, not fully plump as in the growing season, but not shriveled beyond what seems normal under the circumstance.

Some people do water a dormant bulb just a "tad" every now and then, but I just don't. I know that's what garden writers say--to keep the roots from drying too much--but I'm just leery of it. I hope that someone who does water a dormant bulb will share their experience.

All that I've just said goes for the large-flowered types and some of the smaller-flowered ones, but there are some I would *never* water if they were dormant. Pink Floyd, Chico, and any close hybrids of H. cybister go totally dry here, and I may not even water them for weeks to months after flowering. Same for certain other species and primary hybrids of them. I think Pink Floyd can safely be watered as the scapes appear.

Again--I hope someone who waters during dormancy will address your question.


Chicago, IL

Great - thanks! Never a dull moment with these bulbs... :)

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Amaryllus and hipps. seem to be my throw away bulbs. I will usually get a few around the holidays, but they never seem to do anything the second time around and I have stored them dry.

At one time I tried chilling them, because the natural bloom cycle is different than the holiday bulbs and failed miserably at that too!

I am wondering if storing them in the pot and just letting them dry out would work. Im thinking keep them cool, but let them dry in the pot...I did that with easter lilys once and it worked fine, bloomed the second season, but fizzled the 3rd.

I cant do the Amaryllus or hipps in the garden.. I flood and am in the wrong zone.

Central, VA(Zone 7b)

I have had success in getting reblooms in pots for 3 years, and believe I had some that went longer in FL. After they bloomed I put them out in their pots when the weather warmed enough. I brought them in when the nights started to get cold in fall. Then they needed to rest so they didn't bloom at Christmas, but in Feb or Mar. They bloomed a little earlier than the ones planted in the ground. Many people seem to lose interest in amaryllis after Christmas (like pointsettias) and throw them out and buy new bulbs the next year. When we moved from FL, I had to leave everything behind, so my oldest bulbs have bloomed twice and I hope will bloom for the third time in spring. They look healthy in their pots. This year I was in the N'acho usual amaryllis coop, so I have three new large bulbs I hope will bloom for Christmas. Pam

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Well, arent they more of a native to Florida? They certainly are not here in the Midwest. About the only thing close to an amaryllus I can get growing in the garden is the reserection lilies (some people call them naked ladies..) I know the ams and the hipps have actaully a different blooming cycle than Christmas. So the bilbs you get now have been chilled to alter that to make them force at Christmas

I dont lose interest n them, they just do not do well for me. I try though every year just about witt the same disasterous results. Saw a gorgeous bulbs at one of the high end mail orders for around $45...ima thinking.. Self, that money will spend elsewhere on something that will survive annually and get a cheap $5 at the box store to sooth my fetish on the amaryllus. So I splurge on a few paperwhites then too. Least the papers go into the garden and come again like old faithfull!

I have tried babying poinsettas too. Thats another night mare! Abut the longest I got them to grow was from December to almost summer.. they lost their leaves and the stems turned black. I tried the daylight thing, everything that was suggeted and yep, another throw away. Least I get satisfaction knowing though the money is well spend on them as a donation. I will not get them at any nursery since I get to see the money well spent through getting them through the church, not saying the nursery does not deserve it though too, but its a Holiday thing. Its kind of hard to take a native from Mexico and provide it the same invironment up in yankee country! I do not have the capability for that kind of climate control.

Holland, OH(Zone 5b)

I don't force dormancy on mine. They summer outside. I bring them in when night temps approach 40. They usually lose all their "outdoor" leaves immediately but begin simutaneously putting out new leaves. They sit in a south window. I have scapes coming up right now. They also will often bloom twice a year for me. The bulb putting out scapes now ( Rozzeta) also bloomed this summer outside. I report every other year. Fertilize annually with a 9 month slow release so they aren't over fertilized. They are tougher plants then most people think.

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Found a $5 amaryluss at WallyWorld.. it was tempting.. they came in 3 colors to pick from.. I got the Paperwhites instead. Least I will have something out of them other than an empty pot later. Maybe on the 50% slae I will break down.. LOL!

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