03 September 2011

No green thumbs on these hands

I’m an awful plant owner. 

We have three plants living in our house: an orchid, a ficus, and I think an amaryllis.  I’m pretty sure if my poor plants could talk they would scream in fear every time my husband leaves and they get left in my care. 

The probable-amaryllis has the most to fear from me at the moment.  (I have a feeling my comment field’s going to ping with the correct answer to my flower ambiguity about five seconds after I post this.)  It was a gift from my mother a few years back, and after a half hour of internet searching I’ve seen lots of amaryllises (amaryllii?) with our same pot and I think I remember seeing that flower on the box when we got it. 

Who knows?  That’s not the point.  The point is it has not once flowered in our house and I finally decided to heed my sister’s advice and look up how to properly care for a bulb plant.

And of course the first thing I read was not to put it in a sealed pot, which is exactly the kind of pot it came in.  So one screwdriver and a good deal of effort later I’m left with a cracked pot bottom and a shower of soil all over my kitchen sink.  Good start.

Also, I think this thing gets watered by the husband about every three days.  That might be too much?  Is once a week better?  And how often would all these East Coasters and Midwesterners water a plant if they lived in a desert?  I keep reading all this “cool, dry place” business and let me tell you – cool is not happening.  Dry I can manage, no problem.  Ten percent humidity is an Arizona standard.  But cool? 

Like I might have mentioned once or twice on this blog and even in this post, I live in Arizona.  We don’t do basements or cellars.  We can’t even get cold tap water nine months out of the year.  If you want cold water out of the tap, you rig a strainer filled with ice up to the faucet.  (Desert rats take note – I got that tip from a Facebook friend and I’m paying it forward because it works-ish.)  Outside of my refrigerator the coolest any part of my house gets is about 78 degrees, this time of year.  That’s not even close to the 60-something I’m seeing on the web. 

(Do people still call it the web?  I feel like that’s some holdover from the 90’s all of a sudden, like “cyberspace” or “the Net” – although Sandra Bullock is holding up incredibly damn well, come to think of it.  Good on her.  Okay I’m rambling.)

Plus, some sites say to take the bulb out of the soil to make it go dormant and some say not to and some say to do it in summer and some in fall and some when the leaves start to turn yellow and some say to cut the leaves down to the bulb and others say leave two inches…  All I want is the industry standard, people!  Gosh!

It’s enough to drive a girl crazy.  The internet is not remotely helpful for advice.  It’s as bad as reading scientific literature, with everyone all defending their mole hills, except on the internet it’s a lot harder to sift out bullshit.

Can someone help me?  How does one get a flower out of an amaryllis (probably) bulb?

My poor plants.


  1. I do not know how to care for amaryllis, but I have a grandmother who I would trust my life to as regards anything horticultural. When she gets back to me I'll let you know.

  2. This has absolutely nothing to do with your poor poor plants, since as everyone knows I am the anti-gardner and every living plant I touch dies on contact (occasionally just from being in the same room as me... in fact sometimes I'll be driving somewhere and I swear I can see all the plants slowly wilting as I pass)..but in regards to the other topic you brought up (antiquated terms for the interwebs) Today I told someone I was "Jacked in to the net" and had instant flashbacks to every single computer movie from the 90s...and also instantly lost about a thousand cool points...

  3. ... And here's what I got:

    "about amaryllis..it will winter over in the ground out there and doesn't need water until spring..if it is inside it can be stuck into a pot and watered and it will bloom in 6 weeks or so. If it is a raw bulb when you pot it, leave an inch or so above the soil. Since the 'food' is prepacked in the bulb, it doesn't need much soil or potting mix so can stay in a small pot until the flower fades then can be planted outside or tossed."

    Not sure how helpful that is, but there you go.

  4. Thank you, Blue!

    Mort, I lose cool points on an hourly basis. I'm pretty sure I'm in serious cool debt at this point. But yeah, "jacked in to the net" is amusing :)

  5. Blue, those directions stress my shit out. Total Greek to me. Which is why I have zero plants even though I really really like them.