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1.12.07

How To Pot An Amaryllis

How To Pot An Amaryllis(potted Amaryllis bulb)
I purchased an Amaryllis kit at full price instead of waiting until the day after Christmas to buy them when Amaryllis bulbs are discounted 50%-75% off. It feels strange paying full price for an Amaryllis bulb and the cashier practically had to wrestle the money from my hand but in the end I justified the purchase because it would make a blog entry.



The first thing I do when I purchase an Amaryllis bulb kit is toss aside the plastic pot and "soil" that comes with it. Those plastic pots that come in the kit are usually very flimsy and don't have any drainage holes so they get put aside for later use. What passes for "soil" in the Amaryllis bulb kits is usually a disk of coco coir that looks more like a coaster for your coffee table.

Why I don't use the "soil" and pot from the kit.

Plastic pots have their place in the indoor garden but housing an Amaryllis bulb is not one of them. The pots are so lightweight that when your Amaryllis produces a flower scape and leaves it will topple over and you'll spend most of your day picking up the Amaryllis or finding ways to weigh it down. Avoid the hassle and just use a heavy pot; terracotta, ceramic or metallic- it doesn't matter as long as it has drainage holes and is heavy. If you have no other choice and can only use the plastic pot punch several good sized holes in the bottom of the pot with a screw driver (or something similar) for drainage. A good sized pot for an Amaryllis is 7 inches deep and two inches wider than the bulb you're planting.

The coir disk that comes with the pot is a fantastic potting medium for something like a terrarium but it isn't suited for Amaryllids. It takes a good 45 minutes to an hour to become rehydrated sitting in water. If it dries out again with a bulb growing in it you're bound to over water your Amaryllis bulb trying to get the "soil" rehydrated. Then there is the potential of creating a breeding ground for white flies and gnats who will make themselves at home in that "soil." Avoid these problems and use your favorite houseplant soil instead.

Once you've chosen the right pot (with drainage holes) and the right soil for your bulb the next step is to pot it. Fill half of the pot with the potting soil and position your bulb in the center of the pot and then fill the soil up to the "shoulders" of the bulb. When you've finished the top 1/2 to 2/3 of the bulb should be exposed above the soil line and there should be about one inch from the top of the soil line to the rim of the pot.

1/2... 2/3...one inch...huh?

I know, I know. I'm not good with numbers either so hopefully the image above makes a good visual aid. See how the whole bulb is not submerged in soil? Notice how the soil in the potted Amaryllis above doesn't go to the top of the pot? The reason the bulbs are planted so "high" in the pot is so to avoid watering into the neck of the bulb and rotting it and the higher the bulb is in a pot the more room there is below for the roots. That's my main problem with this Amaryllis vase I posted about before, there isn't enough room in the "vase" for the large roots the bulb will eventually produce. If the image doesn't show up in that link try this link to the photo in my web album. The reason for the extra inch of space between the soil level and top of the pot is because the soil will eventually settle after I water it and so I can top dress it with pebbles or stones and lessen the chances that those annoying little flies will find a home in the soil.

After you've potted your Amaryllis bulb give it a good drink of lukewarm water and set the pot in a warm and bright window. Water sparingly for the next few weeks and only as needed as the bulb works on producing roots, the flower scape and leaves. The bulb in the picture above already has a scape (flower stalk) trying to emerge, your bulb may produce leaves first but that doesn't mean there is anything wrong with your bulb. Try not to move your bulb during the first few weeks until it has grown enough roots to anchor itself into the soil.

I've set up a new blog at www.AmaryllisBulbs.org that will be devoted to my Amaryllids. I think Amaryllids have gone past the "fad" stage for me and it is time to delve deeper and experiment with propagation techniques and hybridizing now that I have a few bulbs in my collection. If you're curious I am using this very same blogging platform for that blog just with a custom domain and if anyone is interested in turning their garden blog into a dot com, net, org...I'd be more than happy to make an entry detailing my experiences and thoughts on going through the process with Blogger.

Here's a video I made showing you how to pot an Amaryllis Bulb.



Here's a video showing you how to pollinate an Amaryllis flower and what the seeds look like.



13 comments:

  1. Hi Mr. Brown Thumb... I posted about amaryllis this morning, too, and included a link here to get your excellent instructions!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

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  2. Great info. I'll use it after I get my after Christmas bargains. I never thought to repot, but now I think I'll put several in one pot for a nice display.
    Aiyana

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  3. Yes, I'd be very ionterested in knowing how /why you did it.

    Have a question about amaryllis too ... I bough two a couple of years back and hadsome great blooms. but couldn't get them to rest and had nothing but leaves last year. This year I cut off the leaves, but on one they've grown back. I also separeted off a new small bulb which is now growing separately. Will I get them to bloom again and how long will it take for the "baby" to mature?

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  4. Cool new blog about ammarylids. But no way to leave comments? What's up with that? I was going to ask if you are going to branch out into other relatives in the family. There are soooo many members of the family that are cool. Some of my faves are Haemanthus Rhodophiala and Zephyranthes. They are all pretty easy to grow out here in our Medit. climate, and are more or less gopher resistant as bonus! But Hippeastrums are cool too. I once had a sizeable collection and was branching out into the species forms, before this @#$*#@$ house took over my life. I'll have to start over when we settle down next year.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Mr Brown Thumb,
    Love the idea of buying the bulb at full price so you could do a post. What a cracking post though ,great information.The thing is do I wait or get one now!!!!

    Cheers Mark

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  6. Thanks for the potting up tips for the amarylis. I haven't got mine yet ... maybe I'm like you and wait for the bargains.
    It is a snowy GTS in my part of the world.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Carol,

    I was just on your blog and commented on the "tidy" I'm going to have to make one for myself. Thanks again for the link.

    Aiyana,

    I'm going to put most of mine into a larger pot I bought at the end of the season. They've grown such large roots that they've started to grow out of the pot and soil they were in last year. I'm hoping the larger pot will prevent any bulb shrinking.

    Sue swift,

    Thanks for the questions. I'm going to take this opportunity to answer you in depth in two different entries so I don't get too wordy in the comment section.

    Tony!!

    How have you been? About two posts back there is a picture of an M. plumosa. You gave me that cacti last year in the box of plants. I've been meaning to email you a pic of flowers.

    I'll turn the comments on probably today. I disabled them while I was working on adding posts. No sense on having comments available when there was nothing to comment on but they'll be turned on.

    I've been wanting to branch out in the family and I've managed to get some seeds produced from a Nerine. I haven't been able to find a Haemanthus locally since I learned about them. They've been on my wish list for two years now.

    You need to finish the house so you can also start your plant blog ;0)

    Hi Mark and Crafty,
    Hope you both are able to find some bargains and are having a good GTS.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous4:32 PM

    Thank you for the good information.
    I feel the same about paying full price for bulbs.
    I'm going to say I'm thrifty but my friends say I'm cheap.

    I guess since I don't have a blogger account I can only leave a comment as anonymous.

    Chigiy at http://www.gardenersanonymous.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great information, I used to try to keep amaryllis from year to year, I have to admit I have given up on that and throw them out each year after the bloom. Wasteful I know.

    I have one "Christmas cactus" that has been in bloom all summer. My old fashioned one that has been around forever is covered with buds right now.

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  10. I don't seem to be successful at keeping the same amaryllis bulbs healthy and blooming for more than a couple of years in a row. This (first year hold-over) summer's bulb got HUGE outside and now I'm letting it rest. Hopefully it'll begin growing before too long...

    Great information as always!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Great info, I saw a large grouping of white amaryllis that was really wonderful, the owner claimed he had gotten new starts (mini bulbs?) off of the old one. My amaryllis have never done that, any ideas???

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  12. I bought my amaryllis today and wanted to refer to your post before beginning the process (thanks to Carol for the information on your post). I don't recall ever forcing any bulbs inside and know for certain that I've never had an amaryllis before. I'm looking forward to the gorgeous blooms in a few weeks.

    ReplyDelete

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