'Mature' Hippeastrum Bulbs/Plants

BronxFigsSeptember 15, 2011

I would like to know, what, if any, changes in growth characteristics, one can expect to see, as a bulb reaches the "mature'" stage.

For example, I noticed in most of the full-view photos of these plants, that Hipps. produce very long, rank-looking leaves. Are these long leaves a characteristic of a young plant? Will the leaves growing from a MATURE BULB shorten a bit in length, and stiffen up a little, so as to be almost self-supporting, forming a nice fan-shaped profile,...almost, Clivia-like in appearance? I know growing in bright light conditions makes for shorter, thicker leaves on Clivia, but will this cultural practice also carry over into the Hipp. tribe, with similar results, as well?

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kaboehm (zone 9a, TX USA)

My mature bulb leaves are 4' long and some are 3-4" wide. They are free standing, but none get the clivia shape, per say. They do send leave up from the center, typically in pairs, but...I grow mine outdoors with plenty of light...and they just get bigger each year. One thing to remeber is that the Hippeastrum leaves die back when left to their own accord, whereas the Clivia do not...so, the Clivia just keeps adding to their leaves. A mature Hippeastrum will have 8-12 or more leaves.
Kristi

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 5:27PM
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dondeldux

Frank,

Papilio has lovely fan shapped leaves very similar to Clivia, but more narrow..but, do you like the flower? Possiby some of h.papilio's hybrids also..I'll have to take a look, I have a few...

Donna

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 5:45PM
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BronxFigs

Very interesting learning about the Hipp. plant itself, and what it may look like as it grows. I'm glad that I asked because I never would have guessed that Hipps. could grow so large, and tall. Four foot, free-standing leaves are pretty impressive.

Thanks for the info.

Frank

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 9:31PM
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joshy46013

Frank, I have a "Flamenco Queen' that is atleast 3 1/2 feet tall right now with HUGE leaves, it draws lots of attention and the blooms are beautiful. If you want a strong grower and an even stronger bloomer, check it out!

Josh

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 10:40PM
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pizzuti(5A)

In my experience, small plants are identical, smaller versions of the large ones, except they don't bloom or produce offsets.

However, a growing/expanding young bulb will grow faster than the "neck" and have a skinnier neck (and therefore skinnier leaves) compared to the size of the bulb. If they either go through stress and stop growing, or reach the size where they direct their energy towards blooms and offsets rather than continued growth, you stop noticing that.

(Occasionally, a small bulb will produce an offset while small, probably due to a genetic nuance. You probably don't see that often in commercially-grown varieties but I've found it in a couple individuals I grew from seed.)

Leaves get stiffer and stronger when they're getting full light, floppier in lower light - of course. But also, the more intense direct light of winter produces sturdier leaves than the summer light. Still, that varies more by variety than it does by anything else.

Some varieties bred for bloom rather than leaf quality just don't have nice leaves. "Apple blossom" has difficult, floppy leaves.

Some of the really enormous red ones have really strong leaves. Also, a lot of the hippeastrums I've grown from seed seem to have even stronger leaves than their parents. The ones I've grown from seed also tend to have smaller blooms which they produce more readily.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 11:20PM
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kaboehm (zone 9a, TX USA)

Pizzuti wrote, "However, a growing/expanding young bulb will grow faster than the "neck" and have a skinnier neck (and therefore skinnier leaves) compared to the size of the bulb. If they either go through stress and stop growing, or reach the size where they direct their energy towards blooms and offsets rather than continued growth, you stop noticing that."

This is why, for me...when all the leaves are gone, I cut the neck down to open it up (think of a man with broad shoulder and no neck!). I dust the "wound" with Captan powder (others have used cinnamon) and move on. I typicall do this every 2-3 years. Opening up the neck (well...making it wider) does one important thing. As bulbs grow and then next gets narrower, it restricts the emerging leaves and scapes, that can result in the bulb cracking and spliting. So, I open up the neck so that the leaves and scapes can emerge unhampered. I didn't have any aborted scapes in the past couple of years in bulbs that rebloomed after this surgery. With the neck clean, it also offers fewer hiding places for creepy crawlies.
K

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 7:17PM
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