Planting – step by step
1. Allow the roots to soak up water for 12-24 hours before planting by sitting the base of the bulb on a jam jar of water ensuring that the roots reach the water but the base of the bulb does not.
2. Gently pat the roots dry and dip the bulb in a systemic fungicide, if possible, to deter fungal attack.
3. Select a 7 inch pot for bulbs which are 30-34cm in circumference, an 8 inch pot for bulbs 34cm or more in circumference or put three bulbs together in a 10 inch pot.
4. Mix together equal parts of a peat substitute, silver sand, grit and perlite to make the compost.
5. Fill the bottom of the pot with compost and make a mound in the centre, sitting the base of the bulb on the mound and spreading the roots downwards.
6. Add more compost covering the roots and lower two thirds of the bulb.
7. Firm the compost and add more if needed, but make sure that the top third of the bulb is above the compost.
8. Water-in thoroughly with tepid water.
9. Place the pot in a warm light place in good ventilation but free from draughts. A shelf above a radiator at a temperature of 21° C is ideal.
Planting to flowering
1. Keep the compost just moist until a shoot appears then water liberally. Always use tepid, not cold water, ensure that water does not get into the top of the bulb and that the pot is not allowed to stand in water.
2. As soon as a shoot appears start to feed fortnightly with a balanced liquid fertiliser containing trace elements.
3. Turn the pot 45 degrees every day to prevent the flower scape from growing in one direction towards the light.
4. Stake the scape with a cane and tie when it reaches 40cm tall to prevent it from breaking under its own weight.
5. As soon as the flowers start to open move the plant to a cooler position at about 16° C if possible to prolong the length of flowering.
1. Continue to water liberally while the leaves grow and feed once a week with a high potassium fertiliser.
2. Your plant will thrive in a temperature of 21-30°C with good light and ventilation. It can stand outside in the summer after all danger of frost has passed and with a little protection from direct sun. If it is kept inside then a gentle daily spray with tepid water will help to keep the air around the leaves more humid.
3. Check regularly for signs of pests and disease and treat early.
4. As daylength starts to shorten and nights become cooler in mid-October bring your hippeastrum inside to a well-lit position with a temperature of 13° C. Keep the compost just moist and stop feeding. Some of the foliage may well start to die back.
5. If the temperature is likely to drop below 5°C protect the plant with bubble plastic or horticultural fleece.
6. After 12 weeks of cool temperatures cut off all the leaves 10cm above the nose of the bulb, sterilising all cutting implements in dilute bleach between plants to prevent the spread of disease.
7. Remove the top 6cm of compost and replace with a fresh mix. Annual repotting is not necessary and plants are better left 2-3 years between repotting.
8. Any bulblets which have rooted can be removed now and potted separately. If these are grown on they should reach flowering size in 3-6 years. Do not give them the cool period in their first winter but treat them in the same way as mature plants after that.
9. After topping-up or repotting mature plants move them back into warm conditions and grow in exactly the same way as in year one.