Amaryllis are large flowering bulbs that are widely available right now and through the holiday season. They come in a variety of sizes and colors, and some are even quite fragrant.
And unlike their popular cousins, Paperwhites, Amaryllis will actually re-bloom year after year.
As we are entering the cold-weather season here in New York, I’m always looking for ways to green up the indoors – and Amaryllis are one of my favorite plants to fill the house with.
Amaryllis make a lovely and unusual gift too – pot them up, enclose these instructions, and the recipient can enjoy her plant for many seasons.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Amaryllis bulb – available at most nurseries and garden centers
Small pot with saucer – amaryllis need to feel “crowded” in order to bloom; a 5-7″ pot is usually just the right size
Bamboo stake or wooden chopstick
Moss, if desired
Ribbon and tag if giving as a gift
Fill the pot about halfway with the potting soil and place the bulb so that the top third is exposed when you fill in with additional soil around the sides.
Place your stake alongside the bulb.
Add moss and ribbon, if using.
To grow right now:
Place the bulb near a window with bright, yet indirect, light – keep the soil just moist (do not over water).
In a few weeks you should see the flower stalk emerge, followed by the leaves. Turn the pot every few days so the stalk grows straight.
To continue growing after the flowers fade:
Cut the stalk back and keep watering the plant – you can move it outdoors once all danger of frost has passed. Continue watering till September/October.
To force your existing plant to rebloom:
In September/October, move the plant indoors and stop watering. Keep it in a cool, dry spot. You’ll see that the foliage will begin to die back. A new flower stalk should emerge within a few weeks – resume watering at this time and move the plant to a warm, sunny spot.
When the flowers fade, repeat the process above.
As the Amaryllis gets larger, you will need to increase the size of your pot. Just make sure that it’s always a cozy fit.
Your Amaryllis may produce side bulbs. You can remove these and pot them up for more plants – it will take a few seasons for these to flower.
As you may remember, I am NOT a green thumb when it comes to growing indoor plants. But I assure you that Amaryllis will grow for even the brownest thumb – give them a try!
Instructions and growing tips courtesy of About.com.