Because Vero Beach is located in zone 10 (9 if you disagree with the latest USDA Plant Hardiness Map ;)) amaryllis are planted here as outdoor perennials with a March through May bloom cycle.
Last Amaryllis of the Season, 5/14/12
First Amaryllis to Bloom, Ranchero, 3/21/12
Right around the time the final, pretty pink one opened, the seed pod from the original bloomer (directly above) was on the verge of breaking apart:
In the past, I’ve grown amaryllis ONLY from fall-planted bulbs, but living in a year round gardening climate has piqued my interest in starting everything from seed. :). As you can see, this particular pod was PACKED with myriad flowers-to-be!
Each Amaryllis seedpod holds dozens of papery seeds!
Zeroing in on the bottom-most seed to the right, you’ll notice a small circular bump. That bump is the seed’s embryo, but be advised not every seed has one! To separate viable seeds from chaff, hold each little disc between your thumb and index finger; if you can’t feel a tiny bump of embryo, the seed is chaff to be discarded.
There are three basic methods for germinating the remaining viable seeds: potting medium, paper towel/baggie method, and the one that is less messy! Guess which one I’m showing you? (The first two don’t count!!! )
Select a clear glass container with a wide opening and fill it 2/3 of the way to the top with warm water. Float each amaryllis seed on the water’s surface, like so:
Finding a Flamingo to guard the seeds is a huge help! ;)
For purposes of this little experiment, I chose to work with only 6 seeds which I floated (and photographed) on 5/22/12. I placed the glass on a pass-through shelf between my kitchen and dining area because it receives bright, indirect light from sun-up to noon.
After 6 days, 3 seeds began showing white roots that continued to grow at individual rates. On the 9th day, another seed sprouted a bit of root that has grown very slowly. As of today, two are still dormant, so I removed the 4 germinating seeds to show you their progress thus far:
Amaryllis seeds germinated by flotation method, 6/8/12
Technically two of these seeds are “ready” for potting because the white roots are longer than a .05″, but I’ve chosen to wait awhile longer. The hint of green you see is evidence of the first set of leaves. When these are fully visible, (and the roots a bit stronger) I’ll share the careful process of repotting and what to expect as they grow into bulblets!
Right now, all 6 are back in the water glass, but the flamingo has the night off so there was little sense in taking a picture! I’m hoping the last two seeds will sprout! It can take up to a month, so there’s still a way to go.
Until next time……