The way to amaryllis –
bulb heaven in a pot

It might take some effort, but amaryllis are worth it.

It might take some effort, but amaryllis are worth it.

Volunteers for children’s gardening scheme wanted on Hayling Island

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It is always good to receive your letters and, as you know, I answer them even if they are not printed... if you send a stamped addressed envelope.

You also give me good ideas for the subjects you would like covered and this week, due to several requests, I am going to run through growing amaryllis in pots.

As soon as the flowers fade it is important to remove them and the seed heads behind the flower. Just pinch them off.

This will cause the long flower stem to die back slowly.

When it is brown it is cut off to the base with a pair of scissors.

Now the bulb is best kept in a light window and given a liquid feed such as Maxicrop for tomatoes or Tomorite, once a month from February until July.

The leaves will take energy from the light and absorb carbon dioxide from the air.

All this energy will pass down into the bulb, hence the need for light.

At this time of year, about the middle of September, the bulb needs to be rested.

It is a good idea to stop watering and feeding.

To encourage the leaves to die back, the pot is best placed on its side in a place where no- one will accidentally water it.

The leaves will gradually wither and by the end of October they should have died back to the bulb.

All the energy in the leaves will have gone into the bulb.

If the leaves have not died down, cut them off with a pair of scissors half-an-inch above the top of the bulb.

In November knock the bulb out of the pot and replant it in the same size pot using dry John Innes number three compost and leave it where you wish it to flower again. But, and this is important, do NOT water it.

Sometimes there will be a daughter bulb growing alongside the large one. This is best removed and potted into a three-inch diameter pot into John Innes number one compost.

The leaves are left intact and they normally remain on the daughter bulb all winter.

In the spring, pot it into the next-sized pot and feed once a month and it will produce flowers after about three years.

We now return to the original bulb.

During January or February tiny frills of foliage will appear at the tip of the bulb.

Wait until a fat bulb can be seen between the frills of foliage, then start watering.

If water is applied too early the leaves will grow but there will be no flowers.

This means I will get lots of letters from readers who didn’t see this article.

I don’t mind one bit, after all I am here to try to help!

TIP OF THE WEEK

Have a look at penstemon in pots at your garden centre. These wonderful herbaceous flowers have lots of flower buds when you buy them, will continue to bloom for many weeks and will flower every year from mid-summer.

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