Lazy gardener, lazy plant

Perhaps "lazy" isn't the right word -- "forgetful" may be more appropriate -- but it's time again for my annual "hey, where did I end up putting those Amaryllis bulbs?" query. You're familiar with Amaryllis, right? Their blooms at Christmas are common in many holiday homes -- but not mine.

In order to get them to bloom they need a dormancy period of at least a month (maybe more), and then a few weeks at least before the flower stalk emerges. Timing it so the big, bold blooms appear at the end of December is not something that I've ever been able to manage.


With me the cycle goes:

  1. Discover potted Amaryllis plants when I'm getting everything ready for the upcoming first freeze, usually late October or early November.
  2. Put Amaryllis pots into a dark corner of the garage.
  3. Forget about them.
  4. Happen upon them at some time during the winter. After the foliage dries up these little pots get much easier to miss. It doesn't help that my garage is a complete mess right now, with stacks and stacks of pots of all sizes in one corner. That's where I put the bulbs this year for some reason.
  5. Bring pots indoors under lights, and water thoroughly.
  6. Leaves quickly grow, then blooms follow after a month or so -- I never track this carefully.
  7. Enjoy blooms!
  8. Once it warms up, put pots somewhere out of the way in the garden and forget about them for the summer.
  9. Goto step 1.
So I guess I am a bit lazy when it comes to this plant. 

But the plant itself is pretty lazy, or at least one of the two is:

I mean, look at this: a solitary bulb, just going through its bloom cycle every year, doing the absolute minimum of what is expected of it.

The other one though, it's a real go-getter!

It has produced another new offset, making things a bit cramped in the pot.

The older offset is at least two years old now. I wonder when it will start to bloom?

The childless bulb is already showing a bloom, just poking out from within the papery folds:

By the way, I love the papery folds:

Some interesting facts about these particular plants of mine:
  1. I've had them for about 10 years.
  2. They were purchased on clearance after Christmas for 50 cents each.
  3. They have never been repotted.
  4. They were planted in straight peat moss -- what they came with (each one had a little plastic pot and a bag of "potting mix")
  5. They've reliably flowered each year.
One of my best plant bargains ever!

Especially because I can be so lazy with them and they still deliver. I wish all my plants were so accommodating!


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Anonymous –   – (January 27, 2015 at 12:14 PM)  

how cold does it get in your garage over that time period? Ive read they should be around 50F in their dormancy but our garage gets below freezing. I put it in the basement but apparently never gets cold enough to trigger a bloom.

Alan  – (January 27, 2015 at 1:37 PM)  

The garage gets into the 40's F. I've never measured it below 40F, but certainly below 50F. Sounds like you might want to think about keeping yours in the refrigerator?

Mark and Gaz  – (January 27, 2015 at 2:04 PM)  

Virtually undemanding, cool, and at ten years too! Never mind it doesn't flower at Christmas time, it's great enough that it does at another time reliably :)

Kimberley at Cosmos and Cleome  – (January 27, 2015 at 7:24 PM)  

I treat mine very similarly, except I do take the extra step of unpotting them in the fall and storing the bulbs in paper bags. Then I have to go through the motions of re-potting them in early to mid-winter. Just yesterday I potted up the final four of my bulbs. I'll have to try just leaving them in their pots next year to save myself some work! I hope you'll post pictures of them blooming soon!

outlawgardener  – (January 28, 2015 at 12:51 AM)  

Amazing! Do you feed them heavily during their growing period? Great bargains indeed!

Alan  – (January 28, 2015 at 7:59 AM)  

Kimberly: a few years back somebody commented that Amaryllis don't like to be repotted and prefer being a bit cramped. I took it as law because it meant less work. :)

Peter: They get some miracle-gro once in a while when I remember, but they get a fair amount of neglect. Sometimes get really dry, at other times they sit in water for a week -- It surprises me every year when they not only survive but wake up and bloom.

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