The Amaryllis season is beginning

Gone are the days when I needed to go to the basement every week to go through the many pails of canna bulbs, the 100 potted calla lilies, hundreds of gladiola bulbs, etc.  Now I only have about ten pots of amaryllis and when I went to the basement in late January, I noticed that some were coming out of dormancy.

Every summer, I bring my potted amaryllis outside until the threat of frost and then it’s back to the basement.  When they start growing, water them and take to a place where they will have full sun.  You shouldn’t need to fertilize the plant until after it has bloomed.  Once the bulb begins to bloom, pull it back from the sunny window, as the heat will cause the flowers to mature and fade more rapidly.

After it blooms, nip off each flower bud as it begins to fade and look shabby.  Remove each flower below the ovary—that’s the little bulge that contains developing seeds.  Bulbs waste energy making seeds, and unless you plant to hybridize new varieties, there is no reason to keep the seeds.

After the flowers have faded, treat your amaryllis as a sun-loving houseplant until late May or early June when it’s warm enough to move the pots outdoors.  Put them in partial shade at first, and then move them to full sun and it starts all over again.

Some reminders of upcoming events include the Chisago Lakes Home, Garden and Business Show that will be held at the Chisago Lakes High School Feb. 23 and 24.  Stop at our booth for more information about upcoming events.

On Feb. 26, Jim Birkholz will be back at the Senior Center in North Branch, speaking on apple pests and diseases.  Jim will also talk about some new pest problems facing us here in Minnesota.

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