Garden Q&A: Red patches on the amaryllis and what bulbs don’t deer eat
By Ellen Nibali
Nov 21, 2019 | 7:00 AM
My amaryllis developed red patches on some leaves over the summer. I pulled off affected leaves, and now I’ve brought the amaryllis indoors to go dormant. Will the red patches return on new leaves? I’d like to save this amaryllis as it is a fairly rare variety. (I don’t try to time blooming. After the holidays, I just water and put it in the sun and it blooms in late winter.)
This fungal disease known as red spot or red blotch will get into the bulb itself. It’s not fatal usually, though heavily infected bulbs should be discarded.
To save this one, you can remove any infected scales and repot in sterile soil in a clean pot. A systemic fungicide can be used. Some recommend soaking lightly infected bulbs for 30 minutes in 104-114 degrees F water. It’s possible to cut off visible infection in a big bulb if enough healthy bulb remains.
What spring flower bulbs do deer NOT eat? They ate every tulip last spring.
Happily, there are many. Good deer resistant candidates are hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis), glory-of-the-snow (Chionodoxa spp.), Crocus tommasinianus, grape hyacinth, Iris reticulata, alliums, snowdrops, snowflake (Leucojum spp.), Spanish bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica) and winter aconite (Eranthis hiemalis). And, of course, daffodils and narcissus are almost deer-proof and come in an entertaining range of shapes and colors you can design with.
University of Maryland Extension’s Home and Garden Information Center offers free gardening and pest information at extension.umd.edu/hgic. Click “Ask Maryland’s Gardening Experts” to send questions and photos.