Peeling off the Layers
I've noticed that in some photos, the amaryllis bulbs are peeled down to the shiny white, sometimes even green, layers of the bulb. Is the science behind that? It makes sense if the bulb is thought to have disease or rot. However, is there a reason to do it under normal, healthy circumstances?
I have observed that the bulbs planted in the ground are never that way. They don't shed their own layers down to a white/green onion appearance. It seems to me that they have those many layers for protection and insulation. In the natural setting, those dead layers (like human skin) act as a barrier, insulating and protecting them. It prevents rot. It prevents easy insect access. It provides extra layers of insulation against extreme cold and direct sun. When layers are removed, the bulb has to spend extra energy protecting itself and forming new layers.
The only time I have seen it in the natural setting is on new bulblets. On many bulbs, the new offsets emerge green and add the layers as they mature.
This is one of those things that I wonder if people do because they see that others doing the same. Is it is similar to "crape murder" performed every spring on crape myrtle trees in the south? Each spring, crape myrtles all over the south are "hat-racked" - all limbs cut off very short, straight across the top, so that you could hang a hat on any one of them. This is done because homeowners and landscapers have seen so many others do it, so they think it is the "right" thing to do. Many folks actually think they are supposed to do it. It is very harmful to the trees, and all of the gardening experts and columnists write about it, but it is a custom that persists.
Like the crape myrtles, I'm trying to think through a lot of the processes that have become the norm with hippeastrum. Is there any real science for peeling off all of the layers on a normal, healthy bulb?