In the conditions of a rather cold Russian climate, amaryllis blooming in winter is one of the most beloved indoor plants. Its modern varieties come in a variety of shades - from pure white to dark crimson, purple and even green, there are varieties with double and pronounced striped flowers.
These bulbous plants are among the best for home distillation that even the most untrained hobbyist can do. In most regions of Russia, amaryllis, whose homeland is South America, is able to winter only in indoor conditions and has a pronounced dormant period from about the end of October to the beginning of February. The main secret of successful distillation consists in the correct organization of rest for amaryllis.
How to prepare amaryllis for rest. At the end of August - September, it is necessary to abandon fertilizing and slowly begin to reduce irrigation until they completely stop at the end of October - November. Amaryllis will begin to gradually shed its leaves, and by the end of autumn they should all naturally die off. It is not necessary to specially cut off the yellowing leaves, since when dying off, all organic substances from them pass into the bulb, making the necessary supply for subsequent flowering. Sometimes one or two not withered leaves remain for a long time. They are carefully bent or cut at the base of the bulb to save space during storage - for example, on shelves in a cool closet, a heated greenhouse or conservatory, in a warm garage, where the temperature does not drop below zero in winter.
How to store amaryllis at rest. At rest, the bulbs usually keep alive most of the skeletal and largest roots, so they need to be watered occasionally (once every 15-20 days). Pots with resting bulbs are kept in a cool dry place at a temperature of about + 5 ... + 12 ° С, they do not need light. Leave the resting bulbs in pots or loose in boxes for at least eight to nine weeks. Remember: bulbs of hippeastrum and amaryllis are not frost-resistant and are very afraid of even a short-term drop in temperature to negative values!
When does amaryllis usually bloom? At home, the normal flowering period for amaryllis is mid-February - first half of March. But it often happens that amaryllis continue to bloom in April and even in May, especially large bulbs that give a second wave of flowering. You are quite capable of regulating this process and making amaryllis bloom, for example, for Valentine's Day or for the holiday on March 8. 7-10 weeks before the desired flowering time, bring the rested bulbs into a warmer, brighter room and lightly water them. In the future, the frequency of watering should be adjusted depending on the intensity of foliage growth, the temperature and dryness of the surrounding air and the state of the earthen coma. By following these simple guidelines, you will be rewarded with the abundant flowering of your pets every year.
How and when to transplant amaryllis. It is advisable to replant amaryllis and change the soil in pots every 1-2 years and preferably in spring, about 3-5 weeks after flowering. The root system is not cut off during planting and transplanting, but only diseased and dried roots are removed, sprinkling cuts with crushed charcoal. When transplanting, the children, which often appear on the bulbs, are carefully separated and planted in separate pots, indicating the variety. With proper care, babies bloom in about the third or fourth year. When transplanting, the diameter of the pot is increased slightly, since in a "close" container, amaryllis bloom more readily and much faster.You can read more about the correct maintenance and transplantation of amaryllis bulbs in my article Beautiful home flower Amaryllis.
Recommendations for those who are a little late in preparing Amaryllis for rest... Most likely, most of the plants themselves "realized" that it was time to rest, when the day at the end of September - October significantly waned, and it became noticeably colder in the rooms and on the windowsills, especially at night. Such conditions are not very suitable for a stormy vegetation, so the plants naturally shed some of their foliage, preparing for winter dormancy. If you also intuitively guessed that in cool conditions all plants need to be watered much less often and less abundantly, then you will not have to do anything else. And turning on the central heating will surely completely dry out a couple of more yellowing leaves. Then everything is simple: we stop watering the plants and after a few days we put them to rest in some cool and rather dark room. In extreme cases, the shaded corner of the coolest room is suitable, where your plants will stand for another two to three months, until February or March, until you decide it is time for them to get ready for flowering. During storage, the leaves continue to die off and your task is to occasionally remove them, as well as the black dried outer scales of the bulbs, in order to preserve the neat appearance of the plants and prevent the bulbs from rotting when they are resumed watering.
One principle note - all this we are talking about plants that have reached 3-4 years old, have already entered or are ready for regular flowering. Younger plants grown from children are especially not worth drying and forcibly forcing to drop their leaves, although in winter they will also have their own dormant period, during which new leaves stop growing and part of last year's growth dies off. In this cool and relatively dark period, young plants simply need to be watered more rarely and moderately so as not to flood their root system.
Well, if the plant continues to grow rapidly, threw out one or two buds and is about to bloom? It's okay, this option is also quite acceptable, although less desirable. It's just that the plant confused spring with autumn, especially if you continued to water and feed it vigorously. Let the amaryllis bloom naturally, but just in case, slightly reduce the frequency and intensity of watering. And watch your plant. It is possible that you have already poured the onion and this is her "swan song".
If your plant develops well, its peduncles reach normal height, the size of the buds and flowers is not a cause for concern, the flowering is long enough - 10-12 days, then you should not worry too much. It's just that the dormant period for this plant will come a little later than usual. But next spring, alas, most likely, it will no longer bloom.
It is much worse if a few leaves suddenly stopped developing completely and during the summer did not reach their natural length. This may signal some kind of disease of the plant, the trouble of the bulb itself. Secondary signs of poor bulb health include softness, lethargy, lack of firmness, or black or brown spots on the surface. It is bad if you notice rot on the surface or at the base, excess water in the sump after your long absence, or any insects fluttering around the plant. Sometimes the bulb tilts on its side or just hangs out on one or two remaining roots, although normally the root system of amaryllis is well developed and completely encircles an earthen ball.
In this case, it is urgently necessary to carefully remove the bulb together with the earthen clod and inspect.Depending on the state of the root system and the bulb itself, make a decision on the need for an urgent transplant, some kind of resuscitation actions, or just dry it slightly if the root system is slightly waterlogged. In general, amaryllis, like all bulbous plants, are able to do without soil for a long time and, in case of emergency, they may well lie down for a week or two in a cool dark place until you have the opportunity to come to grips with them and plant according to all the rules of agricultural technology, which I have already described in my article the Beautiful home flower Amaryllis.
If there are obvious traces of rot or other damage on the bulb, the first step is to assess the degree and depth of the lesion. It often happens that the lesions are still on the surface of the bulb and it is enough to carefully remove them with a clean clerical knife or scalpel to a depth of 2-3 scales, or remove the affected scales along the entire diameter. Then the bulb must be treated with an effective fungicide, for example, the drug "Maxim", or at least a maroon solution of potassium permanganate or brilliant green, and then dried for 1-2 weeks in the shade or on a shelf in a cool pantry, periodically checking. This usually helps to save amaryllis from further development of diseases and rot. When the problem is localized and defeated, the bulb is planted in fresh soil so that the affected area is slightly above the soil level.
If the problem persists, then resuscitation actions continue until it is possible to stop the spread of the disease. If the rot has touched the bottom of the bulb or struck several roots, part of the bottom, together with the affected roots, is carefully cut out and the wound is treated with a fungicide. And don't rush to land! Dry the bulb well to prevent disease from returning.
An even more difficult situation is created if the bulb has lost almost all of its roots. As long as it does not rot from the inside, it is quite possible to save it! Treat the entire onion with a fungicide after removing all lesions. Next, thoroughly clean all the affected areas and cavities and once again treat with a disinfectant solution. Dry the onion and store in the pantry until February - March, until the life processes that accompany the exit from the dormant state begin to awaken in it. It is even better if you plant it in the pot later - at the end of March or April. Then for sure. I recommend that you first plant the amaryllis in a clear, disposable plastic cup with a volume of 0.5 liters, in slightly damp vermiculite with the addition of a pinch of any root stimulant. It is convenient to observe the development of roots in such a container. Vermiculite needs to be moistened extremely rarely, because a plastic glass practically does not evaporate moisture, and on top of it, almost the entire hole is closed with an onion.
It is also advisable to treat the bulb itself with a root formation stimulant before planting, or hold it for half an hour in a dark pink solution of potassium permanganate, which has both a bactericidal and stimulating role. The newly planted plant should be placed in a bright and moderately warm place without direct sunlight. I have had cases when some bulbs did not want to root for 6-8 months! True, this rarely happens. Therefore, do not despair, but wait patiently and you will be rewarded! If the bulb turns green and elastic in the light, it means that it will definitely survive and, sooner or later, will give new roots, which means that it will bloom again sometime!