Monday, February 20, 2017

I felt like gardening, but as it's only February, I resolved my gardening needs by making a trip to Agway in Hillsborough. I love the people there; they are friendly, helpful, and knowledgable. A couple of friends had been posting pictures of their amaryllis plants and I wanted one and recently bought two “waxed” amaryllis plants. Melissa told me when the wax crumbles away, I can put the bulb in soil. 
A few days later I looked up amaryllis on the internet. I am building my own gardening manual. I usually read three or four websites and pull together information that pertains to this area. I make notes on planting, watering, and care, and I take photos of "my" plants to put on the page.
I was saddened by the reading of what the growers do to the amaryllis plant to make it a pretty holiday gift. Their marketing makes it an easy, no-care purchase which makes it even more attractive. However, there's a downside.
The roots are cut off at the bulb and a metal piece inserted into the bottom so the plant can sit upright. Then wax is poured around the bulb sealing in whatever moisture is necessary to get the plant through a couple of flowerings (notice I’m saying a couple). The plants sold this way are advertised as needing no water. 
Two things happen from the wax. One is that it keeps roots from growing -- plants get nutrients through their roots. Two, whatever water is sealed within the wax to keep the amaryllis blooming a couple of times, will also rot the bulb. Eventually the plant dies whether from lack of nutrients or bulb rot.
Amaryllis is a beautiful living plant and needs water and a root system to survive. After reading this, I knew I needed a couple of bigger pots, so back to Agway I went as they were having a sale on brightly colored ceramic pots. (I couldn’t resist buying another purple hyacinth which will eventually go out in the garden.) 

My next goal will be to make sure all the wax is off the amaryllis. I will also carefully peel off the outer onion-like layer of skin on the bulb to make sure there is no rot. Once it’s cleaned up, I’ll carefully plant the bulb in good potting soil with plenty of room for the roots to grow (hopefully) and water as needed.