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Forcing amaryllis bulbs in water: Repeat bloom in progress for a fifth year

The 2019 flower bud is preparing to open (shown right), nearly a month earlier than last year, when my pet bulb, Leafy, was in full bloom on April 28. This will be the bulb's fifth year of bloom as an indoor, water-grown  houseplant. 

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Amaryllis grown in water since 2014 prepares for another bloom season

Water-grown amaryllis blooms for fourth year.

Thank goodness for date stamps on photos. I would probably not have a good handle on the bloom cycle of my pet amaryllis, Leafy, without them.

At left is a photo of Leafy taken last year on April 28. While the flower structure wasn't perfect, who could find fault with a bulb that managed to push out TWO large flowers afer having grown so long -- since the winter of 2014 -- in water alone?

Leafy is an amazing bulb that has, surprisingly, managed to send up a new flower stalk this year (see below) after having been able to produce only one leaf after it bloomed last year.

Most of its energy went into recovery and replacing its entire root system after I made the mistake of feeding it a tiny bit of Miracle-Gro fertilizer after the flowers

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Water-grown amaryllis ready to bloom a fifth season with challenges

The roots of my amaryllis Leafy after fertilizer shock in a July 30, 2018 photo.There are so many reasons that I have failed to post an update on Leafy until now.


Somewhere, there is a picture of Leafy in bloom last year, but I never posted it because an SUV crashed into my car and totaled it at about the same time.

Anyway, the good news is that the crash didn't kill me, and the fertilizer didn't kill Leafy.

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Forcing amaryllis bulbs in water: Reblooming for a fourth season

A water-grown 'Double King' amaryllis bulb grows toward the sunlight through a sliding glass door. 'Double King' amaryllis bulb grown in water will rebloom for fourth year.

Well, that's the headline, but my pet amaryllis Leafy does not look as sturdy as it did in its first year of bloom. This year's slender flower stalk is the thinnest ever. 

I can tell before the flower emerges that Leafy needs fortification. The sun alone did not give this water-grown bulb enough energy to make a stem as healthy as its first year of water-forced blooming.

I have grown Leafy in plain water since 2014, and this year I believe I am seeing the result of insufficient nutrients.

In 2015, the first year the bulb bloomed on water in my possession, leaves emerged along with the flower stem. So far, this year, there's only a flower stem. Last year, the leaves came a bit later, so maybe the same will happen this year.

However, the bulb seems to be as tall at the end of March as it was in early April last year. We'll see what happens next month. 

At any rate, I will be testing the effect of putting a little fertilizer in water with hopes of improving both flowers and foliage growth from the bulb. 

If Leafy's growth doesn't seem stronger as a result, I might need to plant the bulb in the ground, as suggested by Hans Langeveld, co-owner of Longfield Gardens, which was the source of the bulb. 

In the meantime, I will keep looking into the bulb's neck for signs of emerging leaves. And I'll turn it as needed to encourage upright growth as the flower stem leans into the sunlight.





Amaryllis bulb grown in water for years prepares to bloom again

A flower stem emerges. The taller bottom framework of the new patio door required a taller temporary stand for my water-grown bulb. Sometimes life seems really hard. Like when the second day of spring is marked by a snow emergency, and that comes about a week after someone in a big SUV makes a bad turn and wipes out your trusty Toyota.


On such days, being alive to see the falling snow and your pet plant preparing for another year of bloom offers a reason to be thankful and  hopeful.


To catch up any first-timers, my pet amaryllis bulb, Leafy, has been growing mostly indoors and always in plain water since December 2014.


Last summer, I was advised to give some direct outdoor sunlight to the leaves that came after my 'Double King' amayllis bulb's third flowering. I was also advised to put in fertilizer with water changes for this well-rooted bulb. I kept forgetting.


So I decided to see if only giving the bulb's leaves some days of outdoor air and sunlight would improve what I hope will be this year's flowering.


I snipped off the bulb's last withered leaf on Feb. 1, about two months later than usual. The leaves usually begin to wither in early fall, and I am wondering if their lasting longer is a product of increased sunlight.


At the beginning of March, I looked down into the bulb's top and saw the first signs of a flower stem emerging.  In the March 12 photo shown, Leafy is displaying a characteristic purple blush on the tip of a sturdy purple stem. Yes, Leafy, is a handsome plant.


This year, I promise to begin fertilizer as soon as any flowering has passed. I'll also keep more detailed records and try to post more frequently.


In the meantime, does anyone have a nice car to sell?