Monday, 2 February 2009

Adieu, sweet Amaryllis

For a couple of weeks this beauty has been gracing our sitting room. It catches the eye every time you enter the room, so huge and splendid is it. Although it's nearly over now, this is the fourth time this hippeastrum has flowered in the couple of years I've had it, and I think it deserves some loving care and attention during next summer, so I shall be feeding it assiduously, along with the two new bulbs which haven't yet started into growth. When they do start, they grow so fast you can practically watch it happening – there will be a perceptible increase in the length of the flower spike at the end of a good, sunny day, and then the bloom emerges, luscious and velvet-y, the richest colour imaginable. Next year I have promised myself one of the newer varieties, if I can find it – somewhere I am sure I've seen a deep plum coloured flower – and one of the multi-stemmed ones. You can be sure I'll post pictures if I'm successful.


Nan said...

Could you tell me more about care during the 'off season?' Do you plant the bulbs outdoors for the summer? My motherinlaw often gives us one for Christmas but I've never tried saving it to bloom again.

GeraniumCat said...

My 'care' is mostly neglect: if it's warm enough when they flower I put them in the greenhouse, otherwise just in a light place out of the way, and water them until they start to die off I(if I remember a little liquid feed they get that too). Then I just forget about them until I start to see signs of shoots, when I bring them into a warm room and let them get on with it. I think that you are not supposed to feed them when the flower spike is developing because that will encourage them to grow leaves. I have lost a couple in cold weather - I fund the multi-headed more delicately flowered ones seem to be fussier. I should think planting them outdoors would work pretty well (it's not really warm enough here), but the bulb needs to go back into a small-ish pot when you repot it, they like to be cramped.