Raising amarylis

My black thumb is showing

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The amarylis that Dean gave me at Christmas took its own sweet time about showing signs of life, and now that it has, it doesn't look anything like pictures of normal amarylises— or amarylisi.

Dean was ever so kind. She even planted the bulb in a lovely pot to give it every advantage. She provided instructions for its TLC, as one would expect a nurse to do.

amarylis
Amarylis hibernated from December through March

I brought it home and watered it faithfully. Nothing happened. For three months nothing happened. It looked on April 1 exactly as it looked on January 1. At my every sign of waning confidence in this project, Dean would advise to just "keep it moist in a bright sunny window." Moist I could do; a bright sunny window I could not do without major remodeling.

When spring seemed just around the corner, I moved the amarylis outdoors with the other plants where it could get plenty of sun. Still nothing. Granted, conditions were not ideal: I was not going to build it a special hothouse to protect it from the cold nights, and realistically I was not going to bring it indoors at night. That's just too much to expect of a charter member of the Black Thumb Society.

 apro 1 - first signs of life

Eventually, on April 8, a small shoot emerged from the dried stuff at the top of the bulb. I was ecstatic that the amarylis showed signs of surviving. I proudly sent photographic evidence to other friends who had also received an amarylis as a gift. Bob said, "Can't you see, it's sticking its tongue out at you?" So much for that.

apr 28 - division into two

By the end of April, it was more clear that two of something were going to emerge. It wasn't exactly clear what, but an obvious split was happening.

May 4 - blossoms

Ta-da! It seems the two of something are two blossoms. But they bear little resemblance to pictures of amarylis that I can find on the internet. And they have almost no stems! The blossoms seem to emerge right from the bulb. Like those weight-lifters you see at the gym who have no neck.

It clearly wasn't meant to be. Amarylis has already begun to shrivel up and die without ever displaying the typical big, showy blossom. Perhaps it doesn't like a "dry heat."

May 11 May 11

Beyond all hope.

May 19
Amarylis, December 2005-May 2006, RIP