bigstock-Red-Hippeastrum-On-Window-42488794I love amaryllis.

They brighten the grayest of winter days, and watching and waiting for the buds to open is a fun reminder that spring will be coming soon.

For years, though, I avoided them.

For most of my adult life I’ve had between two and four cats at one time.  And unfortunately the paper on the amaryllis bulbs is poisonous to cats. In my experience, cats can’t resist two things: The New and the Green. Anything different in their environment must be thoroughly investigated, and anything green must be sampled.photoI currently have only two Siamese cats, both getting up in years.  This doesn’t appear to slow them down much, though.  Most twelve year old dogs look it, but I don’t guess most people would know that’s how old this guy, Atlas, was last year.  Which is good and bad.  The bad is that they still need to chew on and snuffle anything green. But last year, I discovered something.  When I padded the exposed amaryllis bulb with this stuff, labeled Reindeer Moss but actually a lichen, the cats left them alone!photoThis is the stuff model train builders use for turf and reindeer lichen is often used in terrariums and dried displays. It’s pretty widely available on-line or in gardening centers.

If you try it with your cats, make sure to cover all the exposed bulb and keep an eye on your cat(s) until you’re sure it works with them. I was so surprised by this discovery, but I suspect the lichen doesn’t smell “right”because it’s preserved.

Now the only problem is deciding which amaryllis to grow—which is exactly the kind of gardening problem I like to have on a long, cold winter’s night. How about you?

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2 Responses to Amaryllis

  1. Angie Mc says:

    Smart idea! Thank you for sharing, Faith. And thank you for liking my post about cookies at . Now you have me thinking about bringing amaryllis into our home; this just might work with our old cat, Leon 🙂

    • Hey, I hope it works for you. I’m always looking for ways to combine pets and indoor plants safely. Older cats can be tricky, too. I sometimes think mine are too jaded to be interested, but they still sometimes surprise me. And I don’t want risk their health.

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