Amaryllis are beautiful anytime, but over the Christmas holidays they make a spectacular and dramatic decoration for your home. Each year I plant several bulbs in early November so they will be in bloom in time for the holidays. I sell them through GARDENS4U and give them as gifts, but always plant enough to ensure I have several to enjoy in my own home throughout the dreary winter months. Follow this link to see blooms from previous years AMARYLLIS
The amaryllis bulbs grow very quickly; you will see a change almost daily. These next pictures are from a pale pink beauty this past season:
Over the past few years I have learned a few tricks for keeping amaryllis looking their best:
- Plant the bulb in soil, leaving the top one third of the bulb exposed.
- Choose a deep bowl to plant them in and insert a stake of some sort to tie the stalk to. This will prevent the plant from tipping over when the blossoms in full bloom cause the plant to become top heavy:
- Keep notes of what the blossom colors will be (they come in a wide variety) so you can co-ordinate containers, especially if you plan to give them as gifts.
- Add a few small decorations to enhance your container, especially during the initial growing phase of the amaryllis before the flowers boom. I buy my decorations at the dollar store to minimize costs.
- Water sparingly (weekly) until flowers bloom, then water daily.
- The brighter and warmer the area you grow them in, the faster they will bloom. Once in bloom, changing their location to a less sunny, cooler spot will extend their bloom time.
When it is done blooming, if you wish to save your amaryllis bulb for reuse, follow these steps:
- Once the blooms have all faded, cut off the flower stems just above where it comes out of the bulb.You might notice that the bulb is slightly softer or smaller than when you first planted it. (or received it) That’s because it has used up a lot of the material inside the bulb to make the flowers and stems you’ve just seen. It has to begin the process of restoring that material and fattening the bulb again.
- To do this, you should treat your amaryllis bulb like a houseplant. If it is in a pot without drainage holes(many of my Christmas planters use inexpensive pots without drainage) transplant it to one with holes. As it grows more leaves, water it whenever the soil looks dry (sparingly) Once a month, add fertilizer to the water to keep the supply of nutrients available. Give it as much bright light as you can during the winter months. In summer, take it outside. Put it in bright or filtered light, but not direct sunlight.
- By the end of the summer, it will actually feel much plumper and fuller. At end of September let the amaryllis bulb go dormant: Bring it inside, and stop watering it. Once the soil has dried out, the leaves will begin to die. When they have all turned yellow and then brown, the bulb is dormant. You can cut off all the leaves just above the neck and pull the whole bulb and root ball out of the pot. Shake off the soil and trim the roots back to about two inches. The bulb will look just like it was when you first got it.
- Leave the bulb somewhere cool and dry until the beginning of November (if you want blooms for Christmas), when you can plant it in a pot of fresh soil and start the flowering process all over again. Plant so the top third of the bulb is exposed. It should take about a month after it’s planted for it to bloom. If you’re careful, you can keep this flowering-and-replenishing cycle going for years. The bulb will grow larger each year and gradually start producing second and even third flower stalks