Newby questions about Brent and Beckys SA Sonatini Hippeastrums

5 months ago

I just got my shipment of holiday bulbs, some forcing narcissi and some of the South African miniature Sonatini Hippeastrums. I am hoping that those Sonatinis will fit under my light garden (8 tubes x 4'). I have three standard Hipps seeming to be doing just fine except that their leaves are so long they get into the tubes. I am real inexperienced with the hippeastrums although I seem to have been able to keep three of last years bulbs alive and well (1 w/three leaves, 1 w/4 leaves, and 1 w/5 leaves) and all with nice firm bulbs. I have no idea how to get them to flower again however! What size pot should I use for the Sonatinis; the others are in 6" plastic azalea pots, which I have a lot of. Those seem a little big, unless I plant several bulbs together, since the Sonatinis have smaller bulbs and are supposed to grow smaller plants.

Thanks in advance for any help or suggestions.

Comments (8)

  • sorceresslelia

    I personally put smaller bulbs into 6 inch pots the same way I do with larger bulbs in the hopes that they'll either grow or produce offsets. I have however kept Sonatinis in 4 inch pots with no problem. Sonatinis stay small so the 6 inch pot can look a little lopsided at first, before the bulb produces offsets. You can use smaller pots if you're just looking for flowers without harming the plant. The lights should be fine, mine stay pretty short, much shorter than my standards. You can put two or maybe three in a pot together if you wanted a large cluster but personally I'd repot them after flowering to replenish the bulbs without competition. . Mine all go outside in the summer to build the bulbs up, then have a dry treatment starting around August if I want Christmas flowers. No water until the leaves die back naturally (don't cut them off, they'll feed the bulb until they die) and then no water for 6 to 8 weeks or until you see a scape sprouting. You can then resume normal watering. You usually want the scapes starting around now for Christmas flowers. I usually select a few of my bulbs each year for Christmas and give them the dry treatment while leaving my others to grow as long as possible with regular watering. They'll die back and sprout on their own timetables throughout the winter that way, great for January and February when almost everything else is asleep. If you do the dry treatment and just get leaves the bulb doesn't have enough energy to flower, give it some fertilizer and good light and try again next year. Bulbs sold around now are usually already prepped to bloom so don't worry about them. Feel free to ask more questions if you have them, I'd be happy to answer :)

  • jstropic (10a)

    Old Dutch, feel free to plant multiple bulbs in one pot, multiple scapes blooming, even in succession, is a beautiful sight.

    OldDutch thanked jstropic (10a)
  • OldDutch

    I sorta like the idea of multiple bulbs in one pot. I usually get multiples even on new items and that is what I did for three different colors of the Sonatinis. So multiples in individual pots is real possible. Thanks to you both.

  • OldDutch

    Three Sonatinis in a 6 inch pot were fabulous. Each sent up 3 flowering stems and I had as many as 16 blossoms open at one time. All my Sonatinis are in full green leaf under strong lights. They seem to like it there just fine. And they fit while standard hippieastrums grow much too tall for my light garden.

  • Maru, 5b

    When I bought 3 Sonatini bulbs before, I planted them all together in one 6" clay pot. The three all flowering at the same time was very beautiful. I posted a photo of it last year, I think.

    I took them out of the pot last year to force dormancy which is when I noticed that one of the bulbs (Bright Spark) was too far down and was partially rotting. I wasn't able to save it.

    I potted the remaining 2 bulbs (Fan Fare and Baby Doll) last Jan in a 4.5" pot. it took them awhile to form new roots. One of them (probably Fan Fare) popped out a flower scape last week.

  • OldDutch

    Next year my three Fire Dancers are going into a larger pot than 6", They fit with room to spare originally, but they are now crowding each other. They seem to like the high intensity LED shop lights I have them under. They and the other Sonatinis I got last fall, all look to have put on a bit of girth over what they originally were. Later, once summer is actually here, they will be going outside along with the three standard sized rescue bulbs I also have, that seem to also be doing alright under the lights although their leaves are way too long and I haven't managed to get any of them to bloom yet.

  • Maru, 5b

    OLd Dutch, could you provide a link to the LED lights you have? What's the wattage you're using?

  • OldDutch

    I have three different fixtures. 1 4tube T8 that will be set up as a standalone for 2 flats. And two different LED fixtures installed together for 4 flats. (Gotta love that Permanest - they last forever) Wattages are listed at the Websites. I don't pay too much attention to the wattages actually.

    (Here's hoping the URLs copy!)

    LITHONIA 4' 4 T8 tube shoplight Model 1284GRD RE


    COMMERCIAL ELECTRIC 4' 4 Light LED 7000 Lumens 4000K


    SMART ELECTRIC 4' 10,000 Lumens 5000K Model Number: 62200 Menards® SKU: 3481443


    BTW I have sweet potato from last year set for starts under the LED pair and they seem to be doing very well - just started last week though - so the jury is still out.

    The LED pair is on a timer set to about 14 hours.

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