News: Amaryllis


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Most of the country is bracing for a cold spell, it looks like a north easterly wind has set in. We are forecast -4C for Monday and Tuesday night going down to -5C on Wednesday. Particularly after all the wet weather make sure that any plants that are not fully hardy are given some protection. If you have not lifted your Dahlias, please take precautions. For exposed containers, it is worth covering with fleece or a simple bin bag to avoid any chance of the soil freezing through.

The bulbs that we use to flower for Christmas and winter have been forced and are ahead of their natural growing cycle. Many growers advise that prepared and forced bulbs should be considered as a one-off flower. This does not have to be the case. For the majority of bulbs, propagation and future flowering bears a direct correlation to the existing mother bulb. Treated properly a bulbs size will increase year on year.

The most popular bulb gifts at Christmas are probably Amaryllis. The Amaryllis that most of us grow is the Amaryllis Hippeastrum, native to tropical America and are not fully hardy. I have heard on numerous occasions that to flower next year they should be left in their existing pot. This is not advisable. Here is what you should do.

After flowering remove the pots to a shed or garage. Once the foliage has died back, much like daffodils, remove any offsets clustered at the base of the bulb. These offsets can be potted on and will flower in 3 to 4 years. The mother bulb should be potted in a pot one and a half times the size of the original. Amaryllis are heavy feeders. The compost should be fibrous loam, decayed manure (old mushroom bed compost is preferable), and grit in equal parts. The top of the bulb should be exposed with the compost just below the rim. The bulbs can then be moved outdoors once the risk of any deep frost has passed. Keep the pots evenly moist over the summer until they are ready to be brought back indoors next October. 

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