Apples and Amaryllis Don’t Mix

It seemed my amaryllis bulbs bloomed early this year.  When searching for the reason and normal bloom months, I came across something more interesting; apples sterilize amaryllis bulbs.  I knew not to store onions with potatoes because the potatoes would sprout and spoil early, but bulbs were a staple in our mini-fridge for a couple years without a thought as to what should or should not be stored next to them.

An absolutely ridiculous effort because my garden is in South Florida, there are no more bulbs in the mini-fridge to worry about.  I’ve happily accepted amaryllis and rain lilies as the two sole bulbs that can survive the heat.  Rain lilies are summer bulbs; the amaryllis are turning into true spring bulbs.

Both bulbs came with the house.  They didn’t bloom the first year, a combination of John-gone-wild with weed-killer and my transplanting everything in site to my liking.  I read after yanking them up that amaryllis don’t transplant well.  Luckily, mine did just fine.  The first wave bloomed in time for Mother’s Day and the next year for Easter.

Even though they fill the aisles at Christmas, those two years had me believing they were Spring-holiday bulbs blooming in either April or May.  Now looking back at pictures, they bloomed in March last year too.  My research found that the flowering season is a long window; they could pop up anytime from late December through June.  I’m attributing the March blooms to warmer winters over the past two years.

The apple-effect has to be attributed to ethylene.  Ethylene is a gas produced by plants that can affect other plants.  Like a plant super-power, it can signal germination, kill petals, change the color of leaves, and so I have to assume, sterilize amaryllis bulbs too.  A gas leak in 1901 led to the discovery that ethylene affected plant growth, but it took three more decades for scientists to realize that plants actually produced ethylene.

  1. I love amaryllis! I received a bulb for Christmas years ago from a friend and I have been growing them ever since. They are so beautiful and the color is rich and cheerful – it is a flower that thrives in the heat.

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