Saint Myrna Pullin di Hippeastrum

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I was on a secret mission in Rockford last week and noticed a friend’s mother had been blooming some amazing flowers in her home.  The bulbs were the size of baseballs, partially exposed above the soil with thick shoots a couple feet long in some cases, which exploded into nice, healthy tropical flowers.  I was stunned and we discussed the flowers and her history with distributing these bulbs amongst her friends for many years.

Myrna referred to these plants as Amaryllis, which is a common misnomer according to Wikipedia.  It looks like Hippeastrum is the South American variety which is easier to bloom and more commercially available in the US, while Amaryllis is the South African genus from the same family Amaryllidaceae.

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“Fresh” out of the bag, after a period of storage/dormancy. 

Hippeastrum bulbs can be purchased at garden centers; choosing a large healthy bulb will pay off in the strength of your plant and the number of flowers it produces.  Bulbs don’t usually produce flowers for the first two seasons so it’s good to have patience, however, better garden centers will sell older bulbs that are likely to bloom 6-10 weeks after planting.  Once they are 4 years old they might start producing offspring bulbs that you can share.  A reputable source I can recommend is Van Engelen.

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Roots trimmed a bit, ready for potting.

Two of my sources said to trim the excess roots so I did, a bit, but was a bit nervous and tried not to go too far…  I planted in a mix of 40% potting soil, 40% vermicompost and 20% peat moss.  This has been the mix I use for most applications.  

Looking at the first photo, I’m wondering if I gave enough room to the two bulbs on the right; they’re not supposed to have too much room but…  And will there be adequate drainage for the two in the middle, their roots need to breathe more than many plants?  Any thoughts?

A master gardner in Colorado has this excellent post on raising Hippeastrum/Amaryllis.

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