Sunday, January 8, 2012
This is an article that was recently published by the Fairfield Ledger, in an up and coming weekly? bi-weekly? feature ... possibly entitled something like, "Gardening - 'Dig It'!" or simply, "Dear Iris."
Minerva is about to appear!
Rest assured that you can enjoy an amaryllis now and again for several years!
A 5 – 7” pot with a drainage hole is a perfect “home” for an amaryllis bulb. It needs to “feel crowded” to blossom. Pot according to instructions, leaving the top third of the bulb exposed. A bamboo stalk or tall plant stake should be put in place at this time. Amaryllis flowers get very top heavy. Inserting a stake now will protect growing roots now and keep the plant upright later. Water well.
Your amaryllis enjoys bright, diffuse light and cool indoor temperatures (in the 60 degree range). Turn the pot every few days so the plant will receive uniform light and grow straight.
Keep the soil moist but not wet. Feed your amaryllis with half-strength, water-soluble fertilizer every two or three weeks. If you are fortunate to own a large bulb, you may enjoy two or three stalks in bloom over a period of several weeks.
After the last flower has faded, cut off the stalk near the top of the bulb. Be careful not to injure the leaves or emerging flower stalks. Prepare to expect a large amount of watery sap to run from the hollow stalk when it is cut.
In late Spring, after all danger of frost is gone, move your amaryllis outdoors to a partly sunny/partly shady spot. Continue to fertilize through August. Bring your plants indoors in September or October. Cut off the dead leaves, and move to a cool, dry spot. I usually take them to the basement storage room where it is also dimly-lit. Discontinue watering. As the remaining leaves turn yellow and wither, I cut them off.
To force the amaryllis into another blooming period, begin the process 6 to 8 weeks prior to when you’d like it to bloom. Cut off any dead tissue from the bulb’s “neck.” Remove the top ½ inch of soil from the pot and replace with new soil. Water the bulb ONCE thoroughly and place in normal temperature and bright light conditions. Refrain from watering again until the soil is nearly dry.
Once the first flower has opened, move the plant to a location where it will receive somewhat less bright light and cool temperatures. This will help to preserve the flower as long as possible.
You can repeat this process for many years. In fact, two summers ago, two of my bulbs created “babies.” Last year I separated the small bulbs; planting each in its own pot. I look forward to see the bulbs increase in size and begin their own flowering!
Enjoy your amaryllis!
With regard to the problem of voles in the garden, most recommendations include poison (which must be handled carefully due to children and pets), and mouse (spring-type) traps placed under boxes or inside coffee cans to protect other animals.
Voles are reputed to enjoy eating tree bark as well as tulip bulbs. Both voles and chipmunks are rodents. My experience with chipmunks is that they also enjoy devouring tulip bulbs. My attempt to separate chipmunks from my tulip bulbs includes two fairly easy methods: 1) After remove the dirt from a planting area, create and bury hardware cloth baskets, place the bulbs inside, fill with soil, add hardware cloth lids, and cover everything with the remaining soil, and 2) Remove the soil from a planting area, set bulbs in place, cover with a hardware cloth “lid” and replace the soil (which would again cover everything, including the hardware cloth).
submitted by local Master Gardener, Kathy Tollenaere