Do I have to hibernate my amaryllis?

dacora(9)February 8, 2014

Sorry if this is a silly newbie question, I've been doing some research the last couple days after rescuing a "bulb growing kit" from Target the other night on a whim. I've never really cared for any plants much before, so I'd appreciate your patience with my ignorance. :)

From what I can tell, it seems like folks mostly hibernate their bulbs in order to force a blooming at certain times, but it it something that I have to do for the well being of the plant? I think I also saw a post that mentioned that if you don't force a hibernation that it'll bloom in the springtime, which I may have improperly assumed meant you didn't have to hibernate them at all? Sorry again if this seems like it has an obvious answer, I tried to dig up the solution on my own.

Backstory of the bulb, for anyone interested: I picked it up on Tuesday the 4th while shopping for a lamp for my new desk. It was a kit with a ceramic pot with a bulb and some dehydrated medium kept inside with a cardboard sleeve. This plant had already started growing somehow, and it had twisted it's bud stalk so that it forced itself out from between the cardboard and the pot! Not really knowing the first thing about the plant, but unable to just leave it there on the shelf, I brought it home and followed the instructions on the package.

At first the plant was just drooping sadly to the side, but after the last four days of sitting in a sunny window and having some proper moisture, the stalk is almost completely straight now, just with a bit of a kink where it had to bend itself to grow out of the package. Makes me happy just looking at how much better it looks. :)

After doing a bit of research here, I dug the bulb back out to check for red spots, and noticed that some of the outer layers of dried material were a bit black and soggy, possibly starting to rot. I peeled away the unhealthy layers to the healthy white beneath, and had to rip of some rotted roots that I think might have been there before I potted the bulb in the first place but hadn't noticed because I didn't know any better.

Tomorrow I'm going to Lowes to get some proper potting mix and a pot with drainage, which the pre-packaged pot does not have. Oh, and some liquid fertilizer.

My main concern is that some of the leaves, which hadn't developed properly to begin with inside the dark pot, have bits of red on them, which from looking around might be Red Blotch. I don't have any other plants though, and I've seen some pictures of folks having living plants with Red Blotch, so I just can't bring myself to give up on this plant! I'm going to do the best I can to keep it thriving as well as possible, I'm already attached after saving it from the shelf.

Whew, thanks for reading my long winded message, hopefully someone can enlighten me on my question. :)

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Good job and good luck. As for hibernating, some of us grow them as evergreens while others hibernate them, you don't HAVE to hibernate them unless you want them to bloom on a certain date. So the question now is do you want it to force it to bloom or do you want to let it do its thing on its own.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 11:12AM
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Awesome, thanks so much for the quick reply! I just hadn't found a straight answer, so thank you for clearing the confusion.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 2:39PM
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Caveat, most bulb loss is due to too much watering- so as much as you want to help this plant (which will reward you with an amazing flower for your efforts) let it dry out between watering.

I hope you keep coming back to this forum so we can get you as addicted to these wonderful plants as we are and ask away as we all love to help each other. - J

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 8:42AM
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I'm definitely trying to be good about watering. I watered it the first time when I had to rehydrate the original planting medium it came with, and moistened the potting mix that I just bought yesterday when I got a more suitable pot with a drainage hole.

I've already started looking at websites with more exotic colors and patterns (according to the package mine should be a minerva), and the temptation is very strong to get another, haha! But for now I think I'm going to see how things go with my little rescue. He already seems to be straightening out his kink in the stem and while his leaves are a bit pale and curled, the new growth towards the base seems darker and healthier. It's encouraging!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 10:07AM
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But, you must have noticed how lonely he is. He is probably being brave for you but really would like some company! Oh did I tell you we are the biggest enablers on the web. Lol

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 2:33PM
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Hi I hibernate mine in a paper bag in the bottom draw in the fridge for 60 days and it seems to bloom in about a months time first the leaves then the bloom

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 6:59PM
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Matthew Condon - Indiana.Matt - IN, Zone 5/6(Indiana Zone 5/6)

Ok, so I have recently read a few other posts where growers store dormant Amaryllis bulbs in the fridge. As far as I know, cold treatment is not necessary for Amaryllis? I thought the idea was to simulate drought not cold?

Anyway, I have all my bulbs in pots that are about 1 gallon or a little larger. I feed them every time I water with 1/2 the recommend house plant mixture of all purpose Miracle Gro. Put them outside in the summer. Plan to repot them about every 3-4 years...haven't repotted yet, only have had them in larger pots for 2 years now. They are all doing better than ever! In the fall...just before frost, I stop watering and bring them all in and put them in the basement (making sure they are good and dry). This would be about the end of September - first part of October. Mid winter, after the leaves die back naturally, I cut them off and clean them up, leaving them potted. 1st of January I bring them up and drench them good (no fertilizer until the second watering)...making sure all the dry soil really gets hydrated well. Then I put them in a bright warm spot and watch them wake up.

I am extremely pleased with how much the performance of my bulbs have done since I have followed this schedule. I have some bulbs that have not bloomed for several years finely blooming again and at least 2 bulbs have 2 flower scapes each (I have 6 bulbs large enough to bloom). I've never had 1 with 2 scapes.

I like putting my bulbs to sleep in the fall and bringing them out after Christmas is all over. That is about the time I start thinking about gardening and bringing the bulbs up on Jan 1st gives me a bit of gardening in the winter. I expect my first flowers about the last week of Feb and expect flowers through the end of march...just in time to start some early spring gardening.

So there you go, that's how I take care of my bulbs and why I like to force them into dormancy.

I'll post some photos of them as they start blooming.

I'd love to see photos of your new Amaryllis!
You will probably need to put a stake of some kind in your pot for supporting the plant as it grows. Last year my 'White Christmas' got 37 inches tall! That was ridiculously tall in my opinion and it looks as if it is on its way to a good 3 feet again!


    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 11:02PM
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Here's four pictures that show off the progress fairly well, I think:

It's mostly a picture of my desk, which I had just set up, but you can see how much the amaryllis is sagged in the corner.

This was it perked up the day after the first picture.

Another day or two after the second picture, and after I had cleaned up the bulb a bit.

Sorry for how dark it is, this was this morning. Almost completely straight now, with a little bit of a kink left, and repotted in proper soil and a draining pot.

I think he's doing pretty well, all things considered. The leaves are still a bit sad looking, but there's definitely been some growth over the last week.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 3:07PM
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