Do Amaryllis leaves need support?

Edmond, OK(Zone 7a)

This is probably a general question, but the search function pops up as being disabled right now. I have my first Amaryllis, one of which is Apple Blossom. It has quickly shot up leaves that are about 12" tall and keep falling over. I rotate it twice a day and they will fall over on both sides - do they need support and can I let them fall? I know once the bulb comes out I will stake it but wasn't sure on the leaves. Thanks!!

Tampa, FL(Zone 10a)

Leaves that get too long to hold themselves up are not 'neat', but, they present no problem to the health of the plant.

The cause is usually low light levels or too much water (or fertilizer). Low light levels are a fact of winter and even grow lights are probably not going to help.

I have heard that it is OK to let the plants get a little dry in the short days of winter, but, I don't really know since we grow our Hippies in the ground.

Here are some I saw growing on the other side of town>

Thumbnail by DaleTheGardener
Shelburne Falls, MA(Zone 5a)

OMG, Dale, that is an amazing clump!

Solingen, Germany(Zone 7a)

"Appleblossom" is one of those Gardener's Amaryllis which do absolutely need a support in order to prevent bending of its strap-like leaves which can reach a length of 1 m and more on mature bulbs.
"Orange Sovereign" is an example for those cultivars where a support can be omitted. Its leaves are more boat shaped and strongerly keeled and thus, they support themselves.
Eventually the actual need for a support depends on the light immision.
Window glasses produced from conventional glass transmit a substantial part of the UVA and still an certain part of the UVB, contrary to popular belief.
This leads to the paradox observation - my personal experience at least - THAT amaryllis at the west windowsill on a high (6th) floor with intense sunlight in the early evening produce broader and harder leaves as compared to those plants which are growing under intense artificial lights (200 Watts installed power per m2 meaning approx. 40 Watts PAR per m2) since this light is emitted from German metal halide HP discharge lamps (HQI Osram) equipped with glass bulbs which do not transmit UV due to special additives in the glass material.
The leaf shape is in my opinion a problem for the gardener because those generally lenghty leaves make them plants unattractive and he/she might become likely to neglect the plant or even discard it...
Regrettably, during the history of breeding no emphasize has been made to improve the situation.
In my own collection, I have but ONE cultivar which has an attractive, compact bush of stable, broad leaves. This is my best specimen out of H.papilio x (Donau x Ambiance). But, in the early stage when I boosted the respective seedling under the above mentioned MH lamps then its leaves would be lenghty and likely to bend and not reveal anything of the attractive shape I observe now. (This strong dependence is derived out of "Donau").

Mobile, AL

I never really thought about whether the leaves needed support or not. Mine are outside for most of the year, so I just let them do what they wish to do.

However, I did notice that the Misty bulbs that I have in the greenhouse had the most beautiful leaves, not so long that they bent over. Misty is one of my all time favorites. I'm not sure why, but I decided to remove the leaves this winter. Some of them were starting to look old and aged, and aged seems to attract pests, so I severed them.

Most of my bulbs are still outside, in pots. They are still dormant except for the older seedlings. They went dormant during the first frost/freeze and then sprouted again. Stangely, the last frost/freeze of 28 degrees did not seem to harm the new growth.

I am in awe! Nature does some strange things, doesn't it?


Edmond, OK(Zone 7a)

I will post some pictures of it tomorrow - it has actually grown a lot! The leaves are about 23-25" long and have fanned out. After I put them in my west window they have strengthened and no longer need support. Only one of them did break. haweha, thanks for the info, you are right they seem to like the west side. Will post pics later to show. Still no bloom though.

Ewing, VA

The most compact growing leaves in the collection right now for me is Striped Panther. I should have taken picture of them when they were fully leafed out last summer. My Striped Panthers had this wide blue-ish green leaves, compact well behaved "fan-like" growth. They were very pretty plants even without flowers.

Papilio is quite good at maintaining it's leaf strength (no staking needed) even in inadequate light. It's leaves may be narrow but they are very strong.

Sometimes some varieties would drop/bend their leaves with the slightest instance of inadequate watering. Some do hold on. As Haweha explained, besides considering the variety, the most important thing is the adequacy of light the variety needs.

Haweha...Geezzz I am so not used to calling you this. I like "Sir Hans" a lot! What lighting would you recommend for me to use for the mature Papilios being grown indoors? I BADLY need advice for this. They are all awake and actively growing now with inadequate lighting.

Solingen, Germany(Zone 7a)

The "core-piece" of my collection is, still, since 2 y, a line of one meter of windowsill with four oversized containers (as regarded for "windowsill dimensions), three cubic of 11 Liters and one rounded pot of 8 Liters. Each of these contains 3-4 mature bulbs of H.papilio and a bigger number of offsets. That means a lot of leaves, and the window glass ( 1 m x 1 m) is or was completely covered with leaves, and I have installed one 400 W metal halide lamp for them. Additionally, the pots receive heat rom the central heating body below. The water consumption is respectable (approx. 0.3 Liters per pot and per day) and, considering the height of those containers, I water them on a daily basis (I water shallower containers every second day). I believe that it was for these 4 means I mentioned (big pots / good light / high substrate temperature / regular watering), that I had to notice now that, besides the two scapes which are just in bloom there are at least further 8 scapes coming.
Meanwhile I concluded, from my further experiences with this particular "crop" that a high level of subtrate temperature (20 to 25C) in the late autumn (when the new leaf bush is developing) is particularly crucial in order to obtain a high yield of scapes.
But, higher temperatures have little value for itself since they speed up the growth and the leaves might become lenghty due to insufficient light supply.
The coarse demand for light supply for an area of 1 m2 covered with longer leaves is 200 Watts installed power of high pressure halides, high pressure sodium or (low pressure) modern 3-band fluorescents . That means, that if you install ONE fluorescent tube of 40 Watts to illuminate 1 m2, for example, then this is better than nothing, and it MIGHT be still sufficient for seedlings with short leaves, but it is not at all adquate for a m2 of a "plantage" of adult plants.

This message was edited Dec 24, 2008 9:02 PM

Ewing, VA

Thank you so much for that information Haweha. I have been searching for these for quite a while now. ONLY through a REAL Papilio grower can you get such statistics. Your unselfish sharing of your knowledge will not be wasted.

Frohe Weihnachten Euch allen! (Am I typing this right?

Merry Christmas to you all!

Shelburne Falls, MA(Zone 5a)

Wonderful info! I have saved it!

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