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Amaryllis for the Holidays!

by FigTree

Peachparfait.large
Amaryllis 'peach parfait': www.whiteflowerfarm.com

You don't need a degree in horticulture to grow amaryllis. They are so easy to grow even a kindergartner can plant them and get great results. Drop them into some soil, give them a good drink, and stand back. In four to six weeks, you'll have your very own spectacular display of bloom. That's because unlike other forced bulbs, amaryllis require no pre-cooling in order to bloom; they're ready to go right after you buy them. So, turn those winter blues into happy holidays; you've got bulbs to plant.

AMARYLLIS

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At first glance, an amaryllis bulb, with its flaking brown skin and gnarled roots, doesn't look like much. But once it starts to grow, this ugly duckling turns into a swan. Tall, graceful stalks rise from the bulb almost before your eyes producing huge, lily-like blossoms in an assortment of spectacular colors. Each flower stalk develops a cluster of three or more giant blooms.   Individual flowers may measure 10 inches in diameter. Then, just when you think the flower show is over, a second stalk may rise to the occasion with even more blooms. Individual amaryllis make striking accent plants, but you can increase the magic by grouping two or three bulbs together in a large pot.

Let's get these bulbs planted:

 
Planting an amaryllis bulb is about as easy as gardening gets. When your bulb arrives in the mail, remove it from the box and gently untangle and separate the roots of the bulb. Then, soak the roots in lukewarm water for three or four hours before planting. Select a pot that's two or three inches wider than the top of the bulb.

1. Fill the pot with rich, well-drained potting soil; set the bulb into the soil leaving about two thirds of the bulb above the soil.

2.Keep track of your favorites by labeling your containers or using a plant marker.  Then water generously. Place the pot near a sunny window or in a warm room (day temperatures of at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit) with bright indirect light.

3.Feed your amaryllis once or twice a month with a weak solution of organic fertilizer.

After the blooms fade, cut off the flower stalk at soil level.

In the spring, once frost is safely past, move your amaryllis outdoors to a partially-shady location. Continue to water and feed the plant until late summer when the foliage begins to turn yellow. Then remove the leaves as they die.

In the fall, it is time to sleep.  Before cool weather sets in, bring your amaryllis inside and place the pot, bulb and all, in a dark place for a six- to eight-weeks.

After the bulb's rest period, repot with fresh soil, water well, and place on a sunny windowsill. When repotting, remove any offsets (tiny bulbs attached to the larger, mother bulb) and pot them up individually for additional plants.

Insider Tip:
To make you amaryllis bloom for a couple more days, use a set of tweezers to take off the pollen-bearing anthers before they begin to shed.

More tips on amaryllis:

 

 

Tags

Amaryllis, Bulbs, Holiday, gifts, christmas

comments

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marcydiané commented on 06/01/12
Forgotten how beautiful they are. I used to force some daffodils and amaryllis every year. Bet that&#x27;s been 30 years ago, I&#x27;d forgotten all about it.
Sprite
INGrandad commented on 10/22/09
try it again!
Sprite
FigTree replied: on 10/22/09
Love amaryllis! We plant this in the ground and leave it forever here in Florida. It is a great companion to caladium plantings because it blooms in early spring before the caladiums break dormancy. It&#x27;s the only bulb I can think of that gives us a spring show like the northern bulbs. And the great thing is, they keep multiplying every year!
Sprite
Daylilyjoy commented on 10/22/09
Love it too- the best thing about them is that here in the winter when we all feel like we're going to lose our minds with the grey- a huge blooms just cheers us right up!
Sprite
FigTree replied: on 10/22/09
REALLY?!?!? I didn't realize I could keep them in the ground down here!!! OK...I'm in!!!
Sprite
Lily replied: on 10/22/09
Lily, the street leading to my sister's new (older) house is unbelievable in April! There must be hundreds, if not thousands, of amaryllis planted in everyone's front yard. Very common pass-along here among older gardeners. I told my sister she needs to make some new friends. I don't really know anyone personally who will pass it along. Always budget conscious, I bought just four bulbs and planted them on a sandy slope under a crape myrtle. Those four have now increased to about twenty. I have lifted and divided them once during the past four years. They bloom for a short few weeks in late March/early April. The leaves get eaten by critters occasionally, but they just produce new leaves and still flower. Sometimes they are evergreen, and sometimes the leaves shrivel away for a short time in winter. I have a plan to buy more this year to mix in among the caladiums under the drake elm. Can't wait! FYI - Amaryllis do best in sandy, well-drained soil and full to part sun. They shouldn't be planted deeply.
Sprite
Daylilyjoy replied: on 10/22/09
We can grow them in ground here in Central Tx, too. I have a friend who has been putting a at least one new amaryllis bulb in the ground each year for many years growing her collection of flowers and memories!
Sprite
gardengirl replied: on 10/23/09
Sounds like my kind of gardener!
Sprite
Daylilyjoy replied: on 10/23/09
We used to put them in the ground in Austin... so fun to have amaryllis in the summer :-) We tried in Seattle, but no luck... except one bulb that was in a pile under my potting bench bloomed a month ago!!! A great surprise. We plant at least 15-20 every year, and love it!
Sprite
chief cultivator replied: on 11/13/09
Love your description of the ugly bulb becoming a beautiful swan! I&#x27;ve never had an amaryllis...always been a radically loyal fan of hyacinth. But the blooms are so beautiful that I&#x27;m sure there&#x27;s room in my heart (and patio/garden) for the amaryllis!
Sprite
Lily commented on 10/22/09
I think there is a little room in there! Just wait until I talk about paperwhites! :)
Sprite
FigTree replied: on 10/22/09
What a cool insider tip - thanks!
Sprite
gardengirl commented on 10/22/09
it's a good one- and it really does make the bloom last three days longer!
Sprite
FigTree replied: on 10/22/09

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