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Mar 23, 2014 12:37 PM

? about meat blood as fertilizer

I am a partially disabled retiree who long ago accepted that she has a black thumb. Even if I were capable of kneeling and digging, my Boston-area house gets very little sun, so I have *zero* interest in trying to grow stuff indoors or out.

That said, just before Christmas I received an amaryllis bulb which a friend had planted in a 5-6" upper diameter plastic pot some time earlier. It had just begun to sprout some green and I was directed that warmth was more important than light, and to water once a week. I know my downfall in the past was often overwatering so I gave "Mary"
3-4 ounces of water per week. Whenever I unwrapped raw meat, I added the blood to "her" water. About a month later, she delivered twins. Once those two blooms waned, she presented me with a second pair of flowers. I was told to cut the stalk down to just above the bulb once the flowers were over, and did that. Three leaves emerged, which are now over 16" tall. She's growing about an inch a day, it seems. My friend said that once the danger of frost has passed, I should dig a couple of inches down in a shady spot, and just set the pot down into the shallow hole, to somewhat insulate the roots from the worst of the summer heat, in hopes that Mary might bloom again next winter.

I will try this but I wonder if I should still feed blood to the plant - and maybe change the name to Audrey? (;-D) If I put meat blood on it outdoors, will it attract pests/other animals? I'd be putting the pot near my front door. If I don't, would it help to stick a multivitamin into the pot and if so, how often? I am neither able nor interested in getting into buying plant food, repotting, etc. TIA

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  1. I wouldn't add blood if she's outdoors -- yes, you'll have any of a number of critters attracted by the scent.

    A human multivitamin won't do much to help a plant -- and there's really no benefit to setting the pot into a hole. The ground temperature is the ground temperature, pot or no.

    ETA: You might find this helpful and/or interesting:

    1 Reply
    1. re: sunshine842

      Totally agree with the no-pot-in-a-hole, sunshine. Also, you have to be really careful with the water (too much or not enough) in potted plants. The one good thing is, they're mobile for sudden deluges, fabulous summer thunderstorms, etc.

    2. Hi greygarious!

      If Mary/Audrey responded really well to the meat juice, she might be craving protein. I read somewhere that the juices from meats are more protein than, say, like a bag of dried blood that you'd get at the garden store. The dried blood is high in nitrogen, so it's good for "Greening" leafy plants and lawns, but the meat we'd get in the store probably has little blood left in its juices.

      A neighbor swears by a regular multivitamin buried three inches from the stem and three inches deep for her geraniums. And there are other things you can experiment with---unflavored gelatin has plenty of protein in it, for ex.

      What I would do, if I were you ...and believe me, I'm no garden continue with the meat juice if she likes it. If you attract ants or animals, discontinue, and try unflavored gelatin (which should provide plenty of protein).

      1. You can buy meat meal. its pretty popular with a lot of gardeners. I used it to hang in bags. It great for discouraging deer.

        I don't know the critters you have around but something might dig up your bulb thinking there meat in there somewhere.

        You usually put amaryllis outside for summer but then bring it back in before winter. They are not usually hardy enough. How low does your winter temp get?

        4 Replies
        1. re: daislander


          Excuse my answering, but there are a bunch of us who are in the same general locale and our winters can get very cold (Boston North) and our springs are temperamental. This week, for example, is supposed to bring record low temps.

          1. re: pinehurst

            'very cold' and 'record lows' dosnt really tell me much. 10 is low for some people -10 for some and -50 for others.

            This is a basic instruction for the common indoor type it she sounds like she has

            After-Bloom Care
            After-Flowering. After the amaryllis has stopped flowering, it can be made to flower again. Cut the old flowers from the stem after flowering, and when the stem starts to sag, cut it back to the top of the bulb.
            Leaf Growth and Development. Continue to water and fertilize as normal all summer, or for at least 5-6 months, allowing the leaves to fully develop and grow. When the leaves begin to yellow, which normally occurs in the early fall, cut the leaves back to about 2 inches from the top of the bulb and remove the bulb from the soil.
            Bulb Storage. Clean the bulb and place it in a cool (40-50 deg. F), dark place such as the crisper of your refrigerator for a minimum of 6 weeks. Caution: Do not store amaryllis bulbs in a refrigerator that contains apples, this will sterilize the bulbs. Store the bulbs for a minimum of 6 weeks.
            Plant Again. After 6 weeks you may remove bulbs whenever you would like to plant them. Plant bulbs 8 weeks before you would like them to bloom.

            So its a little vague in that when it says 'plant again' it means indoors. Her friend said to plant it out after chance of frost has passed which is right but I was just saying you also have to dig it back out and bring it in in the fall. The main reason for planting outside is most areas outside is fine for most plants during summer as long as there getting watered. They can look a bit unsightly in the house with just two leafs. Plus more natural rhythm outside so the bulb is more likely to bloom again.

            1. re: daislander

              Sorry about that---I thought saying "Boston" would have eliminated the -50.... ;-) hasn't been that bad yet, but it has been mercurial. Today the temp reached 50 (above zero). Wednesday night temps of 15 degrees are forecasted.


              I am sure your tips will be very helpful for Greygarious! Thanks!

              1. re: pinehurst

                Yeah, thinking about putting the plant outdoors is jumping the gun. Thanks, all, for the input. If I get another flowering next winter, I'll be astonished. Chances are some critter will dig up and eat the bulb. Or I'll forget all about it and not do the cold storage. Or put it in the fridge and lose it there till next spring!