Category Archives: Flower Gardening

Growing Amaryllis Bulbs

I’ve been growing Amaryllis bulbs for three years.  I want to share my experiences because they are unique!  I started with one Amaryllis bulb and it bloomed beautifully, in April.   The flowers were red and gorgeous.  After the flowers died I didn’t know what to do with the plant.  I had no experience growing Amaryllis bulbs.

There were some beautiful green stalk-like leaves.  I decided they would do well in the full sun on my front porch.  I had learned that green leaves produce food for the bulbs through photosynthesis.  So this amaryllis bulb had lots of opportunity for growing with the photosynthesis happening on my front porch.

Growing Amaryllis Bulbs on My Front Porch

The Amaryliss flourished on my front porch.  I put it in a bigger pot adding worm compost to the potting soil.  The green leaves multiplied and grew long and strong!  Then another amaryllis sprouted.  Just a small skinny green leaf, growing next to the main plant.  MY AMARYLLIS HAD SPROUTED A BABY PLANT!  I read that worm compost has substances in it that helps plants grow.  I wondered if the worm compost had contributed to the new, baby amaryllis plant growing.  See links below supporting my idea.

Since microbe population is significantly boosted by earthworms, large quantities of  ‘plant growth regulators” are available in vermicompost.  Vermicompost is rich in humic acid which promotes plant growth and nutritional uptake. (Check out #4 & #5 at this link.)

Worm worked waste and their excretory products can induce excellent plant growth. This has been shown in several reports.( See #8 at this link)

After the summer, before the first frost I brought the pot into the house so the plants could go dormant.  This means I stopped watering them and the leaves all died.  After a couple of months I repotted the new baby bulb and replenished the potting soil with worm compost in both pots.

Growing Amaryliss BulbsThis picture shows the baby bulb after one year of being in its own pot.  As you can see from the quarter it is quite large.  The roots are robust and healthy looking.  I attribute this to the worm compost and the sun on my front porch.  Check out my next post for what happened the next year:  Amaryllis Baby Bulbs.

Check out my YouTube video on Growing Amaryliss Bulbs!

Monarch Caterpillar Eggs

The last few days I have been searching for Monarch caterpillar eggs.  Monarch butterflies have been visiting my garden for the last week or two so I am assuming that they have been laying eggs on the milkweed.  This will be my third year raising Monarch caterpillars.

Monarch Caterpillar Eggs Ready to Hatch

Because this is my third year, I now know what Monarch caterpillar eggs look like.  Here is a picture of one that is quite new.  So as I search, I recognize them much more quickly.  I had been watching two eggs for the last two days.  Today the top of the egg became much darker.  So I knew that the caterpillar was about to emerge.  These are a great series of pictures of the monarch caterpillar egg hatching.  You can clearly see the black head of the caterpillar at the top of the egg which is what I saw today.

Growing Monarch Caterpillars in the House

The first year I had lots of caterpillars and then slowly they started disappearing until I could hardly find any.  They were being eaten in my garden.  See my post about Saving the Monarch Caterpillar.

Baby Monarch CaterpillarWhen I saw that the caterpillars were about to emerge today I cut the leaves off to bring into the house.  I like raising the caterpillars in the house.  The last two years I have raised between 20-24 Monarch butterflies successfully.  It’s quite easy to raise them if you have lots of milkweed leaves to feed them, which I have. Here is a picture of the monarch caterpillar a few hours after it had emerged.  You can see it compared to a dime.  They are very small when they first emerge, almost like you can’t see them.   They eat voraciously and grow very fast.

Bad News About the Monarch Caterpillar Eggs

Unfortunately my two baby caterpillars died.  I think that the milkweed leaf that I had in with them got too dried up.  I am heartbroken and devastated.  They had actually crawled off the leaf.  I found them and put them back on.  Now, in retrospect, I think they were looking for more moisture. After doing some research on the internet I found this great article on raising baby monarch caterpillars.  THE LEAVES THAT THEY FEED ON SHOULD BE LEFT IN WATER OR SPRAYED WITH WATER TO KEEP THEM MOIST!

As a Beginner Collect Larger Caterpillars

This was a hard lesson for me.  All the caterpillars that I raised in the past were larger than these newly hatched babies.  They were stronger and seemed fine with the milkweed leaves that I put in for them to eat.  I replaced the milkweed leaves every day when they started looking old.  So if you are a beginner I would recommend raising larger caterpillars at first until you become an expert at that.  Then if you want to raise them from eggs keep the leaf stems in water so the leaves stay hydrated.  The link above has very good information about raising Monarchs from eggs.