One of four flowers in the cloud room

large deep coral colored amaryllis

For decades, Dad tended a collection of amaryllises; staggering their move from a dark corner in the basement to the dining room window of my childhood home on 14th Street.  At some point (maybe 20 or more years ago) we brought one of his bright blossoms to Rochester. 

Each spring we monitor the green growth as it emerges from the large potted bulb through the brown brittle remains of last year’s color.  Will there be just a flat shoot that yields green fronds sans flowers or a fatter nub that will eventual break into riotous color with dinner plate sized flowers? 

Through trial and error we have identified some useful tricks that help ensure flowers and not just fronds.  Once the weather warms, the pots are moved outside.  While they do not add summer color in my perennial garden, the plants benefit from sunlight not filtered through energy efficient windows and from the magical qualities of rainwater much improved over purified tap water.  But even before the move from house to garden, Richard acts as bumblebee.  Armed with a Q-tip, he gently dabs yellow dust on the white tip of a central pistel rather than relying on gravity and hoping the pollen will simply drift its way to the “right” spot.  This spring, we are enjoying his pollination efforts and being treated to vivid color; an enjoyable contrast to our cloudy skies.

2 thoughts on “One of four flowers in the cloud room

  1. What a lovely story about the wonder of nature and the dedicated effort it takes to cultivate beautiful flowers! I’m curious, have you tried any other methods of pollination besides the Q-tip method your husband employs? Or have you experimented with different types of amaryllises over the years? Thank you for sharing your experiences with us!


  2. I leave the pollination to Richard. Since what he has been doing seems to work, I don’t think he has tried any other way. We only have two pots, each producing the large orange blooms.


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