Table of contents:
Star on the windowsill
In the middle of winter, on the windowsills of many apartments and in the offices of companies, you can see beautiful hippeastrum flowers, very similar to lilies. There is snow outside the window, and in the apartment where this wonderful flower grows, it breathes in spring.
At this time of the year, not very many indoor plants please with their flowering, therefore hippeastrum is the best suited for creating a spring mood in your apartment, especially since this flower is suitable for beginner florists, because there is nothing difficult in caring for it.
Plant nurseries Stores of goods for summer cottages Landscape design studios
Hippeastrum belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family. The name of the genus Hippeastrum comes from two Greek words - hipperos (cavalier, horseman) and astron (star). Until 1954, there was confusion in the name of this flower: some called it amaryllis, others - hippeastrum, and even now we constantly find the same in stores. In fact, these are two completely different plants.
The homeland of the hippeastrum is the tropics and subtropics of South America (Brazil, Bolivia, Peru), and the homeland of the amaryllis is South Africa. Their differences are that hippeastrum blooms in March-April, and amaryllis - in August-October. In the hippeastrum, the flower arrow is hollow inside, and there are usually four (maximum six) large flowers on the peduncle, and in the amaryllis, the flower arrow is dense with a large number of flowers - there are up to 12 of them on the peduncle.
Amaryllis flowers have a weak aroma, they are tubular in shape, white or pink-lilac in color, it has no other colors. And the flowers of the hippeastrum are odorless, and they can be either tubular or open with a huge color palette.
In 1954, the International Botanical Congress decided to clarify the names of these plants - it recommended to call the American plant hippeastrum, and the African plant amaryllis. But, unfortunately, there is still confusion in stores. On packages with hippeastrum, they still continue to write amaryllis.
Purchase and disinfection of planting material
Most often, hippeastrum bulbs come to Russia from Holland in December-January without soil. Before planting, the bulb must be carefully inspected for diseases or pests, especially if it has just been bought in a store. Often already diseased bulbs with red dots or streaks are sold.
This is a fungal disease of the hippeastrum - "red burn". It is better not to purchase such planting material. I always remove old, dry covering scales from the bulbs - there may be pests or diseases under them. I also remove old dry roots, and clean the bottom of the bulb from old scales. All of it should be white. Before planting, the bulb must be disinfected for 20 minutes in a solution of Aktara from pests and 30 minutes in Maxim's solution for diseases (according to the instructions).
Sometimes you can find on sale hippeastrum bulbs planted in a coconut substrate with a flower arrow that appears or already flowering plants. After flowering, they must be immediately transplanted into a new pot with nutritious soil, removing the coconut substrate from the roots, since it is dead soil. It is advisable to disinfect the bulb as well. The roots of the hippeastrum are long, white. But, as a rule, during flowering, they are just beginning to appear. Hippeastrum takes the strength for flowering from the mother bulb. Therefore, it will not suffer from disinfection.
Soil preparation and planting of bulbs
The soil for the hippeastrum needs to be prepared nutritious and very loose. I make it from sifted soil from a greenhouse, sifted compost, coconut substrate (necessarily washed), vermiculite, AVA fertilizer (powder). I mix all this well and fill the pots with it, on the bottom of which a layer of sphagnum moss has already been placed as drainage.
Drainage is required. I believe that sphagnum moss is most suitable for this, since it absorbs excess moisture after watering, and then gradually gives it to the plants. This is especially important if I do not always have time to water the flowers on time when I leave for the country. I do not put other mineral fertilizers into the soil, otherwise the roots may burn (tested by bitter experience).
I prepare the soil ten days before planting and fill the pots with it. After filling the pot with soil, I water it with Aktara's solution (according to the instructions) to destroy soil pests, since the earth is alive from the summer cottage. I never buy purchased soil, except for the Greenworld soil mixture (for flowering plants). It can also be added a little to the potting soil mixture.
In floriculture guides, it is advised to plant the bulbs of the hippeastrum first in a small pot, and after flowering, when the plant grows long roots (a lump of earth with the bulb then rises from the pot), transplant it into a pot with a larger diameter. I plant the bulbs immediately in such pots, where the hippeastrum will grow all season. I do this because of time constraints. But the diameter of the pot depends on the size of the bulb.
I plant the bulbs with a diameter of 10 cm in pots with a diameter of at least 15 cm, a height of 15-16 cm.It is impossible to completely cover the bulb with earth, it should protrude from it by half. After planting the bulb, I water the soil with a solution of Extrasol (2-3 ml per liter of water) to restore the soil microflora, it is also a good growth stimulator. You can only water the ground, you cannot pour water on the bulb.
Kittens for sale Puppies for sale Horses for sale
The first time after planting the bulb in the pot, water should be moderately so that rot does not appear, the roots of the bulb are still quite small.
In some hippeastrum, a flower arrow first appears, and only after flowering leaves form. More often this can be observed with newly purchased bulbs. A few years later, a flower arrow and leaves appear on the same bulb at the same time.
In an apartment where it is hot, hippeastrum blooms for no more than one week. You can prolong flowering by placing the pot in a cool room, or planting the bulbs at different times, for example, with an interval of two weeks.
After flowering, with the appearance of the leaves, I start feeding the plants once every two weeks, and from May - once a week. After flowering, the bulb has used up nutrients, and it needs to be heavily fed so that it recovers and blooms well next season. The leaves become long and large, like a belt. They are not decorative, so usually in mid-April I rearrange the pots from the windowsill onto the table next to the window.
In addition, at this time the bright sun is shining, due to which burns in the form of light brown spots may appear on the leaves. I used to put the pots on a glassed-in balcony, where it is cooler than in the room, but over time I refused this. The fact is that the “red burn” disease appeared on the bulbs and leaves. This may have been caused by fluctuations in day and night temperatures. This disease spreads by air and manifests itself on the plant when the air temperature is below + 18 ° C. And in the morning hours it gets very hot on my balcony.
Hippeastrum are real gluttons, and most of all they like feeding with organic fertilizers. Therefore, once every two weeks I feed them with a solution of liquid horse manure (I am bringing a ready-made solution from the dacha), and next week I feed them with a liquid solution of Finnish fertilizer Kemira universal.
I only have small reserves of it for liquid feeding. This fertilizer is not sold in our stores now, which is a pity. Unfortunately, we have no analogues of the Finnish Kemir universal fertilizer in Russia, no matter what the Russian manufacturers of fertilizer with the same name would say.
I feed the plants until the end of July only in hot weather, when the apartment is warm. Since August, I stop feeding. The main task of such dressings is to grow the bulb as large as possible. The larger the bulb, and the more leaves it has, the larger the flowers will be and the more flower arrows there will be. By the way, their number can be determined already in September. Flower buds are laid every four leaves. The number of leaves must be divided by 4 - this is how many peduncles there will be in the next season.
This is why the hippeastrum should be well fed throughout the summer. My flowers had a maximum of three flower arrows. Moreover, on small bulbs (about 7-8 cm in diameter) there are no more than four flowers on the peduncle, and on huge bulbs (12-13 cm in diameter and more), there are six flowers on the peduncle. But on unsorted hippeastrum (with tubular orange flowers), flower arrows can appear on a large baby bulb. Bulbs smaller than 7 cm in diameter in varietal hippeastrum, as a rule, do not bloom.
Read the next part. Growing hippeastrum: care, reproduction and pests →
Olga Rubtsova, florist,
candidate of geographical sciences,
Photo by the author