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Plantgasm - I love plants too much. By Derek Powazek.

Forgotten Amaryllis Bloom

Keep any plant long enough, and your life’s stories start to stick to them. Here’s the story of one of my Hippeastrum* bulbs.

Years ago, for some forgotten holiday, my sister gave me an Amaryllis kit as a gift. I planted it, it grew and flowered, and it died back, as usual. (Technically, it’s a Hippeastrum, which is a genus in the Amaryllis family.)

I grew it every season for years, and every year it threw out leaves but no flower. I tried it in various places. I tried fertilizer. I tried wintering it in and out of soil. No dice.

Eventually I pulled the bulb out of its pot, stuck it in a paper bag, put it under the sink, and forgot about it. It was there until we moved, and then moved again. It was away from soil and light for at least three years, probably more. I found it at the bottom of a bag of garden stuff a few months ago, and decided to give it one last try.

It’s been in soil for months without any sign of life. Then a few weeks ago, a bud shot up. Over the course of a week, while it was raining outside and we were sick inside, it bloomed. I can’t remember the last time I saw this particular Amaryllis bloom, but it was probably a decade ago.

I know it’s just your average Amaryllis, but to me it’s glorious. And it’s a nice reminder that sometimes things just happen at their own pace. No plant blooms before it wants to.

One shot per minute for five days. I turned the plant at the end so you could see it. Forgive the hippy music – the song’s just been stuck in my head today. Also, you can really get a feel for how fast these blooms grow when you compare it to the Phalaenopsis orchid in the background, which barely moves the whole time.

* I’m not certain which Hippeastrum it is, but I’m guessing it’s the “Apple Blossom” cultivar.

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4 Responses

I’m not commenting, but I’m enjoying a lot of your gardening adventures.

Posted by Vincent Eaton on 28 March 2011 @ 3am

Hippy music needs no forgiveness. Some of the best music on the planet was created by hippies. Nice timelapse also. I just might have to try growing from bulbs one of these days.

Posted by Gary on 28 March 2011 @ 6am

That is such a cool time lapse video! No plant blooms before it wants to — definitely something to keep in mind. Definitely a glorious bloom to reward you after such a long wait. I’m just amazed that after two moves, it was still with you.

Posted by Bom on 28 March 2011 @ 7am

I have similar problems getting my amaryllis to bloom the following year.
Maybe I will take them out of their pots, put them in a paper bag and let them go dormant for a year. Plants are amazing!

Posted by morris powazek on 30 March 2011 @ 9am


Plantgasm is where Derek Powazek chronicles his botanical antics and misadventures. More.