Monday, February 19, 2007

I beat the odds

My husband and friends are really, really tired of listening to me brag about this, but I am proud of the fact that—defying all the tenets of hippeastrum wisdom—I actually have two buds pushing up from my two oldest plants—I think six and five years, respectively.

The reason this is somewhat of a triumph is that I have never followed the prescribed advice for getting hippeastrums to bloom yearly. I do not put them into dormancy, but keep them going as houseplants throughout the year, with some time outside over the summer. I don’t think I fertilize them.

Nonetheless, all four of my hippeastrums have bloomed every year, except last year. It was then that I thought I would have to bow to the inevitable and put all of them into dormancy—but of course I never did. So I had minimal hopes of bloom this year.

The lack of a dormant period, is, I think, why you see the unusual situation of long leaves with an emerging bud; normally, the bud comes first, then the leaves.

So, two down, two more to come? One can hope. I think these two are both red, but maybe not.


chuck b. said...

The hippeastrum I bought and started before the holidays produced two flowers. I was surprised, but it seemed appropriate since the bulb cost $17.

The second flower started to rise while the first one was still on its way up. I thought we were heading for some weird floral diaster, but the second bud graciously waited for the first one to finish before growing in earnest.

I just put it outside to get some sun.

They always decay when I force dormancy. I'm going to keep this one going.

firefly said...

I had six or eight of these going for 3 or 4 years, and they bloomed twice a year—once in winter after a late summer/fall dormant period, and again in the summer, when they went outdoors on a south-facing porch with a roof.

I used soluble bloom food when they were flowering. Never forced them to go dormant; they went on their own, as the summer light started to fade to autumn.

Unfortunately, where I am now, there is narcissus fly, and I lost every one of my hippeastrum and a giant pot of sea daffodil to bulb maggots. I haven't replaced them yet because I'm not sure how to protect them.

Annie in Austin said...

I'm impressed, EAL ~ I've gotten a few reblooms through the years, but not enough flowers for the amount of window space they filled. Now the bulbs are in the ground, and can do as they please... but I sure wish I'd bought a new pumped-up ready-to-bloom bulb for the dining room table!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

cityfarmer said...

I know nothing of which you ask me about perrenials and I just may have an answer....AND ask me how the weather is in the midwest and I will shout from the rooftop.

I swear I could see tulip sightings

Anthony said...

I never grew a hippeastrums but I can relate to the part about my spouse and friends being tired of listening to me talk about plants. :)

Good luck with those last two.

lisa said...

WOW!!! So my method may work eventually after all! Mine has never re-bloomed in 3 years, but I'd kept it in a too small pot til' last summer. Now it appears there are 2 bulbs, so I've begun to fertilize a bit. But no forced dormancy, and I always thought that was my problem. So there's hope for me, yet...nice!