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Wednesday
Mar212018

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?

 

Thursday
May042017

Amaryllis bulb reblooms third year indoors as water-grown houseplant 

Amaryllis bulb kept indoors all year reblooms on water alone

I know others are growing flower bulbs in water, but I have not checked to see if anyone has kept a bulb indoors with its roots in water for years.

Shown are photos of the flowering of my pet bulb, Leafy. This 'Double King' amaryllis has lived with its roots in plain water for nearly three years in front of a sunny sliding glass door in the kitchen. Named for the 2- to 3-foot-long leaves it grows after the flowers fade, the bulb came to me as a testing specimen in the fall of 2014 with two other bulbs that I accidentally let perish. I was drying them out following the traditional instructions to rebloom amaryllis. 

Leafy has increased in size since last year, when the bulb felt somewhat small and fragile beneath its dried layers. Some of the bulb's  papery skin slipped off when I removed it from the top of its vase for the most recent water change. Below is a closeup of what the bulb looks like after years of growing without soil.

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Thursday
Apr202017

Growing flowers in water: Amaryllis 'Double King' bulb lives to bloom again 

Left, my pet 'Double King' amaryllis bulb, Leafy, in Feb. 2015 and, right, earlier this month, April 2017. Note the difference in roots. Here's a post that almost didn't happen. Leafy, my pet 'Double King' amaryllis bulb sent up a flower stalk earlier this month, surprising me for what will be a third year of flowering, if all goes well.

Despite my happiness, I did not get around to taking that early picture.

In my mind, there'd be an ideal side-by-side comparison shot with Leafy in the same window as a February 2015 shot.

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Saturday
Mar182017

Can tulips be forced to bloom indoors on plain water?

At the root of it all: Tulip bulbs supported by marbles to bloom on plain water. Glass vases show the beauty in roots. Tulip bulbs can be forced into bloom indoors, much like amaryllis, paperwhites and hyacinths. I am in my third year of forcing them to bloom on only plain water in vases filled with small stones or florist marbles.

This year, with several inches of snow still lingering, I have an indoor garden that's giving me a happy jumpstart on spring.   

For this round, I decided to experiment with supermarket bulbs instead of my usual mail order bulbs. The results have been mixed. So far, I have a bowl of sprouted muscari (grape hyacinth) bulbs that have had two very dissappointing flower clusters among lots of green shoots (not shown). Previously, mail-order bulbs produced several stunning water-grown grape hyacinth displays.

From this year's supermarket tulip bulbs, I have three perfect tulips, one slightly flawed tulip, one mutant tulip, and four tulip bulbs in one vase that sprouted but never took root. 

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Wednesday
Nov302016

Growing in water: Meet Leafy, my two-year-old pet amaryllis bulb

Second-year bloom on "Leafy," my indoor amaryllis bulb that has been kept alive on plain water since December 2014. The photo was taken on April 23, 2016. See current photo at bottom of post. Growing flower bulbs in water has become a hobby since we first began to experiment in December 2014 with bulbs of grape hyacinth (muscari) and three varieties of amaryllis. (Last year, we tried fragrant hyacinth.)

After they all flowered, there was the question of what to do with them. The small grape hyacinth bulbs were thrown into the backyard, and they bloomed the following spring wherever they landed -- without planting, pampering or care of any stort. As for the amaryllis bulbs, I had read that if you keep them in a cool, dry, dark place that there's a chance they can be forced into indoor bloom again.

Of my three amaryllis candidates, one wasn't in good shape (the much-photographed, red and white amaryllis 'Splash'). The largest and sturdiest, which previous posts and photos reveal was a 'Magnum' bulb, seemed a good candidate for saving over winter.

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