affected by weather
January my hippeastrum had six pretty flowers on very short stems
just above the ground. Then in February it bloomed again, this time
five beautiful flowers on a taller stem. Is this usual or a freak
many bulbs, the height of the flower stem is strongly influenced
by temperature. Cool temperatures encourage longer stems while warm
temperatures tend to keep them short.
Many hippeastrum bulbs
sold here have been imported from growers in South Africa and while
they should have been conditioned to flower soon after planting,
the temperature, both in the air and in the potting mix, can affect
It's a good idea to
keep hippeastrums in a relatively cool place for the first few weeks
after potting, then move them into a warmer spot once you see the
flower spike coming up. And to make sure you get a good show of
flowers next year, feed them with a high-potash fertiliser after
flowering until the foliage dies down. You can buy specialist bulb
foods, but rose and tomato fertilisers also have relatively high
levels of potassium.
Another good tip is to
keep the bulbs fairly dry over winter. You can simply lay the pots
on their sides in a dry part of the garden, such as under the house
eaves, then when the bulb shows signs of growth next spring, stand
it upright and give it a good watering.
Gardener, Issue 178, 2005, Page 32
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.