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Pests and Problems

Crinum Grub (Spodoptera picta)
Mealy Bug
Best possible treatment is to spot them before they spot your Hippeastrums. While this is a very nice idea, you can not be in the garden watching over your bulbs day and night. Some of the products and methods I use listed below may be of some use to you.
All of my garden is sprayed with a solution of molasses regularly and most importanly before flower scapes appear on Hippeastrum bulbs. Molasses is distastful to leaf eating insects, but extremely good for your plants.
I mix half a cup of molasses to nine litres of water.
Mix well then pour into a spray pack, either hand held or hose attached, and spray everything in sight!
Your garden will love you for it as you will be adding essential trace elements and beloved sugar, which your plants can take in quickly.
Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous Earth is a naturally occurring fossil deposit that is organically, bio-dynamically and permaculturally sound and is harmful only to insects and their larvae.
More information can be found on the web just by typing it into your browser. I find it to be of great value in the garden to control lots of other pests such as snails, slugs, and beetles. Friends have used it to control feas and ticks with great success.
I use diotmaceous earth on potted bulbs and bedded garden bulbs alike.
I have found this to work very well in the control of ants too. These little guys, while nessesary to maintain a healthy balance in the garden, are the carriers of Scale and Mealy bugs.
They literally carry the pest to a plant and then feed off the pests reward, which is usually a drop of a sweet nectar like substance.
This can be a nightmare in potted Hippeastrums, as ants will usually set up home in the pot, usually right under the bulb’s basal plate where water can’t reach their nest.
Diatomaceous earth sprinkled in the necks of bulbs will inhibit Crinum Grubs from eating their way down into the bulb, thus preventing them from eating a hole through the bulb which will eventually rot and die.
When the first leaves appear sprinkle a reasonable amount between the leaves.
You will need to reapply after rain or watering. The powder eventually enhances the quality of the earth, adding trace elements. I use a plastic detergent bottle to puff the diotomaceous earth on and around the plants. While diatomaceous earth is not harmful to humans or animals it is adviseable to take care while applying. This product has not caused any ill effects to our resident birds or bees of all descriptions, just helped them, to help me maintain a healthy balance of insects in the garden.

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Growing Information

Hippeastrum are a real joy to grow and if planted and cared for correctly will give you years of enjoyment. The average life span of a well cared for bulb is 15 to 20 years.
Some of mine are 25 years old and have given many bulblets as a reward for good care.
These ‘old girls’ have a bulb weighing in at a minimum of 4kg, with a circumference of 50cm or more.

Hippeastrum Hybrids

Bulbs received during the months of July to September are dormant (asleep) so all you will need to do is to pot them into your pot of choice or into a well prepared garden bed that is moist but not wet.
All Hippeastrums must be planted with their necks out of the ground.
Plant into well prepared beds that drain well, rich in compost or into pots
containing a good quality potting mix.
Bulbs must only be watered from the top.
If planting into pots, the pot must drain freely with no tray under it.
If left to stand in water for too long the roots will rot.
The soil must be moist before planting the bulb.
A slow release fertiliser can be added at time of planting.
Full sun is best for the bulb and for future flowering.
Give a liquid feed of a seaweed based product once a week to help them
grow back their leaves but don’t over water them.
Cut back on water in Winter, but as soon as it starts to warm feed and water well.
As soon as the scapes appear you must feed the bulb. The scape is the ‘spike’ on which the blooms are borne.
A scape grows from the side of the bulb neck.
The neck of the bulb is where the leaves develop and grow.
When dividing a clump of bulbs you must dig a fair distance away from the clump to avoid damage to the bulbs by accidentally putting the fork into a bulb.
If you do damage a bulb, dip it into honey, this acts as an anti-bacterial agent.
Plant the damaged bulb into a pot and water carefully. Nurse it along as you would, care for yourself if you had a cold or flu.
The Papilio Hippeastrum is listed as an evergreen is as much as it doesn’t have a full dormancy period as other Hippeastrum do. It will drop a few leaves usually after flowering, but it quickly replaces them.
Stress of over watering or heavy rain can turn the leaves yellow, but, with time, they do recover.
This bulb must only be planted in an easterly position and protected from frost.
It can not tolerate afternoon sun in summer, as the leaves suffer from sun burn.