Top Heavy Topple-Over

The amaryllis toppled over in the night, pot and all. Its spectacular blossoms survived, but the stem was bent at the bottom. The problem was obvious–smallish clay pot, soil a bit too dry, a sunny, warm, corner location with bottom heat, and a huge blossom that was more glorious than I had imagined it would be when I planted the bulb. Heavy top, light bottom. Over it went.

What to do?

I righted the pot, tucked the dirt back around the bulb, cut the stem at the base, shortened it a bit, and lowered the blossom into my favorite vase.

How to steady it?

The rosemary in the herb garden is still quite green and happy, if not as aromatic as in the summer and not quite as flavorful, but vigorous all the same. So, I went to the tallest rosemary plant, cut three long stems, put them inside the flower head, not outside as props, and marveled at the structure of the blossom. Everything just sort of sighed and settled in. Rosemary, amaryllis, me.


I rarely like over-hybridized plants and flowers. They are of the McMansion-Super-Sized-Fries-Bigger-Is-Always-Better kind of thinking that distresses me in our culture. Dinner Plate dahlias, “blue” day lilies? Not in my garden. But this amaryllis, in all its bigness, was a marvelous surprise.

How long did the blossom last in the vase?

Nearly two weeks, freshening the water every few days.

And the bulb?

Perfectly happy, apparently, since it is now putting out a new flower stem that will grow right along with the three strappy leaves that had already begun. This amaryllis will be one I’ll do my best to nurse through its natural cycle in hopes of another Big Bloom next winter.

Cindy Briggs


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