Amaryllis needs water and sun to bloom

garden q&a

January 31, 2009|By Ellen Nibali and Jon Traunfeld | Ellen Nibali and Jon Traunfeld,Special to The Baltimore Sun

I bought an amaryllis in a glass jar on sale. It grew leaves and a flower without roots or water. I was told to leave it alone and let the leaves die. Will it bloom next year?

Your amaryllis had a huge quantity of stored energy and moisture in its bulb in order to flower without water. Now the bulb is depleted. It cannot sprout again without renewing its reserves. To help it bulk up, plant your bulb in a pot, keeping the top 1/3 of the bulb above the soil line. Slowly move it into bright sunlight so the leaves can carry on photosynthesis and manufacture carbohydrates. Water and fertilize through summer. In fall, you may withdraw water and light, triggering leaf death and a dormant period. In midwinter or spring, start the growth and flowering process all over again.

I was thinking of buying orchard mason bees for a difficult-to-pollinate kiwi. Is this bee native to Maryland?

Orchard mason bees are native, solitary bees, slightly smaller than honeybees, shiny and dark blue. While nonaggressive, they can sting. They are excellent pollinators of fruit crops, though there is no guarantee that they will stay in the area where introduced.

Ellen Nibali, a horticulture consultant, works at Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center, and Jon Traunfeld is the director of the Home and Garden Information Center. Call the center's help line at 800-342-2507 or e-mail plant and pest questions at hgic.umd.edu.

checklist

* Keep leftover bags of fertilizer wrapped up securely in heavy plastic bags or solid containers so they cannot get wet.

* Miscellaneous beetles may emerge from firewood stored inside the home. These are nuisance pests; they are not a threat to the wood in your home.

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