Last year’s Amaryllis bulbs provided a wonderful lesson on patience. It took approximately six months for the bulbs to flower after they were brought inside last September.
The Amaryllis bulbs that were saved from last year appeared to grow differently compared to the newly purchased bulbs. The new bulbs started growing a flower stalk within two weeks after they were planted. The saved bulbs started to grow only leaves about a month after they were planted. I kept cutting the leaves back on the saved bulbs to help focus the energy on flower production.
The picture below shows me pointing to a flower bud. The flower bud is thicker than the leaves and usually appears on the side of the bulb.
Tips on how to get an Amaryllis bulb to flower again after it has been brought inside in the Fall:
Plant bulb in 6″ pot
Provide the bulbs with a couple months of darkness and water once every few weeks.
Remove the bulb from dark storage and provide as much light as possible.
Keep the soil moist. Allowing the soil to dry completely may damage the roots and affect the development of the flower.
Cut back leaves as they grow. This should help the bulb focus its energy on developing the flower bud within.
The winter freeze appeared to start melting yesterday making it a wonderful opportunity to force flowering branches. Apple, forsythia, cherry, pussy willow and magnolia are a few examples of trees and bushes that can be forced to flower. It’s as simple as cutting the branches and bringing them indoors. Within a 2-4 weeks, depending on the plant, the buds will open and the branches will be covered in flowers.
November/December is the time to find paperwhite bulbs for sale at grocery stores, hardware stores and garden centres. Plant them in pots and grow as a houseplant. These bulbs produce beautiful and fragrant flowers 3-6 weeks after they are planted. This is a popular plant for the holidays in December. For more information about paperwhite bulbs and how to grow them go to http://www.gardentherapynotes.com/NEW-Autumn-Activity-Planting-Paperwhite-Bulbs.html
Are you growing coleus in your garden? Try growing it as a houseplant. This tender annual will start to die back after a light frost, usually early mid october, so get it in before then.
Rather than bring in the whole plant, roots and all, propagate from stem cuttings. To do this, take 4-6″ cuttings and plant in 4″ pots with indoor potting soil. Coleus plants grow very well as a houseplant if kept near a bright window. This plant needs a moderate amount of water and may drop leaves if the soil is too dry. Pinch off flowers and cut back long stems to help maintain a bushy shape.
Last winter I planted amaryllis bulbs with participants in a Horticultural Therapy program. The bulbs flowered beautifully and put on a wonderful show in our “plant room”. We were curious to see if they could flower again next year so we decided to save them. When the flowers finished we placed them in spot away from the window. The soil was kept dry and watered about once/month. Eventually the leaves turned yellow/brown and were removed. The bulbs at this point are resting or dormant.
The amaryllis bulbs were planted outside in an A-frame amongst flowering annuals in full sun. The soil was kept moist through out the summer which helped sustain the beautiful green leaves that developed. Late September, when the temperature became much cooler, we dug up the bulbs and brought them inside.
The bulbs were rinsed, and the roots and leaves were cut back.
Six inch plastic containers were filled half full with an indoor potting soil. The bulbs were placed in the middle and more soil was added. The soil level should be about an inch from the top of the bulb.
The pots were well watered and put on a shelf away from the window. The next week we noticed that the leaves were starting to turn yellow. The bulb is absorbing the energy from the leaves before it goes to sleep again.
The soil will be kept dry and watered about once a month. In November we will try to wake the bulb up by putting it in front of a window and keeping the soil moist. It will hopefully flower in December-January. I’ll keep you updated!!!