The Story of The Little Amaryllis That Could

Here’s a gardener’s holiday story of a little amaryllis that couldn’t and then it finally could.

I always like to give my mother-in-law, Shirley, a nice red amaryllis bulb at Christmas so she’ll have a blooming plant to brighten the cold January days. It also serves as a reminder that spring and gardening season are on the way.

However, this particular amaryllis didn’t want to cooperate.

Shirley planted the bulb and it grew long green leaves. And the leaves grew, and grew, and grew.

She said it sprouted 5 large leaves on either side of the bulb and they got so tall they flopped over.

But there was no sign it was going to flower.

She tied the leaves up, but by the end of January she finally gave up. She was so tired of looking at those long, floppy leaves, she cut them off, took the plant outside, and placed it on her potting bench.

“That’s the end of that,” she thought. “And it’s a darn shame.”

The bulb sat in its unprotected container on her potting bench through a cold Zone 5 winter. When the weather started to warm, the bulb got a little rainwater and some water from the sprinklers.

Then around the beginning of June, Shirley noticed a blossom was starting to peek from the bulb. It grew slowly over the summer and then in August she brought the plant inside.

“It had the most gorgeous red flowers on it,” she said. “Four of the biggest amaryllis flowers I’ve seen and just a couple of leaves.

“It was the wrong time of year for it to bloom, but it was such a nice time of year to have those flowers.”

This amaryllis must have experienced the right conditions and the perfect period of dormancy in order to flower. Even though it was a late bloomer, Shirley said it was worth the wait.

“It was the amaryllis that couldn’t…and then it could.”


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