What does a red-dirt-garden girl do in winter, or even late fall while her garden gently sleeps? I can’t speak for anyone else in red-dirt land, but I plant amaryllis and paperwhite bulbs.
It’s raining outside this afternoon so I couldn’t plant all the tulips I purchased a few months ago.
Yeah, that’s my excuse. I need to dip my tulip bulbs in Plantskydd Deer Repellent, but I’m also afraid our blasted hound dog will smell the repellent and dig up my tulips. Eaten by voles, or dug up by a precocious hound? Tough choice.
Last week, I planted the amaryllis I ordered. Funny thing . . . I forgot which company I’d ordered them from, so they sat outside in their box in the garage for about a month. So did my ‘Conca d’Or’ lilies.
One day I was wondering where my amaryllis bulbs were, and I thought, uh oh . . . .
I sliced open the tape and popped the top off of one of the boxes afraid of what I would find, but the bulbs were fine. In fact, look at them already growing. I can even see the tip of a flower. The lilies were fine too. Bulbs are pretty tough. However, I planted the lilies outside the moment I found them in their peat moss. I knew where I wanted them so it was easy.
For those who want to know, I ordered the Red Amaryllis Special from Van Engelen Bulbs which included ‘Merry Christmas,’ ‘Inferno,’ and ‘Miracle.’ I’m not sure why I only ordered red-flowering amaryllis, but today, I ordered some white-flowering ones as well, the White Clouds Duo from Easy to Grow Bulbs. I’ll get one each of ‘Snow Drift’ and ‘White Christmas.’ If you’d like to know more about my amaryllis addiction check out the first episode of our second season in podcasting, Amaryllis, Mast Years, and The Artist’s Garden.
Yes, that’s right! We’re on our second season of the Gardenangelists. Thanks for listening! In connection with our second season, we’ve started The Gardenangelists’ Garden Club on Facebook. Come join us!
I potted up Narcissus tazetta ‘Grand Soleil d’Or’ and ‘Wintersun’ paperwhites today. Then, I asked my friend, Elizabeth Licata, of Garden Rant and Gardening While Intoxicated if I needed to refrigerate ‘Grand Soleil d’Or’ for a couple of weeks. I thought I remembered that information, but I wanted to confer.
Elizabeth knows all things bulbs, planting about a thousand each year, some in her garden, and others in pots to bring out later. She also forces some bulb varieties.
You may be thinking, aren’t those all the same thing? But, no each method is different. Elizabeth recently did a YouTube video about growing bulbs in pots including forcing. Since I’ve waited so long to get my tulips in the ground, I may plant mine in containers and overwinter them next to my greenhouse. It is certainly easier than digging 400+ holes in my garden, and the voles can’t eat them.
I might pull some of my cobalt blue pots off of the deck and use them. The only problem with growing them in pots is that sometimes, in Oklahoma, we don’t get much of a spring, and the tulips fade more quickly. I’m still thinking about it, but the picture below has me leaning toward it again.
A couple of days ago, after Carol Michel and I recorded Paperwhites, Brussels sprouts, and the Truth About Houseplants on the Gardenangelists, I had to buy more paperwhites. Of course, I did. If you listen to our podcast, you’ll hear Carol and I discuss how I hate the scent of ‘Ziva,’ but not all paperwhites stink. After I had so much fun potting up ‘Wintersun,’ I bought two more varieties of paperwhites. Because they will get here in a few days, I will pot them up then and extend my bloom season for a week. This time, I ordered ‘Inball‘ and ‘Ariel.’ If you want sweetly-scented paperwhites, order them now before they’re all gone.
There is nothing easier than growing amaryllis, but if you want them to bloom for Christmas, you need to plant them right now.
I, however, don’t care if they bloom for Christmas or afterward. I really need their flowers more in January and February when I’m tired of winter. I’m also going to pot up some hyacinths to force inside. I need to get those done immediately because they must sit in the garage refrigerator for ten to eleven weeks before they can come inside and start growing. Don’t place bulbs in a refrigerator that has fruit especially apples. Ethylene gas from ripening fruit kills off the baby flower inside the bulb.
I hope this post entices you to grow amaryllis and other bulbs, like paperwhites, this winter. If this doesn’t work, maybe our podcast will.
As always, thanks for reading!