It's getting mighty cold outside and our focus is most definitely turning INWARD. What better time than now to acquire some new flowering houseplants to cheer up your winter windows?
Amaryllis are wonderful, dramatic flowering winter houseplants that anybody can grow. All you need to know are a few basic tips on their care and feeding . . .
Amaryllis grow from gigantic bulbs that are available in the fall. Pot up the bulbs in a clay pot for stability. The pot should be only 2-4" wider than the diameter of the bulb. Leave the top one third of the bulb showing above the soil surface. Water it well and then refrain from watering it until the soil dries out. Because the roots of a newly planted
Amaryllis are small and undeveloped, it is very easy to over water them. Be careful! Provide warm temperatures, especially at the root zone,
while the bulbs are actively rooting. Some good places to root them are on a shelf above a radiator or on top of your refrigerator. Once the bulbs have rooted well (you can tell by tugging on them gently), then step up the watering when necessary. At this point, you will begin to see the flower stalks emerging. Move the plant into the sun. The flower stalks will grow 1-3" per day! Plan on 6-8 weeks from the time you plant your bulb to the time it flowers.
When in flower, keep the plant fairly moist. You will very often be blessed with multiple flower stalks opening over the course of many weeks in the winter. When the plant has finished blooming, cut off the flower stalks and encourage the green strap-like leaves to grow lush and full. They will grow all spring and summer. Remember, as with all bulbs, the better the foliage grows, the more food is stored in the bulb for flowers next year.
In late summer, it’s time to give your Amaryllis a rest. Cut off the leaves and put it in the cellar in a cool, dark place for 6-8 weeks. Withhold water and simply let the plant go dormant. After the dormant period is up, bring it up into the light and repot it to a slightly larger clay pot, using fresh potting soil enriched with compost. Water well and watch the flowers appear once again!
An Amaryllis, if properly cared for, can live for years and years. The bulbs keep growing larger and they produce multiple flower spikes. The secret to success is the treatment of the plant after flowering!
Look for rare and unusual new varieties of Amaryllis. There are double forms that are exquisite as well as dwarfs, bi-colors, and even a soft yellow variety. They are so much fun to grow because they are a real action plant. What other plant can you actually WATCH grow day after day? If you start now, you can have magnificent flowers by mid-January.
In an effort to provide horticultural information, these educational documents are written by Nancy DuBrule-Clemente and are the property of Natureworks Horticultural Services, LLC. You are granted permission to print/photocopy this educational information free of charge as long as you clearly show that these are Natureworks documents.