After Christmas Amaryllis

Amaryllis

Originally posted January 2012

Although we are in the midst of winter and some of us have landscapes covered in snow, we gardeners can enjoy getting our hands dirty and satisfy our urge to sow by planting a few Amaryllis bulbs indoors. The bonus with planting an Amaryllis indoors is, unlike most “house” plants, it will result in large, beautiful, lily-like blooms within a few weeks – some with double or multiple blooms. (See the pic below of the one I am growing now – it appears it will have two separate stems.)

Amaryllis Coleus CrownofThorns
Amaryllis Bulb at southern-facing window with blooming Crown of Thorns and Coleus in the background.

 As I began researching this topic, I found a couple of Web sites to refer you to that pretty much say it all, along with complimentary picture diagrams, thus, I will spare you the details of planting and care here except to say that it is VERY easy. If you haven’t tried Amaryllis bulbs before, I urge you to do so now while the timing and price is right. The only prerequisite before purchasing a bulb kit is that you have a nice, sunny window with a lot of space. Amaryllis requires bright light to sprout and plenty of room to grow as it can reach 18 -24 inches tall. Yes, they are big plants! In the U.S. and other parts of the Northern Hemisphere, the best place for Amaryllis to grow would be near a spacious southern facing window in either your home or office.

However, once your plant begins to bloom, usually in about 5 – 8 weeks, you should move it away from direct sunlight so that the blooms will stay fresh for a longer period of time.

Amaryllis care web sites:
http://www.amaryllis.com/pac.htm
http://www.rochestergardening.com/bulbs/amrylcar.html

Now, to the main point of this relatively short blog post for me – as I hinted above, you can purchase these gorgeous plants at this time of year on clearance for about $3 each or less. Some Amaryllis are offered in a kit which includes everything you need: the bulb, a dehydrated potting soil disk, brief instructions, and a plastic, but useful, pot. I feel especially fortunate because I found my Amaryllis kit at Target this past weekend (January 7) for $2.98 and it included a nice, roomy ceramic red pot. The pot alone is worth $2.98 in my opinion! At Target, they had a choice in colors of both pots and blooms. I chose a deep red blooming plant to match my deep red ceramic pot, but they offered white, pink and striped blooming varieties in either a red or white ceramic pot. In addition to Target, I have seen Amaryllis bulb kits on clearance at ridiculously low prices at Wal-Mart, Lowes and Home Depot as well. Before you buy, though, peek into the pot to see if the bulb has sprouted and bloomed on its own over the holidays. Some of those on the higher shelves at Target (where they were exposed to bright fluorescent light) had prematurely bloomed inside the pot. Once I delved into the ones stacked toward the back on the lower shelves, I was able to find plenty of bulbs that were at their prime for potting (a little green popping through the bulb is OK).

So, next time you are out doing your grocery shopping or scanning the after-Christmas clearance aisles at your local home improvement store, spring for a couple of Amaryllis bulb kits! In a few weeks, as winter continues its barren path, you’ll be happy to have a little taste of springtime to admire indoors.

Until next time,

Cindy

For you green-thumbed guys out there, here’s a hint:  If you hurry, you may be able to present your sweetheart with a very nice blooming Valentine – just look for a bulb that has already begun to sprout, which shouldn’t be hard to find at this time of year. While I don’t want to get anyone into trouble that is expected to annually present roses, Amaryllis also blooms in the colors of love . . . red, white, and pink.  Plus, an Amaryllis will last longer than cut roses and bloom time and again with proper care. I know I’d appreciate one from my sweetheart, but then again, I love ALL PLANTS equally so please give at your own risk!

 

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