Problem with amaryllis silhouette

tasdevil(z6 Ontario)January 21, 2006

I bought an amaryllis silhouette bulb over two years ago. This is a variegated type (green with a white stripe that runs down the midvein of the leaf) and is suppose to produce numerous pink flowers. Has anyone had experience with this variety because mine is not doing very well.

I planted it into a 5" pot and it took about 3-4 months for it to do anything. And then it was only to grow a 1" long leaf. By summertime (around 6-8 months after planting) it finally started putting up half decent leaves, but not so much as a peep of a flower. Now in its third winter there has still been no flowers and few leaves, many of which seem undersized (biggest leaf is perhaps 7" but most are much smaller). However, it has been busy multiplying with numerous bulbs (six including the original).

I have tried fertilizing and giving it excellent light (south facing bay window in winter and it goes outside in the summer), but it still grows weakly. It has now been demoted to a north window where it continues to not do much. I should mention that the original bulb was only 2", but all the silhouette bulbs I have seen have been that size. Is it just me, or is silhouette a hard variety to grow?

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I read in an Italian Garden Forum that H."Silhouette" is identical to (one clone from) the species amaryllis Hippeastrum reticulatum v.striatifolium

So the effirts should be focused on revealing the appropriate cultivation conditions for this well known amaryllid treasure.

In particular I read that it needs and tolerates only little LIGHT. It is an evergreen species; the substrate should never dry out completely.

Actually I would be interested under what temperature conditions you have nursed your plant.

And: How regularly did you feed it and with what?!


    Bookmark   January 21, 2006 at 7:16PM
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tasdevil(z6 Ontario)

Thanks so much for the actual botanical name. I had much better luck finding more about this plant than with just 'silhouette'. So it seems that the north window should be okay for now. And I will have to remember to water it more because I had been letting it go fairly dry between waterings. Hmmm, perhaps that was what has been holding it back?

As for temperature - the summers were quite hot at times, frequently going over 30 celcius and now in winter it is around 15-20 celcius inside the house. I only fertilized in the summer when the plant seemed to do the most growing. I think I just used Miracle Grow which is 7-7-7 or something similar and it was fertilized perhaps once every month or so.

Thanks again for the help!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2006 at 7:19PM
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My experiance with H. Silhouette has been identical to 'tasdevil'. I concur with HW regarding water and light. It seems to be a fall-winter grower. Also like the tasdevil, no blooms yet, though fair to moderate growth and offsets.

Pat Hudnall

    Bookmark   January 24, 2006 at 9:33AM
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Maria, I don't remember, do you have Silhouette too and having problems with it? Would this thread help with Hans' insight?

    Bookmark   November 21, 2007 at 2:51AM
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With time it has become obvious to me that "Silhouette" and H.reticulatum v.striatifolium, respectively does grow but slowly!
The water uptake is low, which is typical for dark-and-broad leaved plants. Overwatering does irritate all hippeastrums, and this more dainty treasure is not an exception.
As to the issue of "adequate light supply" - there should please not arise the misunderstanding that Silhouette should not receive good, bright light. The both plants (or better clusters) I am raising now do, without doubt, react very well on artificial light supply.
I already found out the same, for the Amaryllid Eucharis amazonica which does, despite of showing a complexion of a typical primeval forest plant, grow very well under 200 Watts/m2 MH daylight spectrum high pressure discharge bulbs - eq 16.000 Lux
However, the leaves of this plant will BURN completely in direct sunlight, and I expect almost the same to happen with "Silhouettte". Thus, provide a BRIGHT place, but without BURNING sunlight, which is for example very likely at your WEST-side window. And, water very cautiously from below. As I already stated, often: The uppermost layer of substrate must permanently appear completely dry - at least if coco fiober substrate is used. If it becomes dark then you know that you are already over-watering!

I remember that I read something, elsewhere that H.reticulatum be preferring a cool climate. But,I must say now, after 2 seasons of observation, that I cannot confirm that for "Silhouette". Obviously, it demands and tolerates the same temperature conditions like ordinary hippeastrums.

The two bulbs I received in 2006 had the size of cherries - now they are plum-sized and carrying 6 leaves and did not yet produce flowers. That means that even an experienced hippeastrum grower like me does need at least 3 seasons of perpetuous husbandry in order to get this challenge masterd and this species ama into bloom.
Under these circumstances it is no wonder that seemingly no one is able to present a "Silhouette" in blooms on the web. That sounds decouraging, doesn't it?!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2007 at 12:48PM
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Soultan...Thanks for bringing this post up. I have been really wondering what I still need to do with the var. reticuatums.

Sir Hans...I followed your advice about them and repotted in coco peat with the lower 1/3 of the pot filled with horticultural charcoal bits. I am bottom watering them now. They have stopped losing their leaves. One bulb lost all of it's leaves but the other two kept 1 leaf each. the bulbs are a little bit smaller than a cherry. I will place them under the lights and hope they'd recover faster.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2007 at 3:08PM
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I really hope Maria that you will succeed with your bulbs. It seems like that the varegiated varieties are kind of special and need special treatment too. I'm glad I could help by not doing anything, just pointing to the right direction. :o) Hehe.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2007 at 10:16PM
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The hybrid "Mrs.Garfield" (which is, btw, often confounded with H.reticulatum v.striatifolium) does apparently grow MUCH better than the original species amaryllis.
In fact, there are many pictures of this beauty presented on the web. An old hybrid, (I saw it, even, assigned as "heirloom)generated by crossbreeding H.reticulatum v.striatifolium with a knight star lily named "Defiance" and it has not lost its fascination. However, I could never find a picture or any information.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2007 at 8:28PM
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There will be Mrs. Garfield on ebay at the beginning of December. Time to buy. I can't wait for it to show up finally. I want to be over with buying bulbs on impulse. :o)

    Bookmark   November 23, 2007 at 12:22AM
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I assume that the main reasons for failures are too much water, particularly from above and, (associated with that) tarsonemid mites (narcissus bulb mite, Steneotarsonemus laticeps). IF the lower part of the leaves is covered with small red spots and streaks this does indicate the incidence of these mites.
Since then I apply water rather sparingly (into the saucer, every second day) I observe a satisfactory growth behaviour:

This is already "Mrs. Garfield dimensions" I think. The max. latitude of the biggest leaves is almost 7 cm and the max. length is 40 cm. For comparison this wooden ruler, 30 cm, is included.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2007 at 7:50PM
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Sir Hans...Those are BEAUTIFUL!!! I wonder when I could grow my reticulatums to such state. How big are their bulbs? So far, the reticulatum that shed all of it's leaves IS putting out a new leaf..sighhhh. Thanks for all of your advice. And again thanks for pulling up this thread Soultan.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 1:23AM
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The leaves are quite striking in color and shape! And very impressive in number and health! Just wonderful!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 6:43AM
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Now, I have to order Mrs. Garfield... I will write to Rarebulbs to put up one bulb for me, and I buy it. :o) I will tell the retailer what I want to buy. :o)

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 7:36AM
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Soultan...Mrs. Garfield's leaf is paler than reticulatum but a lot more robust and so far not as fussy as the reticulatum.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 7:51AM
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Interesting... I have no idea why it is not widely available then if it is not really hard to keep...

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 9:12AM
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I have to think it would be that 99% of the market for Hippeastrum is driven by the nursery and "Big Box" stores that primarily sell them as seasonal blooming bulbs that are normally disgarded after blooming. And, they are possibly harder/not likely to be saleable as "larger" bulbs when compared to the other mass produced bulbs.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 2:36PM
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If it did hit the market, it would be very expensive, I would think... not a chain store item, but more a specialty item sold at garden centers or by specialty tropical plant companies... the longer a plant takes to bloom and the harder it is to grow, the more difficult selling it would be...

It would be nice if some of the rarer plants were available, even if they were pricey and only available through specialty stores...

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 7:07PM
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Most of these rarer plants are available on the net, but they are indeed, very expensive... There is Mrs. Garfield on ebay, but only as a 2-pack. I only want one, so I am waiting for that offer to be put up on ebay, but that would still be $18 for one bulb.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 11:52PM
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Talking about EXPENSIVE, take a look at this...$60 for a bulb grown in a 3.5" pot...

Isn't Santa coming to town?

Here is a link that might be useful: reticulatum

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 12:37AM
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Oh yes. Without shipping!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 3:16AM
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Yeah, I guess it's all part of operating a for profit business. You are "supposed to" charge what the market will bear. That's why clubs, societies, and forums like this are so important for the typical hobbiest. We are able to go around high costs sometimes. I've stayed in contact with another guy that is growing a nice variegated Papilio with the hopes we'll be able to swap pollen. My variegated pap has yet to produce an offset, and the mother bulb that produced this one hasn't produced any other variegated offsets.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 9:44AM
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It's very nice to be able to share and trade plants and seeds... I've always thought/felt that gardening should be shared, not sold at exorbitant prices!

Maybe it's just me, but I like to share all my hobbies and interests... the barter system has always worked for me, and I prefer it... Money is truly the root of all evil, and it's never been very important to me... I'd rather be broke and happy than rich and miserable... once you have lots of money, you find that there is never enough, and most people that have money love money the most... not everyone, mind you, but plenty do... my family and friends are worth more than any amount of money, and are most important to me...

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 5:06AM
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tasdevil(z6 Ontario)

I was the original poster of this thread (over 7 years ago!) and just had to share the news. My amarylis silhouette, aka Hippeastrum reticulatum v.striatifolium, has finally flowered! I've posted a picture - hopefully it works.

For those interested, the past few years it has been sitting in a north/east window (dappled sun to midmorning then bright indirect light the rest of the day). It dries out well between thorough waterings, moderate house temperature throughout the year with minor seasonal variations. Direct fertilizer was limited although I do frequently water with aquarium water (a good natural fertilizer). The flowering bulb itself is about 3.5" in diameter and has a total of 9 baby bulbs attached around it. All growing together in a 6" pot which is very crowded. Maybe in another 10 years I'll have a flowering clump with multiple blooms! Definitely a plant to test your patience - thank goodness it has the pretty leaves to admire while waiting :)

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 2:10AM
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    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 5:59PM
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Bravo tasdevil. Attached is a photo typical of my clone.
One point I found to be important to this "species" cultivation: unlike most other Hippeastrum these seem to prefer being allowed to draw themselves down into the soil, maintaining their neck right at ground level. I tried moving mine up to mid bulb several times only to be met with a decline in size and growth.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 4:03PM
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I had to login to say,

WOW one of the most beautiful flowers I have ever seem!!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 10:15PM
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Old post brings back memories of old friends. Miss ya Soultan!

Anyway, I have given up on these variegated hippies. Our "relationship" is just not working. LOL My frustration with them was actually the main reason I got into clivias as I imported my very first clivias from China, variegated ones of course. I was hooked the moment I unwrapped them from the box. These ones I will will keep "till death do us part". Ha!
This is one of my variegated Light of Buddha clivia.

This post was edited by mariava7 on Tue, Oct 8, 13 at 21:33

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 9:31PM
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This is my experience with them and they pretty much match with what is already been said.

They prefer more gentle light, bit like clivias. I put them out in the sun room and that was a death sentence in a few hours. I live in Scotland and the cooler weather is something they like. They didn't do as well when i had them somewhere warm. They seemed to offset more.

The necks on mine are really tight and prevents moisture flowing down the neck. The bulbs tend to stay milky white instead of greening up when exposed to light so those reasons make me think it does not mind being buried.

They are not widely available as the bulbs don't please as easily as the hybrids. They take a while to recover. They are more often for sale potted up as plants than as dry bulbs for this reason in Europe.

I found them more tolerant to water than my regular hippis. I let some dry out and they didn't like that, I guess I should have known since their roots are much finer.

When I received them all the leaves were yellow and a member of my family took it upon themselves to drench them with water so that didn't help as they were originally in standard soil. Since then some have greened up and improved a bit. They do much better in our cool weather with lack of sun than everything else I grow.

This post was edited by AuntJemima on Wed, Oct 16, 13 at 11:23

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 4:22AM
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tasdevil(z6 Ontario)

Sorry for the delayed response - just wanted to say thank you all for the added tips.

houstonpat - beautiful photo! Interesting point about burying the bulbs deeper. My main bulb is indeed halfway out of the soil, however, all the baby bulbs attached around it are much deeper and fully buried. I don't think there is a way for me to bury the main bulb now without suffocating the babies but it is noteworthy that all the babies are positioned like this fully under the soil (obviously looking like that's how they prefer to grow).

mariava7 - I had received a regular type clivia division from a friend and it blooms every year without fail - definitely a keeper in my collection! Your photo is tempting me to try a variagated one ;)

AuntJemima - now that you mention it, most of the offsets that developed were from when I had the plant growing outside in summer (very hot and humid!) and in south facing windows. Since growing in my cooler north window with no outside summer vacation it has barely offset at all. So perhaps a good thing to encourage maturity of the bulbs. And I wholeheartedly agree that these do not seem to grow well from dried bulbs and once the plant got going it has never gone dormant whatsoever.

Fingers crossed that it's now fairly matured and settled and will become a regular bloomer!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 12:45PM
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i also have a couple of silhouettes, and mine are making a lot of offsets (last spring it got 4, summer it got 5 and autumn it got 3, and there's another one growing now, lol talking ablout a single bulb)

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 1:55PM
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