Common Hippeastrum, ....How long can they live????
I am not new to growing plants, and over the years I have had may successes, and as many failures. Almost always, plants die off because their cultural needs have not been met. Most of the "fall bulbs" that flood the market around this time of year, Amaryllis/Hippeastrum included, are bred to give a nice flower display, and then inevitably, die off so that gardeners can buy some more, new, flavor-of-the-day, introductions in the following seasons. The bulb industry relies on this constant die/renewal-cycle to stay in business. I doubt very much that commercial Hippeastrum breeders are not motivated by the same factors, and many, many, plants are introduced into the market that properly belong on a compost pile instead of our windowsills. Big splashy, gaudy flowers that stems can't hold up; disease-prone leaves; poor flower-form; flower substance like tissue paper; breaking color pigments; etc. etc. come to mind. The public will buy any crap that makes it into a garden center, or worse, catalogs. Too cynical? Have you REALLY looked at the "double-flowered" Hippeastrums? ...... stripes, blotches, malformed flower parts, bunched-up centers. "To each his own", I guess.
Hippeastrum bulbs hit the market after growing under very exacting cultural conditions. I doubt many of us can duplicate the lighting, feeding formulas, disease prevention routines that commercial growers use to produce the fat, guaranteed-to-bloom bulbs that we buy each year.
So, my question is this: How long can a hobby-grower keep these bulbs growing and producing flowers under less-than-optimal growing conditions. Sun porches, backyard decks, window sills, green houses, etc, etc, are NOT the same as the growing fields in Holland. This is just a general question, and I realize the more diligent growers out there can flower these bulbs for years, but I'll predict that these commercially produced Hippeastrum bulbs are NOT bred for longevity, and they will eventually lose vigor, and are then tossed. They are not Clivias that can live for decades, or longer.
I welcome some comments, opinions, thoughts.