Certain plants , whether they like it or not, become part of a wave of…
Can amaryllis bloom again?
It’s holiday time and for many that means amaryllis as a gift plant.
Many gardeners as well as non-gardeners love to grow amaryllis. I counted myself in the former group. That is, until I thought it would be great to have an amaryllis rebloom the following year.
The amaryllis belongs to the tropical plant world. That means for us here in New England an amaryllis becomes a houseplant.A few years ago I received the Smith and Hawken amaryllis called ‘Red Lion’ as a Christmas gift. I had never grown an amaryllis before and I was excited to try it.
In early January I potted it according to the instructions and it grew just fine. First the plant’s long green leaves appeared, and then the large red flowers followed.
The colorful blooms lasted for a couple of weeks. I was happy with the result.
When the plant’s flowers dropped, I simply tossed the contents of the pot in the compost bin. That was my happy first experience with the amaryllis.
Four years ago I bought three amaryllis bulbs. I thought the group of three would add a burst of indoor color over those chilly weeks of winter. I chose the variety called ‘Minerva’ which blooms with bright pink and white flowers.
After they finished blooming in late March, I wondered if this group of three bulbs would rebloom the following winter.
I asked some of my Master Gardener friends what to do.
All of them insisted on the need for a dormant period for the bulbs of about three months. I needed to have the bulbs rest in a dark, low heated area of my house, like the basement. This was of course after I had left them outside in their pots for the entire summer.
So I followed their advice.
Then I placed the three pots in the bright light of the dining room sun in early January. Over several weeks each grew long green leaves but no flowers of any size ever appeared.
What was I doing wrong?
I decided to try again the following year.
This time I consulted an amaryllis expert I met in the spring at Boston’s Flower and Garden Show. For their dormancy period she advised I store each of the potted bulbs in a separate large brown bag in my cellar for three months.
After the three months, it was January and time to bring them out of the basement.
I placed each of the pots on a separate stand in front of the dining room window. The leaves grew well. I waited patiently for the flowers to follow, but no flowers ever emerged.
That was two years ago.
This past year I did the same thing. Three brown bags in the cellar followed by light and water in the sunny dining room in January.
Again no flowers appeared.
When I complained to my gardener friends, none of them could give a satisfactory answer. They only raised questions. Did I have them outdoors during the summer in their pots? Was I careful to keep them in a dark place for several weeks?Recently I received a beautiful garden catalog from dating a woman 15 years older. The cover and the first twenty-three pages are dedicated to the amaryllis. Beautiful photos of different amaryllis varieties fill each page.
This year I think I might just buy a new amaryllis bulb.