Amaryllis Bulb Problems

Amaryllis is a genus of plants from South Africa that encompasses only one species: belladonna. For that reason, it's more well-known as Belledonna Lily. It rarely grows higher than 18 inches, producing strap-shaped leaves after the funnel-shaped rose, pink, or white flowers have wilted. It's becoming a more popular garden bulb to maintain, but is finicky regarding water and sunlight.

Water Susceptibility

Amaryllis bulbs require a very specific level of moisture to grow. If the soil they're in is not kept slightly damp, they dry out quickly and wilt within a matter of hours. Stressing the bulb in this way early on can stunt the long-term growth of the plant. Even slightly too much water makes the bulb extremely susceptible to fungal infections and can result in the bulb turning into mush. Watering once every other day and wiping the surface of the bulb down with a wet sponge is a recommended way to keep the bulb adequately hydrated.

Sunlight Issues

Amaryllis bulbs grow naturally in conditions where they are exposed to strong sunlight between 10-12 hours each day. They do not contain much chlorophyll in their leaves; normally because not much is needed to produce food during photosynthesis with such an abundance of light available. When grown in areas where such a level of sunlight is not available, the bulb may not be able to produce enough food to stay healthy. The first thing to be affected is the plant's immune system, making it more susceptible to infection by bacteria, fungi or viruses. To prevent this the bulb might be supplemented with a UV lighting bank.

Foreign Predators

Seeing as the amaryllis is from South Africa, when introduced in other countries it may become victim to predators not normally found in its home. The sweet scent and nectar created by the bulb's flower attracts chipmunks, field mice, squirrels, and gophers. They will eat the bulb if given the chance. Beatles, snails, slugs, aphids and mites are attracted as well. The remedy for this is growing amaryllis bulbs in closed confines.

Keywords: belladonna, belladonna lily, amaryllis bulb

About this Author

John Albers is a 25 year old freelance writer with dual degrees from the University of Central Florida in English literature and psychology, and a goodly amount of experience in most fields besides. He's successfully published 800 online and printed articles of a technical nature, and fictional works with Bewildering Stories and Mindflights Magazine, though he's currently working on a debut novel.