Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) offered in the late fall through winter are used as forced bulbs to decorate and beautify the inside of homes during the winter. These easy-to-grow bulbs are being propagated in many parts of the world today.
Amaryllis is offered in assorted sizes, measured in centimeters in circumference (around the bulb). Larger bulb sizes normally produce more flower stalks or more flowers per stem. The heavier the bulbs, the more expensive it is. The largest size is sometimes called jumbo.
Speaking of choices, Amaryllis come in a wide variety of colors and flower formations thanks to the hybridizers who are continuing to create more forms and colors.
These are normally large flowers with six petals per flower; multiple stems and multiple blooms per stem; often one stem emerges at a time, giving a long bloom season, typically a month or more.
Large flowers with additional petals found within the outside six petals. Some petals curve into the center of the flower making it look more rose-like.
Hybridizers of these extremely popular bulbs continue to create more types of ‘Amaryllis’ (Hippeastrum), often with different shapes and petal forms. Some, with their pointy, thin petals, resemble spider legs.
This week’s plant pick definitely gives one of the best holiday and winter ‘flowering’ shows of all the holiday plants. And, it makes a great Christmas gift for anyone. It’s Amaryllis, and let me tell you, there are so many wonderful colorful selections on the market today, it’s crazy! Grow them in a pot for colorful flowers for the holidays or colors during the winter. And if you live in Zone 8 or further south, you grow them in the ground! And if you need a Christmas gift that makes everyone happy (later on), give an Amaryllis Bulb Kit. Note: When buying Amaryllis bulbs, the larger the bulb, the more flowers you will get. So you’ll find smaller bulbs that are less expensive, and the more expensive are older, larger, and produce more flowers. (2023 is the Year of the Amaryllis!)
A Holiday favorite, Amaryllis is one of the easiest bulbs to bring into flower, not only for the Holidays, but to help brighten those dreary winter days. Here’s how you can be successful with your Amaryllis bulbs…
Starting Your Amaryllis
-Plant your Amaryllis bulb in a 6- 8 -10 inch pot that has drainage holes. Use a soil-less potting mix, and bury the bulb up to its neck. Water well, and place the potted bulb in a bright, warm place. (No direct sunlight) -Water (use luke warm water) sparingly until the bulb produces a stem, then increase watering as needed. In general it takes 6-8 weeks for the bulb to flower. -The best temperatures for your Amaryllis are 65 to 70 degrees during the day, and a bit cooler at night to help extend the length of bloom. In some cases, flower stalks may need to be staked to prevent falling over.
Care After Flowering
-After the flowers have finished, cut the flower stalk back to the top of the bulb, leaving any foliage that has appeared. Continue to water and lightly feed (monthly) through the winter and early spring.
-Once the danger of frost has past, place the potted bulb outdoors in a partly sunny location to continue to grow and feed the bulb all summer long. Water as needed - feed monthly. Miracle Gro is a great fertilizer for these bulbs. Amaryllis bulbs are heavy feeders!
Getting Your Amaryllis to Flower Again
-Around September 1st (earlier if you want earlier re-flowering), stop watering the bulb. The leaves will yellow and begin to dry up. Remove the dead foliage, bring the bulb inside, and store in a cool dark place for a minimum of 6 -8 weeks. (50 degrees) Do not water. -6-8 weeks before you want flowers, bring the bulb back out, begin to water (lightly at first, until stems begin to appear), and then start the cycle all over again. -Bulbs that do not re-flower typically did not store enough food during the growing season, were stored too warm or too cold, or not given enough dormancy period. -Plant Amaryllis bulbs at different times to have flowering periods that will last all winter long. Remember, the larger the bulb, the more flower stems it will produce.