Thursday, November 26, 2015
I have tried many of the methods over the years, like putting a Poinsettia in a box at regular times for 12 hours of darkness, it doesn't work, you will forget and the flowers will not form later! Apparently just a crack of light will ruin the cycle, so it is a challenge. I had one Poinsettia for about 10 years, after a while they become like small bonsai trees, the leaves become smaller than the greenhouse grown ones you buy and the trunks become bare and beautifully twisted. The old Poinsettia was more reliable on flowering so I'm guessing the older the better. Maybe you have seen Poinsettias in your travels? I've seen them in Los Angeles growing to the height of a two story building and with the red bracts in the winter, we may love that idea but I know the Californians wish they had snow for Christmas!
So give it a try! I haven't done this in a while as the new neighbours like to leave their outside lights on all the time, remember too much light will ruin the flowering so if you have a reliably dark area away from streetlights and porch lights and warm enough thru the night it's worth a shot!
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Like a lot of us you probably bought one in a box, hopefully when they go on sale!, they usually come with a pot and soil and directions, follow accordingly. I don't always use the pot and soil they come with however as I think they prefer a clay pot, and so do I!!!! You can always use a better potting soil if you want because they usually just come with some peat moss and I think these bulbs would like something a little more nutritious and some improved drainage. I always add some rocks for drainage and a little pearlite to the soil wouldn't hurt either, afterall these guys are native to South Africa!
After the flowers have faded, you may want to clip them off individually as they fade, snip off the whole spent flower cluster just under where they split off from the main stalk. Leave the stalk to wither away and remove easily when it's completely dried out. Amaryllis won't need as much water as when flowering, but keep watering about once a week and fertilize with a 20-20-20 solution once a month through the summer. At this point I let them grow outside until the first frost.