I’m not a resolution kinda gal. Perhaps a vow to initiate the dormant cycle on my growing collection of amaryllises in September instead of December is a good starting point. After all, they’re supposed to be holiday flowers. But I find I’m most in need of flower power in February when holiday magic seems a distant memory and Spring is Winter’s indefinite captive. That’s what I love about amaryllis. I decide when I want them to flower. I hold the magic wand. But all the abracadabra I can summon won’t change the fact that my pot-grown amaryllises are in need of a little attention.
I rescued a forgotten red lion amaryllis bulb from the top of my work bench a few years ago and potted it up in a cobalt blue pot. Unsure how it would perform, I placed it on the patio with the rest of my collection for the summer. By July, it was throwing up a solitary stalk, sans leaves, and a rather anemic but determined-to-live flower. Success!
By the following year, the pot had become crowded with bulblets attached to the mother plant. The same was happening to my other amaryllis bulbs. Despite an otherwise healthy mother plant, her flowers were smaller and less robust. Damn kids. Talk about sucking the life out of you. Time to ween the offspring.
Bringing Back the Mojo
Despite their affinity for tight quarters, things were a little too close for comfort. The roots were a tangled mess and the entire dried-out clump was molded together. If I ripped them apart, I’d damage the bulbs.
A 15-minute soak made quick work of the roots and I was able to ease the bulblets away from the mother bulb with a gentle tug.
Despite having to endure several months exposed and alone on my work bench, she managed to produced eight little bulblets. Her exact clones. Which means I have some to share with friends and a plethora of Red Lion blossoms to adorn my windowsills in the years to come. Although, it may be several Februarys before the littlest guys flower.
I planted the largest bulbs in a terracotta planter, necks and shoulders exposed.
The littlest ones were nestled into small plastic containers, labeled and given to my daughters’ plant-loving friends. One of them, 13-year-old Emily, said she’d been looking for something pretty for her windowsill. Mission accomplished. Outfitted with care instructions and the promise of beautiful red blossoms in a few years, she carried her amaryllis to the warmth of her mom’s waiting car and I was left with that warm and fuzzy feeling gardeners get when they share a piece of their heart. You know the feeling.
Hot Tip: After the holidays, the garden centers are full of discounted amaryllis bulbs. So that $30 bulb you were eyeing is now probably close to $15 or less. What are you waiting for?
Not sure how to force an amaryllis into bloom? Click here.
Do you have a favorite amaryllis? Do tell. Mine is Aphrodite (pictured above).