Amaryllis ‘Temptation’

Few blossoms are as spectacular as Amaryllis.  They aren’t winter hardy where I live so I probably shouldn’t be talking about Amaryllis here on my gardening blog, but I can’t resist this ‘Temptation’!

According to Wikipedia:  Hippeastrum (pronounced /ˌhɪpiːˈæstrəm/)[3] is a genus of about 90 species and 600+ hybrids and cultivars of bulbous plants in the family Amaryllidaceae, native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas from Argentina north to Mexico and the Caribbean. Some species are grown for their large showy flowers. These plants are popularly but erroneously known as Amaryllis, a monotypic African genus in the same family.

I may be erroneous, but I will probably continue to call mine an Amaryllis, because few would know what I was talking about if I called it Hippeastrum!

Exquisite Buds! Yeah, I know the window needs washing.

I bought my Temptation Amaryllis bulb five years ago if memory serves, one in a long line of Amaryllis bulb purchases.  Every other bulb I have tossed out after a couple of years because after one glorious season of bloom, I have failed in coaxing them to bloom again.

It’s a little embarrassing to admit, after all, I’m supposedly the expert.  I know what needs doing to encourage repeat blooming, and have proffered advice to numerous customers about how they can bring their Amaryllis back into bloom in subsequent years, yet I just couldn’t manage to do it!

Like all bulbous plants, Amaryllis store the energy for blooming during their growing season, then require a rest before producing their magnificent flowers.  That’s why the initial bloom is easy, the producers of the bulb know how to grow Amaryllis, and generally only sell those that are mature enough and ready to blossom.

The key to coaxing your Amaryllis to bloom again is threefold:

1.      A nice long growth period after blooming; I usually keep the foliage going until late summer or into autumn.  As soon as the weather is warm enough for cold-sensitive annuals I put my Amaryllis outside in a shady spot and leave them there til frost threatens.

2.      Regular fertilizer application during the growth period, a liquid fertilizer every two or three weeks.  I use a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer while the bulbs are indoors, then they get whatever I’m using once they get outside.  This usually means a rather haphazard program involving fish fertilizer, liquid kelp, and occasionally liquid bone meal.

3.      A rest!  I begin to reduce watering in late summer (okay, it’s actually that I get sick and tired of all that watering and it’s hot and dry so stuff tends to dry out more often at that time of year), which will trigger dormancy in the bulb.  At least it’s supposed to but my Amaryllis always resist dormancy and I often resort to hacking off the leaves and chucking the pot into the garage at some point in late September.

Rather than trying to produce flowers for Christmas, I like to plan for Amaryllis flowers in January or February, when I really need a shot of colour.  So I don’t “wake them up” until sometime in late December or later if I forget!  Eventually I bring the pots into my home from the chilly, unheated garage and soon they awaken and begin to grow.

Mother and Daughter

After years of disappointment, this particular variety of Amaryllis has re-bloomed for me each year since I bought it.  I’m not really sure if ‘Temptation’ is a particularly floriferous variety or if I’m getting better at doing what I’m supposed to!

My original bulb even produced a “pup”, a young offset which I removed from the mother plant and after only one year of vegetative growth, the baby bloomed this season.  I have had a lovely display of Amaryllis flowers this year, even though they are later than usual.  Because I was away at Christmastime, the bulbs weren’t brought into the house until early January, and bloomed at the end of March.

Amaryllis 'Temptation'

I can see more pups at the base of both bulbs, so I’m hoping to separate and grow those on; once I’ve got them to blooming size they will make fine gifts for friends and family.

About these ads

About hortophile

I am a very opinionated, slightly obsessed gardener with decades of experience in the retail nursery industry. A lucky resident of the "Wet Coast" of British Columbia I tread a muddy path between practicality and beauty, with my veggie patch, herb garden and fruits vying for position with the beautiful trees, shrubs and flowers that I can't resist. DON'T ask me to choose between them! I believe in environmental responsibility and common sense.
This entry was posted in My Favourite Plants and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Amaryllis ‘Temptation’

  1. Just gorgeous. I don’t have a place to store the bulbs so have always tossed mine (living in an apartment), but wanted to keep them. I was told by someone (who?!) that if you keep them the bulbs continue to grow and get bigger as they age, and the flowers also get bigger, so it seems like a good idea to hold onto them! How neat that you have pups — I didn’t realize that was a side benefit. Your friends are going to be happy when they receive these!

    I love Amaryllis. Used to sing in a Madrigal group when I was younger and we sang a pretty little madrigal tune called “Though Amaryllis Dance in Green” that was catchy, if you like that sort of thing! I love them around Christmas but agree it’s nice to have shot of color in Feb./March when things are dreary. Congrats on figuring out how to make yours rebloom. This is another blog entry I’m going to remember for when I have my own place and want to try keeping Amaryliss bulbs and getting them to rebloom. Perhaps with your excellent instructions I won’t have to throw them out!

  2. I love Amaryllis but have never attempted to grow one.

    I am still working on the carrots :)

  3. Jodi Harding says:

    please sis, can I have a pup?

  4. Bonny says:

    This is the first year that I’ve kept Amaryllis. I received 2 bulbs as a birthday gift last year, and started one of them in November. I had a beautiful show of color at New Years, and then as the stalk was dying off, I got a second stalk off of the bulb! It lasted until late March. Following the instructions I got from the local greenhouse, I clipped back all the leaves (I only cut off about 1/2″) and pulled it from the vase and left it to dry out. I then started the second bulb (different Variety – Naughty Girl) and it has really big beautiful blooms. Its STILL flowering now, and has been for almost a month.

    I’m wondering how to get them to rebloom, as I’ve had them in a vase, with just the roots touching the water? Could I plant them at this point, or should I start over with a couple of new bulbs? I really liked being able to only have one break dormancy at a time, so I’ve had blooms since New Years, which has helped with the yucky spring we are having…

    • hortophile says:

      I don’t know if the 1st bulb would have had enough time in the growth phase to put away sufficient energy to bloom again. If I were you I’d pot it up and try to get it growing some foliage over the summer months. With the 2nd one don’t cut off any leaf or dry it out, pot it up when the bloom is done – carefully, try not to damage the roots, and keep that one going for the summer too. I always grow mine in good quality potting soil, saves having to repot partway through the season, and the soil provides needed nutrients.

  5. june says:

    Amaryllis/hippeastrum grow outside in my garden in the ground year round in full sum to fairly deep shade in the sandy soils of Florida blooming each spring for decades without watering or fertilizing for 10 or more years. The pot adapted techniques you have been taught and tried to use with generally moderate to poor results are not based on the basic natural annual growth cycle and needs of the commercial hybrids and most species. You can contact E. William Warren, founder of the Amaryllis Study Group for easy instructions. Send your city, state to the email amstgrp@yahoo.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s