Saturday, June 21, 2008

Christmas in June?

We associate Amaryllis - actually Hippeastrum - with Christmas because they are so easily forced to flower at that time. Not ones to follow tradition we overwintered our bulbs in the garage (the temps were always above freezing) and planted them in pots as soon as the weather seemed to be reliably above freezing. The bulbs are flowering now and are a nice way to add color to a bare spot by just moving pots here and there.

I think following a more natural cycle gives the plants more time to store nutrients for their hibernation. We did this last year and the bulbs are so much larger than when we first bought them, even if they were advertised as premium size bulbs.


Blogger Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

Yours are very beautiful. If I recieve any for Christmas, after they bloom I plant them outside in the perrenial boarder. They bloom in August.

7:28 PM  
Blogger Abby said...

I had no idea that these could grow outside. What an invention to treat them like this. They must look startling in a herbaceous border or peeping through a green shrub.

I am into planning combinations at the moment, scheming for next year. I wonder where one of these nice red ones would fit ;-)

6:31 AM  
Blogger Entangled said...

This spring, I noticed that Brent & Becky's Bulb catalog featured amaryllis (hippeastrum) as an outdoor early-summer blooming plant. They claim that some are hardy to zone 7 if planted deep and mulched. But the marketeers have done a great job - I now associate these plants so strongly with wintertime it's hard to think of them as summer flowers.

7:00 AM  
Anonymous Jan said...

Where I live, everyone plants amaryllis in the ground, and they bloom in early spring. These are some of my favorite flowers, and I am always a little sad when they stop blooming. Your pictures show some very pretty ones and makes me wish mine were still blooming.

Always Growing

2:08 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Aunt Debbie / Kurts's Mom,
Thank you. Do the two blooms per year deplete the bulbs? Do you dig up the bulbs and store them when the leaves wilt?


Hi Abby,
We decided to give them a more normal life cycle than forcing the flowers in winter. If I remember correctly they are a Mexican or Central American native so I thought they would bloom in spring or early summer like most plants and indeed as soon as the weather is warm enough the plant sends up it's flower spike. I don't actually know if it's the warmth or water that's the trigger.

Good luck in placing the flowers in your garden. ;)


Hi Entangled,
Zone 7? Wow I could almost plant them next to the camellias in my micro clime zone 6-7. I knew they were fairly hardy because they did fine in our unheated attached garage. The thermometer read 35 on the coldest days and the bulbs were kept near the doors but they all managed to survive. We also had some callas and they also overwintered nicely in the cold garage.

Isn't it hard to break old habits in thinking? They do look a bit strange blooming in summer!


Hi Jan,
Oh, that's very interesting that you plant them directly in the ground. Do they then keep blooming year after year? We plant them in pots because it's easier to dig up to prepare for drying than if we planted them in the ground. We normally plant calla lilies in the ground but it was a chore to dig them out again in the fall so we planted those in pots too this spring - something you don't have to do. Thanks for your interesting comment.

5:12 PM  
Blogger bobbie said...

These are so very beautiful. It never occurred to me before, but from now on I will plant mine in the garden. Thanks.

6:02 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Bobbie,
Thank you. Just remember to dig them up in the fall if you want to keep them for the following year. Thanks for visiting.

3:37 AM  
Blogger kate smudges said...

I like the idea of amaryllis blooming in the garden in June. It's like a second - or would that be a first - Christmas?

8:20 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Kate,
The flowers in June are a nice transition from the end of the perennials to the beginning of the summer lilies and annuals. Two Xmases would be good, the more presents the better eh?! ;)

3:44 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

I see you like the doubles. I have on Nymph that is double for me, though I have 8 in all. Storing them is a good idea. I usually will repot them in the fall and force them into a dormant season. They will grow leaves after about a month but not flower until Valentine's day. When the weather is warmer, I do put mine outside for the summer as well. Sometimes they will bloom again, but mostly they grow babies during this time. When the babies are about 2 years old, they will separate from the mother plant and I will start them in pots in the fall when I change the soil.

I think I might try your idea and store them over the winter with my begonias and cannas. A longer dormant season might be better.

5:53 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Julie,
We also have Papillo but it always seems to bloom at a different time than the others even if they are planted at the same time. The doubles are nice but my favorite is a small single white one called Jewel. It's not pictured - I wonder what happened to it - we had 2 or three of those.

I don't know how Hippeastrum grows in it's native lands or how many times it flowers during the year so I don't know if a longer dormant period will produce a better flower. Would be interesting to look up when/if I have some time. Thanks for your informative comment.

8:46 AM  

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