Sunday, October 25, 2009

Amaryllis anxieties

After losing multiple amaryllis bulbs last year, I am more than a little anxious about this year's cycle. Those remaining are my favorite bulbs for sentimental or aesthetic reasons. Can't let anything happen to them!

So, this weekend, I started the bulbs on their countdown to next year's bloom. "Royal Velvet," "Minerva," and "Ruby Meyer" had spent the summer in the bright light of south-facing windows. Thanks to restraint in watering and fertilizing, their leaves were green, their bulbs looked firm, and this "Minerva" amaryllis had even sprouted a fat little off-spring.

The bulblet released easily from its mother. Hopefully this baby will actually sprout. So far, I've had no success with growing bulblets. And, even worse, last year's mother bulb expired after giving birth.

Because last year's amaryllises were plagued by death and decay and because this treatment had seemed to help, I dusted the bulbs with a copper fungicide.

Again, thinking of the rotted-out bags I discovered in the refrigerator after 12 weeks of chilling last winter, I placed the bags on a layer of crumpled newspaper hoping that this will promote better air circulation.

The final step was following good garden hygiene by scrubbing the pots in a dilute bleach solution.

Well, it's not quite correct. The true final step is waiting--anxiously--for five months.

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