Holidays are often about visiting friends and family and gift giving. One of the most popular holiday gift plants is the amaryllis. This southern hemisphere bulb blooms in December and January in gardens in places such as South Africa. For northern, cold weather gardeners, we can have some winter color, too, by growing it indoors. Luckily, amaryllis are easy bulbs to grow. So, if you got an amaryllis for the holidays or just crave some fresh flowers in winter, try growing this exotic beauty. Here's how.
1. Which Bulb?- There are many new varieties of amarayllis available. You can buy large flowered ones, dwarf versions, some with multiple flower colors and many with 2 or 3 flowering stalks. There are even colored wax coated amaryllis that don't even need soil to grow.
2. Pot & Soil- Once you buy the bulb, you'll need soilless potting soil and a pot to grow it. Choose a pot just a little wider than the bulb. Moisten the potting soil and plant the bulb so the top 1/3rd is out of the ground.
3. Growing On- Place the pot in a sunny, warm window and keep barely moist. In a matter of a few weeks you'll see a flower stalk emerge. For large flowered varieties the tall flower stalk may need some support so it doesn't fall over. Place a bamboo or metal stake next to the bulb and attach it to the flower stalk with VELCRO® Brand Garden Ties. Select a colored tie that matches or compliments the color of the flower. Plant ties are decorative, too!
4. After Flowering- Let the flowers naturally fade and once all the flowers on the stalk are finished, cut the stalk off at the bulb, but leave the leaves. The leaves are dark green and sword-like making for an attractive houseplant. In spring and summer, place the pot outdoors and keep it watered and fertilized. Let it go dormant in fall. The leaves will feed the bulb so it will flower again next winter.