Question: I just bought an amaryllis bulb for the holidays, and after opening the box it was in, I noticed it had already begun to grow while in the box. Will it be OK? Will it still flower? I have it propped up in a sunny window for now. — D. M.
Answer: It was a good idea to remove it from the box and set in a sunny site. Hopefully, the flower stalk wasn’t damaged by being cramped in a box as it sprouted and will grow to support the blooming flower. The bulb must have been subjected to heat to initiate its growth within the box. Make certain it has been watered thoroughly and add water as the soil becomes dry to the touch. Don’t overwater since excessive water may cause it to rot. The bulb should be fine and grow to produce a colorful bloom.
At this time of year, amaryllis bulbs are available pre-potted or unpotted. Place pre-potted bulbs in a sunny location and water. If the bulb needs to be potted, select a pot that isn’t much larger than the bulb. Amaryllis grow best in pots that allow approximately ½ to 1 inch of space between the bulb and the side of the pot. Use a potting mix suitable for indoor plants and set the bulb into the pot so half of it is above the pot’s rim. Add soil around the bulb to within a few inches of the top of the pot. Place in sun and water thoroughly.
Once the bulb blooms, move it out of direct sunlight to prolong its bloom.
Master Gardener Volunteers
Master Gardener Volunteers who have been trained as plant health advisors assist with answering plant related inquiries, like the amaryllis question at the beginning of this column. During the growing season, the plant health advisers have office hours at the Ives Grove Office Building, 14200 Washington Ave., Sturtevant, on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon. At this time of year, office hours are reduced to Thursday mornings when a master gardener or two stop in to check phone and email messages. If planning to visit the plant health advisers in person during the winter, consider calling first to be sure they are available. They can be contacted at 262-886-8451 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Master Gardener Achievement
Congratulations to four local master gardener volunteers for compiling 1,000 hours of volunteer service in the UW-Extension Master Gardener Program since becoming certified master gardeners. They are: Jill Anderson, Wilmot; Carol Wargo, Racine; Henry Wellner, Racine; and Judy Wilson, Sturtevant. Their contributions, along with those of all master gardener volunteers, are truly appreciated by UW-Extension and our local communities.Jeanne Hilinske-Christensen is the UW Extension Interim Horticulture Educator for Kenosha and Racine counties. Submit plant care questions to the Master Gardener Plant Health Advisors. email@example.com or call 262-886-8451.