Blog | Page 3 of 8 | Amaral Farm

How Do You Control Leaf Miner Insects Organically?

Many gardeners have seen the telltale signs of a leaf miner infestation, with thin white trails that run through the leaves of the plants in your garden showing the clear signs of the presence of this common pest. The spread of these creatures can cause long-term damage to the health and productivity of your garden, making them a nuisance that can be difficult to live with.

If you want to stay on top of this problem using organic solutions, we have some recommendations for you to try. We’ll go over how to identify a problem caused by these insects, as well as some remedies and prevention steps you can try out to reduce their presence in your garden and keep your plants growing healthy and happy.

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How Do I Get Rid of Aphids on My Plants?

Aphids are a common problem for organic gardeners. These small pests cause damage to plants by sucking the juice out of them and injecting their own substances into the plant. They can be difficult to spot because they are tiny, but you may notice wilting leaves or yellowing foliage in their wake. If you have aphids in your garden, then it’s about time for some organic gardening pest control.

11 Smart Methods of Organic Gardening Pest Control

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Tips For Growing And Harvesting Heirloom Tomatoes In Pots

Harvesting your own fruit and vegetables is one of the most rewarding parts of gardening. Many people opt for tomatoes because they are straightforward to grow, produce a large crop, and are easy to incorporate into a variety of meals. Growing tomatoes in pots is not uncommon and for very good reasons. I’ll explain some of them further below. Here are some tips to help you grow and harvest heirloom tomatoes in pots successfully!

What are Heirloom Tomatoes?

First things first, if you aren’t familiar with the term heirloom I should explain. Heirloom tomatoes defined as are open-pollinated, non-hybrid varieties of tomato (heirloom tomato if you live in the UK). Since they have been grown in various places and under different circumstances they have qualities that can be different than hybrid tomato varieties. They will have a large selection of colors sizes and weight. The typical tomatoes bought in a store are hybrids and the genetic selection is done for the benefit of the commercial farming/packaging/shipping community and not necessarily for the benefit of consumers. you can find them in typical types such as; cherry tomatoes, grape, or beefsteak tomatoes.

Reasons to grow tomatoes in pots

There are a few good reasons to grow tomatoes in containers rather than in raised beds of directly in the ground. A lack of garden space is one very good reason. Many people live in apartments of in homes that just don’t have a lot of space outside and tomatoes need a ton of sun. You can save money by growing your own you can buy vine ripped tomatoes online but they can be expensive. Another very good reason is to be able to control the environment the tomatoes grow in. You can better control the soil quality, weeds, watering, and pests by growing in pots rather than directly in the ground. A raised bed will also work for these purposes but they do take up room, you need to buy wood and assemble it. Over time you also need to till and amend the soil, so as with direct sowing in the ground it does take extra tools and work. Having your plants in pots or hanging baskets take a lot of extra work and tools out of the equation.

heirloom tomato, growing tomatoes

Getting started growing tomatoes in pots

There are some simple and obvious things you will need to get started and will ensure success in growing your container tomatoes.

  • Choose the right size pot. Heirloom tomatoes can grow quite large, so make sure to choose a pot that’s between 16- 23 inches in diameter and has drainage holes. Container pots are usually sized by the gallon, so a 16″ wide container is 10 gallons while a 23″ wide container would be a 25 gallon container more or less.
  • Choose the right tomato variety. There are both determinate varieties and indeterminate varieties. Determinate tomatoes grow to a certain height, produce fruit, then stop. Indeterminate tomatoes grow almost continuously and produce along there stems. Both will need stakes but the indeterminate varieties need more space and stakes that are 5 feet tall or more.
  • Use high quality potting mix. Since heirloom tomatoes are heavy feeders, it’s important to use a potting mix that’s rich in nutrients. Look for potting soil that contains composted manure and/or organic matter.
  • Water regularly. Heirloom tomatoes need consistent moisture, so be sure to water your plants deeply and regularly (about 1-2 inches per week). Mulching with straw or bark chips can help retain moisture in the soil.
  • Slow release fertilizer. Your tomatoes will need to be fertilized every 3 weeks with a balanced fertilizer such as 4-4-4. Down to Earth makes really good organic slow release fertilizer and can be found on Amazon. If you see what looks like bruising on your early tomatoes, you might have blossom end rot. You will need to add calcium to your garden soil.
  • Provide support. Tomato can grow very tall especially indeterminate tomatoes. Larger varieties are also heavy and need some support. It’s important to provide them with support such as cages or stakes. They should be 3 to 5 feet high to ensure they don’t topple over. Be sure to tie the stems loosely so the plant doesn’t get damaged.
  • Pest Control. Heirloom tomatoes are especially susceptible to pests such as aphids, tomato hornworms, and whiteflies. Be sure to check your plants regularly and take action if you see any pests. One product you should always have on hand is neem oil, it is an all natural pesticide that won’t harm your plant or soil.
  • Harvest often. Tomatoes are best when they’re ripe, so be sure to check your plants daily and harvest the fruit as soon as it’s ready. This will also keep away pests and critters as leaving your tomatoes to rot will attract both.

When & how to grow tomatoes

The growing season for tomatoes in going to be in the spring for an early summer harvest for most of the US, except if you live in USDA growing zones 10 or above then you will start growing tomatoes in pots during the fall and harvest during the winter time.

Depending on the length of time the variety of tomato you chose takes to fully mature you can typically sow seeds directly in your potting soil, you should not need to start indoors unless you live in the above 45 degrees longitude.

You’ll not need to concern yourself with spacing as you should only grow one tomato in each of the containers you use. Plant 2-3 seeds in each of 10 or 25 gallon container you use. If only one plant grows great, but if more than one grows pull out the less full slower grower. I always try and transplant the one I pull out. Sometimes they will continue to grow but often they die.

Caring for your tomato plants

In general, growing tomatoes is fairly easy, and it should be possible in many different climates. However, hot or humid weather can make the process a bit more difficult. The two biggest problems you’ll face are excessive heat and blight, which is a disease that affects the growth of your plants. If you live in the South of the USA or another area of the world that is very warm in summer, you’ll have to protect your plants from these dangers.

Excessive Heat 

Average tomato plants that haven’t been bred to withstand very hot temperatures might not do very well in warm climates. They will start to wilt and drop blossoms, or the fruit may not be able to set even if there are enough pollinators around. With most plants, you might encounter this issue if the days are warmer than 90ºF and the night temperatures exceed 75ºF. Your tomatoes will stop producing fruit and simply focus on surviving the heat wave.

To minimize the problem, you will need to make sure that all the other conditions are optimal. Provide your plants with plenty of nitrogen so that they can develop healthy leaves but balance it out with phosphorus and potassium because they might otherwise produce many leaves with very few fruits. If you’ve had trouble with tomato plants in the past, you should opt for varieties that are resistant to the heat.

growing in containers, plant tomatoes

Blight

Many areas of the South are not only hot but also humid, which creates ideal conditions for a fungus called blight to infect your plants. There are two different kinds of this disease that can affect your tomatoes’ leaves, stems, and even their fruit. Early blight often occurs in the first half of the tomato-growing season, after heavy rainfall. If you catch it quickly, you can rip off affected leaves, but if the plant is already heavily affected, you might need a fungicide.

If your plants have late blight, the leaves will develop blue-gray spots that turn brown later on. When not treated, it can kill plants very quickly, so you’ll need to act and apply organic fungicides immediately. Copper spray is an organic blight killer that can be found at your local gardening center or online, and you can apply it once a week or after rain.

Preventing Problems 

tomatoes, green, plant

As mentioned, you can buy plants that are resistant to excessive heat and can therefore produce tomatoes even if the temperatures exceed 90ºF. The same goes for blight, as there are certain varieties that won’t be so affected by the disease. Even if they contract it, they will still produce a good crop of tomatoes. Aside from buying the right plant, you can also prevent problems by being careful about not getting the leaves wet.

Always plant your tomatoes at least 24 inches apart so that air can move between the plants. You should also avoid watering them from the top and instead water the soil below them because you don’t get any moisture on the leaves that way, thus preventing the growth of blight. It’s important to remember that blight spores can live for a year, so rotating your crops can ensure that your new plants aren’t affected by the disease from the previous year.

Tips for Harvesting Heirloom Tomatoes from Pots

  • When the tomatoes are ripe, cut them off the vine with a sharp knife.
  • Be sure to leave a couple of inches of stem attached to the fruit.
  • Avoid bruising the tomatoes by handling them gently.
  • Place the harvested tomatoes in a single layer on a tray or cookie sheet and put them in a cool, dark place until you’re ready to use them.

The Best Heirloom Varieties for Southern Climates

best tomato varieties, growing in potting soil

Arkansas Traveler

This tomato plant originates in the Ozark Mountains and has been around for over 100 years. The fruit are medium-sized and mild, and they resist cracking. You should pick them when the fruit start to develop a pink hue, as they will never become as red as hybrid tomatoes. On average, it should take about 75 days for your fruit to be ready. Arkansas Travelers are ideal for hot climates and droughts because they will keep producing fruit, even if the temperatures climb. This heirloom variety is an indeterminate, grow in containers well, with an approximate 5 feet tall in height.

Dad’s Mug

Dad’s mug tomatoes also originate in the USA. They are great for making paste or canning because they have very few seeds and a thick skin. Similar to the Arkansas Traveler, they need to be planted in full sun and in well-drained, slightly acidic soil. While the optimal temperature for this variety is 80 to 85ºF, they should be able to grow in warmer climates, as well. If you’re starting them from seeds, it will take 85 days until fully ready. This variety is an indeterminate tomato that grows 4 to 5 feet tall, and makes great container tomatoes.

San Marzano

san marzano tomato plants

Anyone looking for a very popular and high-yielding tomato? You can’t go wrong with the San Marzano variety. It is great for growing in containers. This historical plant was developed in 18th century Italy, so it has always grown in warmer and more Southern climates. You can either grow these from seed or buy some young plants from your local garden center. They should be readily available in many parts of the US.

San Marzano have a large root system, so you should plant them in big pots or straight into the ground. They need a minimum of 6-8 hours of direct sunlight, and the soil needs to drain well. Within 70-80 days, you will have a large harvest of long and thin tomato fruit that have a strong and sweet taste. San Marzano tomato plants are also indeterminate that can reach 6 to 8 feet tall.

Brandywine

homegrown tomatoes, growing tomatoes in containers

Another very popular variety is Brandywine, which are well-known all around the US for their large size fruits with ridges that make them look like a pumpkin, and the amazing taste. They have been around for many decades, and it is believed that the Amish first brought them to the country. Growing these tomato plants you will need some large stakes

Although they can grow very well in southern climates, Brandywine tomatoes are a bit more care-intensive than some of the other varieties because they take longer to ripen and are therefore more susceptible to disease. If you’re a beginner gardener or have never grown tomatoes before, you might want to choose one of the other types first and then progress to these in later years.

BLACK CHERRY TOMATO

These wonderful fruits are grow tomato fruits in clumps that are bite sized. They will produce early, in only 65 days and grow 6 feet tall. These cherry tomatoes make great plants in pots but do need stakes for support. Make sure to use good potting mix and are on of my favorite tomato to grow. Their growing season will extend into even the hotter months.

Rutger’s

We have the Campbell Soup Company to thank for this tomato variety, they developed this medium to large red fruit almost 100 years ago. It was later improved by Rutgers University 15 years later. It’s principle purpose was for canning, hence Campbell’s interest in producing its own tomato. It is a one of the determinate tomatoes that grow 4 – 5 feet tall. It is perfect for container gardens, expect deep red fruit in about 80 days.

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How to Freeze Green Beans From the Garden

Green beans are a wonderful option to grow in your garden, but if you want to freeze green beans, it’s important to avoid some common issues. In this article, we’re going to walk you through how to do it properly so you can enjoy your home-grown green beans year-round.

How to Freeze Green Beans From the Garden

If you’re wondering if it’s okay to freeze green beans while fresh, we’ve got good news for you. You absolutely can freeze them, and the process isn’t too complicated. They can last months in the freezer, so even when green bean season is over, you can still use your frozen green beans in a variety of stew, stir-fry, and casserole dishes.

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Can I Leave Tulip Bulbs in Pots After Flowering?

Tulips are some of the most colorful, versatile flowers and are a favorite of gardeners. These flowers come in dozens of varieties, require little maintenance compared to other plants, and bloom beautifully after you plant them. However, many people wonder if you can eave tulip bulbs in pots and keep them there or if they need to replant tulips in the ground eventually.

Tulip Bulbs Overview

If you’re considering planting tulip bulbs, you will want to know the ins and outs of these cup-shaped flowers before beginning your planting process. With a little knowledge, you can ensure that your flower bulbs stay healthy throughout the summer with great success. Read on to learn more about how to plant tulip bulbs.

How To Plant Tulip Bulbs: Frequently Asked Questions

Tulips are relatively easy to grow compared to other popular flower varieties. Tulips are perennials, but most grow them as annuals, only having them bloom once in the spring. They are originally from central Asia and were brought to Europe in the 1600s. They do best in well-drained soil as the bulb is susceptible to root rot.

It will take more care and attention to grow them in hotter climates as their natural habitat is mountainous areas with cooler temperatures throughout the growing spring season. Many gardeners plant them in the ground in the early fall for early spring bloomers. As tulips grow, they often will produce baby bulbs that grow off the mother bulb and will flower in a few years with care.

Can You Leave Tulip Bulbs in Pots After Flowering?

Many people decide to start off their bulbs in a pot before transferring them to the ground after they bloom. However, if you live in an apartment or a residence without a yard, you may not have any other choice but to keep your plants and flowers in pots.

Thankfully, your bulbs will be just fine to stay in your flower pot after they begin to bloom. Tulips are hardy plants that do not need too much space to take root after they grow. As a result, keeping your bulbs in a spacious pot will give them plenty of room to thrive after they begin flowering.

First Bloom

After you notice the first blooms in your pot, we recommend adding some new soil to the pot to provide additional nutrients and fertilizer for your flower. Many garden centers recommend adding bone meal or well-rotted organic matter, but this is not necessary. The new soil will keep the blooms looking healthy and bright throughout their lifespan.

What Type of Soil Should I Plant Tulips In?

While tulips can grow in nearly any type of soil, these flowers thrive in loose, crumbly soil that offers superior drainage. Unfortunately, bulbs often rot in soil that remains too damp, making it essential that the pot that you keep your tulips in has decent drainage holes to let out excess moisture after watering.

You can create an ideal soil mixture for your tulips by mixing traditional potting soil with sand. Sand will create optimal drainage within the soil, ensuring that the planting mix does not remain wet for too long after you water your tulips. Plant tulips en masse for a breathtaking display of color and texture.

What Size Container Can I Plant Tulips In?

If you plan to keep your tulips in a pot or container throughout their lifespan, you will need a large container that gives your flowers room to grow. How much space will usually be relative to the size and age of the bulb, but plan to look for containers with a minimum diameter of 18 inches and a minimum height of 15 inches.

Unfortunately, if your container is too small, your bulbs may not survive planting. Giving your tulips plenty of room will ensure that they thrive in your pot. 

What Time of Year Should I Plant Tulips? 

Late autumn is the best time of year to plant your new bulbs in pots. This means September for colder climates, October for transitional climates, and November or December for warmer climates.

Planting your bulbs in the fall will give your tulips plenty of time to flower once spring rolls around the following year. Freezing temperatures are not ideal for planting bulbs.

Potted Tulips and Pests

When you plant tulip bulbs, especially potted bulbs, the concern for pests is increased. Unfortunately, pests such as slugs can easily ruin your precious tulips.

Be sure to check for pests regularly and add horticultural grit to the topsoil if you find any. It’s also important to make sure that the soil for planted bulbs is free of weeds, as many pests will hide in them.

Storing Tulip Bulbs

Because they are spring flowers, in the winter you can store potted tulips in an unheated garage. If you have bulbs that you want to plant in the future, but it’s not time, place your bulbs in a paper bag and a cool place like the refrigerator. Be careful not to place them next to fruits and vegetables as they give off ethylene gas as they ripen.

Will Potted Bulbs Bloom Again? 

Unfortunately, potted tulips typically usually do not bloom again. At the end of the season, you should take your bulbs out of the pot and use them for multi-purpose compost, then buy tulip bulbs for the following year.

Alternatively, after the foliage has turned yellow, dry the best bulbs out and replant them next season. The next season you should plant them in the ground in a sunny spot if you want to have any chance of success.

tulip flower heads, wild tulips

Other Ways to Grow Tulips 

There are several methods of planting tulips that give them an excellent opportunity to grow and thrive all summer long. If you’d rather not plant your tulips in a pot, you can try one of these methods instead.

Planting Tulip Bulbs In the Ground

Growing tulips in the ground is typically a more reliable method than planting them in a pot. While tulips can survive in a pot with the right conditions and care, they tend to thrive more in the ground.

This is because the ground does not hold moisture as much as pots do, ensuring that the bulbs do not sit in excess water between waterings. Additionally, the ground gives the plant’s roots more space to expand, creating a firmer foundation for the elongated flowers.

Ground Tips

If you would like to plant your tulips in the ground, you should first plant bulbs in the fall to produce flower heads in early spring. Be sure to pick a spot in your yard or garden that has well-draining soil and gets at least partial sun.

You should plant the spring bulbs at least 4 to 5 inches apart from each other and position them around the same depth of between 5 and 7 inches deep. Alternatively, some gardeners choose to soak tulip bulbs before planting in the spring, but this is not necessary.

Tulips in Window Boxes

If you’d like to dress up your home or apartment’s curb appeal without planting the tulips in the ground, you can also grow them in a window box. To do so, simply use potted bulbs in the window box in direct sunlight with at least three to four inches of soil covering them.

We recommend using a mixture of tall and short tulips in several different colors to create a visual contrast within your window box. You can also throw some pansies, primroses, and daisies into the box.

Growing Tulips in Water

Did you know you can grow tulips in water instead of soil? You can simply plant your bulbs in a glass bowl or vase and half-fill with water, glass beads or stones, and a waterproof filler. Be sure only to add enough water to cover the bulb’s roots.

Using this method, you shouldn’t need to add any nutrients or fertilizer to the water, as the bulbs already contain all of the growing aids your tulips need. They will, however, need to be in a sunny position.

Do Tulips Multiply?

Yes, they do! Tulips are one of the easiest bulbs to multiply. You can do it by digging up the bulbs in late summer or early fall and separating them. As the tulips spread naturally out and gain energy, they produce smaller bulbs as an offshoot of the mother bulb. Tulips multiply through asexual reproduction.

This is true of wild tulips as well as non-hybrid varieties, with a few exceptions. Each bulb will usually have several “offsets,” or small bulblets, attached to it. These small bulbs are carefully pulled apart and replanted to grow more tulips. You can also divide larger clumps of tulips that have become overcrowded. Just dig up the entire clump, divide it into smaller sections, and replant.

Other Spring Bulbs to Plant in Containers

You can try planting any other flowers in pots or containers, but some strains do better than others in these confining vessels. We recommend planting shorter varieties, such as princess Irene, double exotic emperor, and miniature bright gem tulips in pots.

Princess Irene Tulips

Princess Irene tulips are beautiful tulip varieties that show off a mixture of pink and orange petals, creating an almost ombre effect with their coloring. These tulip varieties thrive in pots, and they can add visual interest to your indoor or outdoor space.

Orange Emperor

Planting Tulip Bulbs

One of the favorites of the Netherlands, this species of tulip is an early bloomer with orange petals. They really have that wow factor that you are looking for, making their appearance in the spring a very welcomed site.

Golden Appledorn

This is one of the darwin hybrids that produce longer tulips of about two feet in height. They have planting depths of six to eight inches deep. These yellow-colored plants will bloom in mid-spring.

Double Tulip Exotic Emperor

Double exotic emperor tulips are a unique tulip variety that has a flatter, rounder base than traditional tulips. These tulips feature large, fluffy white blooms and green embellishments, giving them the royal appearance of an emperor.

Black Parrot

The tulip black parrot gets its name from its bold dark color. Starting off as green shoots, you can mix them with double early to make for a beautiful bouquet.

Miniature Tulip Bright Gem

Bright gem tulips are typically yellow in color and feature a star-shaped, rounded petal design. These charming tulips will add a pop of color to your window box or pot. 

So yes, you can leave tulip bulbs in pots after they flower! When spring arrives, just dig out any remaining roots, cut off the old stems close to the garden soil level, and put the fresh potting mix into your container before re-planting with new tulips (or other spring flowers). Subscribe to Amaral Farms today for seasonal gardening expert tips like these delivered straight to your inbox each month!

Do You Plant Sunflower Seeds Pointed Up or Down?

Sunflowers are just about the epitome of sunshine and summertime. Bright and sunny, they seem to be smiling as they track the sun with their tall heads. Sunflowers are so easy to grow. Their is so much about Sunflowers to them, from creating privacy in the garden to enticing birds or providing a beautiful bouquet of cut flowers. Anyone can plant sunflower seeds and enjoy the benefits of this wonderful plant. We’ll tell you everything you need to know.

How To Plant Sunflower Seeds

Pointed Down

Sunflower seeds will sprout best if you plant them with the narrow pointed seed-end facing down. While it isn’t strictly necessary to do this, it does give the sunflowers the best possible start in life. And why wouldn’t we want to give them that? They’re going to repay us with beautiful blooms and nutritious seeds after all. The narrow end of the seed is where roots will emerge, so putting this end down saves the plant from having to right itself in the ground.

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What Do You Do With Amaryllis Bulbs After They Bloom?

Amaryllis are large, trumpet-shaped flowers that bring a punch of color to any home or garden. Gardeners typically start with amaryllis bulbs, which look similar to an onion. These dormant bulbs will then sprout long, thin leaves and the iconic blooms. Amaryllis flowers come in eye-catching colors, can be over twelve inches wide, and can last for over seven weeks! But after that first flower starts to fade, many will ask: what do you do with amaryllis after they bloom?

How Long Do Amaryllis Blooms Last

In optimum growing conditions, the amaryllis flower can endure for two to three weeks per stem. They can bloom for up to many weeks if they are grown in a cool room temperature, out of direct sunshine, and with at least one weekly watering when in active growth. Some Amaryllis stems can bloom for up to three weeks if they are utilized as cut flowers, selected at the point of ripe bud development, and maintained in the vase.

The Basics of Re-Blooming an Amaryllis bulb

Amaryllis thrives in an environment with a nine-month wet period and a three-month dry period. By mimicking this cycle, you can encourage your plant to re-bloom after a forced dry or dormant period. Removing all foliage before the dormant period allows the bulb to retain vital nutrients and energy stores. Most importantly for all plants, provide your amaryllis with all the water and fertilizer it needs while it is growing. If you take your amaryllis indoors to store them, make sure you store the dormant bulb in a cool dry place. Or you can put them in your fridge to trigger dormancy, preparing them for the next growing season. This will keep the bare bulbs from attempting to regrow.

When to Cut Back Amaryllis Leaves

Once your faded flowers begin to whither, it is best to cut off your amaryllis flowers after they bloom before they start to form seeds. Creating seeds pulls vital nutrients and energy away from the rest of the plant. Keeping your amaryllis bulb healthy and full of available energy is the best way to promote re-flowering.

As the flower stalk dries out and starts to turn brown, cut back amaryllis leaves down within an inch of the bulb. Green leaves and stems should be left to continue photosynthesis, the process in which plants convert carbon dioxide and water into energy utilizing sunlight. By allowing photosynthesis to continue, your plant will build stores of nutrients and energy needed for the next re-blooming period.

Replanting Your Amaryllis Bulbs

If your amaryllis needs to be replanted, the best time to do so is when it is not in bloom. The plants prefer to be in a small pot with very little extra room (“pot-bound”). The pot should only be approximately one inch wider than the amaryllis bulb, but deep enough for the roots to have space to grow.

Loosely add a well-draining soil below and around your bulb, with one-third of the bulb remaining visible. Ideally, the top of the bulb should be above the edge of your container. Your pot must have drainage holes on the bottom to prevent mold and root rot.

 potted amaryllis,  amaryllis plants

Continuous Blooming

Unlike other bulb species, such as hyacinth and tulip, amaryllis bulbs do not require a chilling or dormant period to bloom. Some gardeners do this to time their next amaryllis blooming with Christmas. With the right environment and care, your plant can continuously re-bloom after it stores enough nutrients and creates enough energy.

In areas where frost is not an issue, amaryllis can be grown outdoors year-round. Otherwise, they will need to be inside during the cold months and inside or outside during the warm months. Keeping your amaryllis in full sun (or as much sun as possible) will allow it to synthesize the energy needed to bloom again as soon as possible.

Forced Dormancy

If you live in an area with freezing winter temperatures, or would just like to control when your amaryllis blooms, you can force your plant into a dormant period. During the dormant period, your plant remains alive but it is using very little energy and nutrients. By saving energy, the bulb will be ready to grow when the appropriate conditions are met (warm and sunny).

Once your blooms have died and been trimmed off, bring your plant inside to a dark, dry location, like a closet or basement. Ideally, the temperature would be between 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the stems and leaves dry out and die off naturally before trimming down to the bulb. You can also remove the bulb from the soil to save space and allow it to rest as-is during this period.

Do not water or fertilize during dormancy, but check the amaryllis periodically for mold or other issues. After two to three months, you can move your plant to a sunny location and begin watering and fertilizing as normal. This forced dormancy will allow you to try to schedule your blooms around certain times of year or holidays.

The Holiday Amaryllis

The amaryllis has become a holiday staple in many homes, with pre-planted bulbs in fresh potting soil, and in decorative pots planters, they are available for purchase a couple of months before the winter holiday season. If you would like to have your existing plant bloom for the holidays, stop fertilizing the plant in August.

In September, move your amaryllis into its dormant location and stop watering. Cut back the foliage down to the bulb as it starts to dry out. Follow the dormancy procedures until early November, when you can put your bulb back into a warm weather with sunlight and water as normal. Keep the potting soil barely moist so as not to damage the bulbs.

In the Garden

If you live in hardiness zones 8-10 (frost-free), your amaryllis bulbs can be planted outdoors directly in your garden. Garden amaryllis bloom once in spring and will go dormant over winter if it is cool enough. In a warm enough location, it is possible for the plants to re-bloom more times throughout the year.

Like with potted amaryllis, water when needed. Fertilizer is only needed before the plant putting up its flower stalk during the growth period. Trim off leaves and stems as they begin to turn yellow and die off.

what do you do with amaryllis bulbs after they bloom
What do you do with amaryllis bulbs after they bloom

Picking Your Amaryllis

Amaryllis has many varieties that differ in flower color and size. You can pick the best one for your needs or preferences. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • “Cherry Nymph” will produce multiple smaller blooms with bright red flowers on two stalks 
  • “Clown” has eight-inch wide blooms of striped red and white petals
  • “Evergreen” is a vibrant, light-green hue that can add a tropical feel to your home
  • “Rilona” has subtle, apricot orange petals, an unusual color for amaryllis
  • “Ferrari Amaryllis” will wow everyone with vibrant red blooms that are over twelve inches wide 
  • “Dancing Queen” a great variety for zones 8-10, a great fit for Florida it has beautiful white & red striped large flower pedals

Once you have your amaryllis bulb and the right pot for it, place the plant in a sunny spot that is between 65 and 75 degrees.

Why Do I See Waxed Amaryllis Bulbs

Waxing amaryllis bulbs is just another way for growers and marketers of bulbed flowers to sell these beauties. Without pots they are much lighter and easier to pack. Selling them individually also keeps the cost down, as amaryllis plants can get very expensive compared to other flowering bulbs. Your waxed amaryllis bulbs have everything they need already in the bulb to fully flower. No ruther watering or fertilizer is needed. Just make sure they get some sun light and if they do get a bit wilty simply spray a bit of water on them.

Optimal Amaryllis Care

Once you have your amaryllis bulb and the right pot for it, place the plant in a well-lit area that is between 65 and 75 degrees. If your flower stalks grow too large and start to become floppy, you can stake them or simply cut back the leaves.

Outdoors, your amaryllis can handle partial shade, indirect sun to full sun. Once blooms are present, the plant prefers some shade to allow the flowers to stay bright as long as possible. Indoors, it is best to place your bulbs in a sunny window, southern exposure being ideal, during the growth period.

After you first plant your bulb, water sparingly until you see a couple of inches of growth out of the top, then water frequently. The amaryllis bulb will contain everything the plant needs nutrient-wise for the first flowers, but when attempting to get your plant to re-bloom, use a phosphorus-rich fertilizer to rebuild nutrient stores.

For the best flowers, turn your pot every couple of days as the flower stalk is growing. This will keep the stalk growing straight for the tallest blooms. If the bud is too heavy, a support stake can help keep it upright. Once the flower starts to open, keep the plant out of direct sunlight to prolong its life of the flower. Having a plan on what to do with your amaryllis after they bloom is a necessary step to ensuring you have beautiful flowers year after year.

By giving your plant the best opportunity to store nutrients and energy throughout the year, your amaryllis will continue to provide you with beautiful blooms.

Best Organic Fertilizer for Your Vegetable Garden

Fertilizing your plants is as important as feeding yourself good wholesome foods. Fertilizer provides your plants with the nutrients they need to grow strong, look their best, produce more, and reduce risks of pest infestations. However, plants need more than food, just like us. We need water, plenty of sleep, and a comfortable home. Organic fertilizers give plants what they need by creating long-term soil and plant health, all without polluting the environment. When planting your garden you want the best organic fertilizer for vegetables.

Why Organic Fertilizers?

Clean and Safe

Most store-bought fertilizers are not safe for humans or animals to consume. However, organic fertilizers are safer for your plants, and your local ecosystem. They are derived from plants, animals, and minerals. They do not contain the harmful chemicals, acids, or petrochemical-based materials that synthetic fertilizers do, which pollute local waterways and damage local ecosystems.

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How Do You Prune Orchid Plants?

Orchids are essentially indoor plants. They might seem relatively easy to take care of but the pruning step of planting these fairly little plants is a bit technical. Great care is required while pruning them. Some of the simple steps could be followed, to make it a healthy plant inside your garden. So, grasp your scissors. I will tell you when you need to prune and how to do it perfectly. 

Benefits 

Pruning is necessary for your orchids, it keeps them fresh and healthy. It also provides you a chance to detect unfolding problems. Another important benefit of pruning is that you remove or cut the diseased tissue. This tissue may be the habitat of disease-causing fungi, bacteria, or viruses. The most important benefit of Orchid pruning is that more buds and flowers appear after pruning. 

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Flower Bulbs to Plant in Fall

Flowering bulbs are the plant most closely associated with Spring. Not sure of that statement? Easter is celebrated after the Spring equinox and the white lily is the traditional Easter flower. If your goal is to have a yard full of flowering bulbs in the Spring, you’ll need to get started in late fall. Where to get them? There are many places online where you can buy bulbing plants easy enough, some sites even specialize in bulbing plants alone. However if you have a bulbing flower, they generally propagate themselves quite easily. Taking them out of their pot and separating them out is an easy way to grow the number you have for next year. In a future blog we will discuss doing this and storing them for next year. For this blog we want to introduce you to a list of bulbs you might want to plant yourself.

Bluebells (Hyacinthoides spp.) 

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