Amaryllis are one of the world’s famous flowers.  You will most likely see them around Christmas time. The name Amaryllis means “to sparkle” in Greek – making them a great gift to give to friends and love ones. These plants are native to South America and South Africa.  Nowadays most Amaryllis plants are grown in green houses around the world.  Amaryllis plants can have single or double blooms, with petals that are frilled at the edges.   They come in various

shades of red, white, pink, salmon and orange.

Amaryllis Plants

The plants can grow up to 10 inches wide, with a top stalk being 18 to 36 inches tall.  Amaryllis are most often grown indoors to provide bright colors in a winter home, but they can also be planted in the spring and bloom in the summer.


Planting Tips:

Plant bulbs in a nutritious potting soil. Plant the bulb up to its neck in soil, being careful not to damage the roots. Press the soil down firmly to set the bulb securely in place after planting. You can dig up bulbs after the blooms die off and store them for future use.  Amaryllis are a gorgeous flower to brighten up your life, no matter the season.

The Cultivation Of Amaryllis And The Amelanchier

The Cultivation Of Amaryllis And The Amelanchier

Firstly dealing with the Amaryllis, they are well known hardy bulbous plants.

The belladonna lilies are splendid plants for a warm shrubbery border or for planting in front of warm sheltered south walls, where they may be allowed to establish themselves without fear of fatalities through frost. They must on no account be confused with the greenhouse amaryllis, which would be dealt with under the botanical name of Hippeastrum.

To cultivate the Amaryllis the bulbs should be planted 9 inches deep in a fairly rich compost of sandy loam and leaf-mould. They will not tolerate stagnant moisture in the soil, and it is therefore advisable to excavate to a depth of 3 ft. and place a layer of clinkers and brickbats in the bottom of the trench. In cold districts it is advisable to cover them over with a layer of leaves or straw in the winter, both as a protection against frost and also to shoot off over-heavy rain. Copious waterings should be given during the summer months, and an annual mulch of well-rotted manure is also beneficial. It is not advisable to disturb the bulbs once they are established at more frequent than five-yearly intervals. When transplanting, it is essential it is best done immediately the foliage has withered.

Propagation of the Amaryllis is accomplished by means of offsets, which are detached from the parent bulbs and planted out in light soil in the autumn. They should not be disturbed for three or four years, when they may be transferred to their flowering quarters. All very well worth the effort, to see the large fragrant flowers of the Amaryllis belladonawhich are a delicate pink, shading to white.

Secondly the Amelanchier which are hardy deciduous flowering trees and shrubs.

The amelanchiers are very useful trees or vigorous shrubs for small gardens, flowering freely in the spring. They thrive quite well in town gardens, where Amelanchier vulgaris is popularly known as the Snowy Mespilus.

If you want to cultivate the Amelanchier then you will need reasonably good loamy soil, neither too light nor too heavy. There is no doubt this suits amelanchiers best. They do not thrive well in very sandy ground nor in that which readily becomes waterlogged. Young trees should be planted at any time from late October till early March, choosing so far as possible open weather when the ground is in good working condition for this task. No regular pruning is required, though if any lopping or thinning becomes necessary through lack of space for natural development this may be done safely in February.

To propagate the Amelanchier, seeds may be sown outdoors in March, but this is not a good means of propagation for the amateur, as germination is often very slow, and in any case many years must elapse before the seedlings develop into good-sized specimens for garden decoration. A better method of increasing stock is by layering young growths in spring.

Whilst growing from seed can be a major triumph, many middle aged gardeners might quite rightly fear of not being around to see the fruits of their labours.

Ian has a great interest in gardening and writes occasional articles. Come and visit his newest website at Orthomatic Adjustable Beds and specifically Electric Adjustable Beds

Amaryllis Bulbs -The Secret to Getting Them to Re-bloom

Amaryllis Bulbs -The Secret to Getting Them to Re-bloom

Perhaps you received an amaryllis bulb as a gift for the holidays. No other interior flower can add such a volume of delightful color in a home during the long winters than the amaryllis. With so many colors to choose from – white, with streaks of red, various shades of red, orange,and yellow you will certainly want to take care of your plant to insure that it reblooms year after year. It’s not hard to do once you know the secrets.


The large amaryllis bulbs are often purchased in potted kit form with directions included. These potted bulbs require only watering and light to begin growth. Plants which are already growing are available at many flower shops.

If you purchase unpotted bulbs, choose a pot or container having drainage only 1-2 inches larger in diameter than the bulb’s diameter. When planting the bulb there should be only ¾ to 1 inch of space between the bulb and the sides of the pot. Use a potting soil consisting of equal parts garden loam, peatmoss, and Perlite or sand. Packaged, commercial potting soils having good drainage may also be used.

Plant the bulb so the top one-third to one-half of the bulb is above soil. After planting, water thoroughly and place in a warm, sunny window.

Care After Planting

Water thoroughly when the container soil is dry to the touch. Excessive moisture can cause bulb rot. As roots begin to develop and fill the container, the soil will dry more quickly and watering should be adjusted accordingly.
In several weeks a flower bud will begin to emerge. The bud will usually, but not always, appear before the foliage. Once the growth of the bud and foliage has begun, rotate the container daily to prevent the plant from leaning toward the light. Plants will occasionally require staking to keep the flower stalk in an upright position. To do so, gently insert a stake into the soil using care not to injure the bulb. Then carefully tie the stalk to the stake. Stakes may also be inserted at planting time.

If you’d like to prolong bloom, try the following method. When the flower bud begins to open, use tweezers to remove the yellow anthers inside the flower before they shed pollen. This may extend the flower bloom by several days. When the amaryllis is in full bloom the flowers will last longer if the plant is moved to a cooler room at night (55-65 degrees) and kept out of direct sunlight during the day. Large bulbs may send up two or three additional flower stalks.

After Flowers Fade

Remove the flowers after they fade. The withered flower stalk can be removed with a sharp knife near the neck of the bulb. Do not cut off any foliage, because the leaves are needed for photosynthesis to replenish food reserves in the bulb. It is essential to keep the foliage growing vigorously, because after flowering, the bulb initiates flower buds for next year’s bloom.

How to Rebloom the Amaryllis

It can be challenging to coax an amaryllis to rebloom each year. It’s easily accomplished if certain procedures are followed. The key to rebloom is found in the plant’s native habitat. The amaryllis is a native of the tropics, a region receiving nine months of rainy weather and three months of dry weather. The plant grows lush leaves throughout the rainy season, but when the dry season approaches the plant enters a rest period or dormancy in which the leaves die down and the plant remains inactive. When the rainy season begins again, the plant produces a rapid flush of growth accompanied by a flower stalk. Therefore, the blooming time of the amaryllis is regulated by the moisture of the environment. After blooming in its native habitat, the plant continues to grow throughout the remainder of the moist season. During this period the plant is storing up energy and forming flower buds in the underground bulb for next year’s bloom. Continue fertilizing twice each month. This outdoor growth period is critical. It is during this time that the amaryllis plant is storing up energy to produce flower buds inside the bulb for next year.

In late summer before frost take the plant indoors and discontinue watering, but give it full light. Keep the pot in a cool (50-60°F) basement or upstairs room. The leaves will usually die down during this rest period which is like the dry season of the tropics. After the leaves die, the plant may be stored in the dark.

In mid-winter repot the bulb into a pot no more than 2 inches larger than the bulb’s diameter. (Amaryllis perform better if slightly pot bound.) Plant the bulb so that only the lower half or two-thirds of the bulb is covered with well-drained potting soil. Use caution to avoid unnecessarily disturbing roots. If a total repotting isn’t needed, simply remove some soil at the top of the pot and add fresh soil leaving the bulb intact.

In mid to late winter you’re ready to bring the plant into regrowth. Place the plant in a sunny south window and water well. Healthy growth should soon begin with either leaves or the flower stalk beginning growth first.

Pest and Disease Problems with Amaryllis

It is a rare plant that isn’t plagued by some insects and diseases. The amaryllis is no exception, although its problems are few in number. The North Dakota Extension Service list the following pests and diseases and gives advice on how to control them.

Spider Mites:Reduce population by forceful spray of water. Control with an application of an approved miticide.

Thrips:Because of the scraping-sucking mouth parts, thirps can be one of the causes for the amaryllis to fail flowering. Control by spraying with a forceful water spray and the use of an approved systemic insecticide.

Viruses:These cause a blotchy or mottled appearance on the foliage. Generally, there is no recovery or cure for virus infections. It is best to dispose of the affected plant to prevent spread to other plants via feeding insects or handling.

Fungus Diseases:Seldom a problem with amaryllis in the home. To prevent, avoid high humidity, crowding of plants and splashing water on the foliage. Use of a labeled fungicide in the early stages of infection may be effective.

Failure to Bloom

Julia is a Master Gardener, floral designer, and garden crafter. Married to a landscape contractor, they enjoy gardening on their 5 acre flower farm and sharing it with others. Visit their web site at Flowers,Plants,Gardening

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Long Term Calla Lilies

Long Term Calla Lilies

While the lily plant grows with green leaves, the bulb is being recharged. The longer you can keep the lily growing, the better recharging and the bigger the bulb gets. You should continue to water the lily. Do not cut the stem back until the leaves fall off by them selves and the stem dies back. Sometimes, the stem will die back from disease, but most often you can get the lily to grow for a long time which is good. Do not cut the stem back before the lily stem has withered.

In your area, the temperatures may not be as low as to make the lily bulb “go to sleep” naturally and vernalize, cooling period which prompts the lily plant to bloom again. Therefore, if the lily has not started to show signs of going “back to sleep” nine months after flowering, you can put the pot ,and all, in a spare fridge set at a low temperature 33-35F. As low as you can without freezing. Gradually begin to withhold water.

Do not worry about lack of sunshine during this period. After the stem has died back, you keep the lily in the cold temperatures for six weeks and bring it back out. It should not be “programmed” to start growing again and flower.

Calla Lilies are most certainly perennial. In your region, a very mild usda zone nine, you can plant all your Calla Lilies in the ground and if you water and feed them they will all grow beautifully. It sounds like you are enjoying the blooms on your Callas. If you really want to impress your husband, memorize the following word “Zantedeschia”, the scientific name for this is plant. There are two kinds of Calla Lilies/ Zantedeschia.

One is the kind that loses its leaves when it rests. The other just stops flowering and doesn’t grow much, but it still has leaves. The first one is big and white, occasionally yellow. The second one is a little smaller and brightly colored. First, the “bulbs”, which are really called “Rhizomes” , of deciduous, leaf-losing, Calla Lilies look completely different from the large, evergreen white-and-green florist Calla Lilies. Rhizomes of deciduous, colored Calla Lilies are flat, round wafers, typically with bulls-eyes or dark circles. They grow best in bright sun and can dry out between waterings.

If the flower on your Calla Lily is pink, red or plum, and it has finished blooming, and when is at the end of the growing season, the leaves will begin to turn yellow. That would tell you that you have a deciduous Calla Lily. The kind that loses its leaves when it is resting. Just water it once in a while. Don’t let it get completely dry. The leaves will drop and the plant will look like you have killed it. “This is normal”. Don’t give up. Now, I must warn you: Even very experienced gardeners are rarely successful long-term with deciduous Calla Lilies.

But maybe you have the other Calla Lily. This one is the large, white florist’s Calla Lily. It is two too three feet tall and has solid green leaves. This one keeps its leaves and looks so beautiful, most people have to touch it to see if it is real, even when it is not blooming. The rhizomes are long and oval, with a larger end that is placed up when it is planted. These are strong and said to be hardy to zone seven. They need lots of water.

Remember, Ximelle,”all” Calla Lilies Must have a rest period. If you have the colorful, deciduous, slightly smaller Calla Lily described first, this is where many gardeners give up. That’s because keeping a dormant plant can feel like a total waste of time. You are sitting with a pot of dirt that seems to have absolutely no use whatsoever other than to take up space and occasionally fall over and spill its contents. Anyone you live with will think you can’t admit you have a brown thumb. The dog will knock it over and play with it.

At our house, the nanny considered all dormant potted plants utterly worthless. One weekend she did us the “favor” of throwing out a potted Amaryllis bulb; I rescued it just in time from the rubbish, but not before we argued as to whether there was anything actually growing in that pot of bone dry dirt under the pantry cabinets. A few months later, of course, there were green stems sprouting from the dry dirt. She was amazed. But that’s what happens.

A dormant potted plant, whether deciduous Calla Lily or Amaryllis, is not a pretty sight. Keep your pot in the coolest spot in the house that you can find without “Freezing”, and you have the perfect winter location for your Calla Lily. Check it every so often for signs of life. Water it so that it does not completely dry out, once every two weeks or so. Now, your Calla Lily plant will go dormant sooner or later.

If it seems to be slowing down in the next few weeks, to try watering and fertilizing it through the summer. If you live in the Northeast, or somewhere that snow falls and it gets cold enough to skate on the local pond, you should keep it in the same pot all summer and make sure you water it faithfully. If you check the different colors, you will see that even thought they are all Calla Lilies, they bloom for different lengths, depending on the color/species. So don’t feel that you have to induce dormancy. It will tell You when it’s time for a rest.

Take care of your growing Calla until the end of the summer or at least until the leaves begin to yellow and wither. Slow down on the watering without letting it dry out completely and see if all the leaves fall off. And if it appears that you’ve killed it, keep the pot slightly moist and cool through the holiday season and don’t forget to water it. Remember, it’s the dormancy period where most gardeners throw in the towel.

Growing Calla Lilies need rich soil, bright light and moisture. Some people think Callas are good plants for beginners because it is so hard to overwater them, a common and fatal beginner’s habit for other plants and very helpful if you are growing a Calla Lily. Drying these out while they’re growing makes them go dormant. Drying them out totally while they are dormant will turn them into good additions to your compost pile. In the wilds of Florida and Louisiana, these plants thrive at the edge of a tropical pond or lake where it never dries out.

“White Flower Farm” success depends on explaining the keys to growing the plants they sell and I think they have done a good job on the Calla Lily. If you can get past the unfamiliar vocabulary, think of a “Rhizomes” as just a funny looking bulb that you plant sideways; with little bumps that sprout into plants, you can see why these Calla Lilies are so popular. The hardest part is the patience you need to get through deciduous dormancy, if of course that is the kind of Calla you have.

“The Spider Mites” are easy. These are indoor plant bugs. Put these plants outside and the Spider Mites will be wiped out in a day. They can’t take dryness and they can’t take cool weather. Then when you bring these plants in, mist them every day and try to keep the air in the house more humid. A few hours in the bathroom while you’re taking a shower will keep the Spider Mites from ruining your Callas.