Sunday, December 10, 2017

AMARYLLIS: MY LUCKY FLOWER


MY LUCKY FLOWER:

I have lived 29 full years of my life in Malabon.  A sleepy old fishing town that became a city in 2001... I was raised in a community with lots of weird but interesting superstitious beliefs.

One of them, the story of the flower known as "Baston ni San Jose".  My nanay believed that when it blooms, there is something special about to happen. When we transferred from Malabon to Quezon City 9 years ago, we brought with us one huge pot of this plant. But it was just last year that I decided what to do with it.  All those years... it has bloomed maybe once or twice. And yes... it brought me some luck!


 


AMARYLLIS

It was just recently that I learned that its english name is Amaryllis. And it used to be the favorite flower of lifestyle guru Martha Stewart (sosyal!).  Thanks to a dear friend Victor for giving me these info  :)

The bulbs we call Amaryllis are in the genus Hippeastrum, originally from South America. Hipeastrum hybrids, now grown commercially in South Africa and the Netherlands, come in an increasing range of colors and sizes.


REPLANTING MY AMARYLLIS

I observed over the years, that my Amaryllis didn't really need much care. I practically left it growing in one shady part of the garden. Sometimes, I would forget watering them. And, very seldom did it flower.



So one weekend, hubby and I decided to replant it.  The bulbs were too crowded in one pot, so we had a hard time removing them one by one.




We were so surprised to discover more than 30 bulbs, of varied sizes, in the single pot. All of them have strong root system.  We did not know what to do with it.  Replanted around 10-15 of them in black plastic bags.  


The rest, we placed in a plastic container.  Then I forgot all about it. After 2 weeks, I remembered that I had to continue with my replanting. Lo and behold -- the rest of the bulbs didn't die.  They were looking very much the same as we left them, under a table.   I thought  "hindi pala maselan".



Replanting the Amaryllis is very easy. Just put a bulb into the soil, just enough that the neck and shoulder of the plant is just by the rim of the pot. The bigger the bulb, the bigger the pot. Choose a pot that is stable -- clay pots are ideal -- because the plant has the tendency to be "top-heavy" when its full grown. So it needs a sturdy pot.  Water the pot regularly, keeping it moist, but not soggy. 

Surprisingly, you still have two other choices of how to plant your amaryllis.  It can also grow well in water and coco peat. 




Three months after transplanting my Amaryllis, it bloomed. And is constantly blooming.  I left it outside in full sun. From my childhood memory, I remembered seeing just four flowers emerging from the bud. But this time, I saw 5-6 flowers per bud.  Seems I did the right thing by transplanting them and removing them from the crowded pot. They rewarded me with more flowers. And more blessings!  (Lucky, lucky flower)

My goal now... to buy more Amaryllis in different vibrant color!

SAW THIS AT CENTRIS SUNDAY MARKET


OTHER TIPS IN GROWING AMARYLLIS

-  As your Amaryllis bulb gets larger, you will need to increase the size of the pot.
-  Some warmth is needed when you are forcing it to bloom, but flowers will last longer if 
   the plant is kept in a cool spot once it blooms.
-  the reasons why it doesn't bloom are no rest period, insufficient light while actively 
   growing  and poor nutrients in the soil.  What to do in a rest period? Cut the wilted flower 
   stem just on top of the bulb; 







-  stop watering and store it in a dark place. 8-12 weeks later,  you will see that the leaves      have withered, and an emerging flower bulb. You just have to determine when you want 
   to have your bloom, example just in time for Valentines day.  Then just count backwards, 
   8-12 later, that will be the start of your rest period or dormant stage.

Will update you the soonest dear readers... if I get to buy additional Amaryllis to grow. For now, I would just stare and enjoy my blooms as it brings me more luck in the coming year!