Flowering Amaryllis in Peril!

IsatheGreenFebruary 1, 2014

Dear Good People of the Hippeastrum Forum,

I am a new member and I have really benefitted from the enlightening information I found throughout the forum, and its wonderful FAQ!

Yet as even with that wealth of tutorials I still feel unsure of how to proceed in order to complete the attempted rescue of my sick bulb, I turn to you! My bulb is a "mass" bulb that I received as a kit for x-mas. It came with the coconut medium, which I have (unfortunately) used. At first, all was swell, the bulb produced a magnificently tall floral stalk with 4 gorgeous white and pink flowers (the double kind). There are 4 leaves growing somewhat "on the side" of the main bulb, yet inside it, these have remained the same for many days now, same went for a 2nd stalk, which showed its bulb rather quickly, but stayed short, as it still is (only 3 inches), somehow, even if it looks like it's already opening some, and the flower bulbs are visible. 2 days ago, on a whim, and after reading up on the care of the bulbs to *keep* them, I touched the bulb and it was soft! I became worried when I peeled some of the layers off from the exposed portion of the bulb, discovering some brownish rot. I then carefully dug him out of its pot, and saw that the rot had attacked the roots, so I rinsed everything, and while peeling off the sick 1st layers, I discovered more interlayer brownish/bright red rot further in, so I peeled some more, until the layer seemed 'ok' to me. He still has some mostly white roots left, which gives me hope, the basal plate, now dry, seems free of rot, except maybe on the side in the cut-off part of the layers I had to remove, and the bulb is mostly shiny and white now. I have left him sitting in the top opening of an empty kleenex box close to the window, with a side open so that his roots/basal plate will be able to dry some, as I have seen many of you mention the need to let the salvaged bulbs dry before repotting in "intervention" testimonials on the forum.

With the context layed out, here are my questions: since he is in the process of flowering, is it ok to wait 4 days until I repot him, as the fungicide I have ordered will not be there until then? Should I let him dry some more with his roots out in the air, or should I put his roots in a bowl of water inside the kleenex box? The fungicide is liquid and sulphur-based, I plan on bathing the bulb, but as there seems to be some suspicious-looking tissue close to its "neck" (still a bit of reddish rot-looking tint there) would I spray this part as well, even though it's not great to have moisture go inside the bulb layers? Finally, I was thinking of repotting him in a mix of Fafard Connoisseur Tropical plant + some Fafard Orchid potting mixes, to emulate Jodik's mix, in an unglazed terra cotta pot. Does this sound ok to you or do you think there is a better plan for me to follow?

Lastly, I have another bulb from last year who is producing very beautiful leaves this year (since I only belatedly learned how to care for the bulbs post-flowering and put him on a no water+dark dwelling too soon, but I bet he'll be great next year!), I am *very* tempted to repot him as well, with the same mix as the one I was to use for the "sick" bulb, would it traumatize him too much to do it now, or do I really have to wait until he's dormant? I was hoping that by giving him a larger pot he would have a better chance to grow during the nice seasons when they come!

I apologize for the extra long post (& the poor picture -and unmanucured fingers-, I had to take it with my computer, and did not get how to upload more than one picture from the instructions at the end of the FAQ... So I took a picture to try to show roots+flower bud+new leaves (on the far right) together! The other stalk is the first one that I cut off when the flowers were 'done' doing their thing. I have more pictures I could post of the basal plate, if needed.) and many mercis in advance for any helpful advice you might provide. Happy gardening!

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kaboehm (zone 9a, TX USA)

Wow.... great job!! Nice description AND photo! The change in medium should be fine. Orchid mix is well draining and that's what the bulbs need. They hate having wet feet. Great that you've ordered a fungicide, but don't forget that cinnamon works in a pinch. As you said, since your spray is water-based, take it easy on spraying into the neck. Spray won't really get deep into the bulb if there are problems between the layers. Your peeled bulb looks good. Sometimes scapes are shorter than I like and I think it has to do with stress. An unglazed pot should be fine. Since you know this bulb may be prone to rot, I'd just keep it a bit on the dry side.

Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 7:46PM
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Hi Isathegreen,

It looks like you've done an admirable job of nursing your not so healthy bulb as it looks pretty good right now.

If you wish to wait a while before repotting you can always just put in a glass of water with just the bottoms of the roots hitting the water making sure that the basal plate remains dry while you wait for your fungicide. But even without water I think you bulb will continue to be fine until you re-pot it.
Your choice of potting mix sounds fine as well as your unglazed terra cotta pot!

As for the brownish red at the neck it just looks normal from what I can see from your picture, many times the red is just a stage before the tissue totally dies and then turns brown.

Good Luck,


    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 7:55PM
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Bonjour Kristi & Donna,

Thank you *so much* for your quick replies! I am so pleased to have joined your (re)active, enthusiastic and supportive community!!! Your detailed and positive comments really gave me confidence, and I more than ever think I can actually save this 'guy' (you've probably gathered by now that I think of my plants/bulbs as just a different kind of People...)! I thought I'd try to get a shot of him sitting on his glass of water, as suggested by Donna to thank you both for your help and for your suggestions, and of his buddy, the Leafy Healthy One in order to keep track of the 'rescue operation' since it's beginning: I do plan on keeping you posted, on this! I love the idea of using natural substances, like cinammon, as Kristi suggested, and was thinking the organic sulfur-based liquid would somehow fall in this category, hence my choosing it... But I am really excited re. experimenting with less agressive (?) pantry items when I am more seasoned at this gardening thing! I dream of the day when I have a garden and grow my very own Organic People in it :)

One can't really see as much of it as I would have wanted to, but Montréal is so beautiful and snowy right now that I tried to catch a bit of this 'faeriness' in the background of the photo, hence the not so great contre-jour...

Just 2 last questions before closing. Some of the roots of the 'rescue bulb' are brownish, but still firm and firmly attached to the basal plate, should I leave them as they are when repotting, or would these eventually be a new source of rot? Even some of the white ones seem broken in places, yet still attached (say, in the middle, they seem thinner, like they've been bent there), should I cut off the seemingly 'weaker' part that trails at the end of a healthy root? Finally, what do you think about my idea of repotting the Healthy One? Would it be bad for him at this point? He seems strong enough to me to withstand the operation, and now that I've become somewhat suspicious of the 'apparent' health of these guys, this would give me a chance to inspect him from all angles (I had no idea I should have done this when I adopted him last year), thus making sure he's *really* all right?

Many thanks in advance again for your help, and for being there for us in 'our' time of need, the Green People and I are really very grateful for your kind words and lightning-quick responses!

Hoping all your own 'People' thrive and dazzle you with their incredible blooms and lush leafy beauty, sincerely,

Isabelle :)

This post was edited by IsatheGreen on Sun, Feb 2, 14 at 12:07

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 11:53AM
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kaboehm (zone 9a, TX USA)

Dear Isabelle,
Montreal does look lovely coated in snow! Your view is great!

I would just leave the roots in place, and watch them. The brown roots aren't actively growing as the white ones are, so if you trim them there should be no negative outcome. As far as repotting the healthy bulb, you can easily do that by lifting it out of the pot and keeping as much of the soil as possible. Just put it in a larger pot and pack some fresh soil around the outside. Just try not to disturb things too much…

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 1:05PM
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Hello Again, Fellow Amarillys Afficionadi,

I just wanted to say thanks again for your help, and your replies. I have repotted my bulbs, the "sick" and the healthy one thanks to the great info found on the forum, and all that's left to do now, I guess, is not water them too much... and see what happens next! I am posting a picture of the "guys" in their new homes, the one with the beautiful flower that's just starting to bloom is the bulb which was the object of the rescue! I hope the flower is not a sign he's doing worse, as I have read that these guys will try with all their remaining might to pollinate when in desperate situations... Also, the fact that he has no live root left has me worried! Will he just grow back some roots? I have positioned him so that he has a heat source clost to his base, hoping this could help.

I will keep you posted on the evolution of my green friends, and wish great health and beauty upon yours!

Isabelle :)

This post was edited by IsatheGreen on Mon, Feb 10, 14 at 23:11

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 11:07PM
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