The botanical name of this beautiful plant is Hippeastrum. It is native to Central and South America. It is usually grown in pots and forced into blooming at Christmas. There are various colors available in reds, pinks, salmon, orange, and white, as well as bi-color and double varieties. The bloom stems are up to two feet tall, the strap-like leaves are lower and as much as 1-2 feet long.
I decided to try my hand at planting and growing some in my home for the holidays. However I may be a bit behind for these bulbs to bloom as flowers will appear 6-8 weeks after planting, followed by attractive foliage! Hum time will tell!
I guess I became a bit intrigued when I went to Western Gardens for my Fall Bulb Auger. The clerk pointed out the Amaryllis bulbs, and some as you can see were quite large! The largest I’ve ever seen! Can you just imagine the flower it will produce! That day I left empty handed but the thought had been planted and I started to ponder about them.
A week later I went back and purchase these three bulbs. The biggest bulb is Red Lion, price tag $19.99, then there is Charisma and the other bulb I don’t know the name, both of them were $14.99. I received instructions on how to plant them.
Talking with the gal at Western Garden, she advised me to put them in soil vs. water! She explained that the water tends to get smelly and who wants smelly! Good point.
Looking at the size of these bulbs, the next thought to enter my mind was what container I would plant them in. They had to be a good size to hold them bulbs and flower stalks! I found two containers that I actually sell, they were sitting around empty and I thought why not!
Today, I planted my Amaryllis bulbs; I wanted to try the water method so I decided a glass container in a beautiful stand would be a good choice. What I love about this is that the bulb actually sits down inside the container. I don’t know how it will do but I am happy to experiment with it. This Hurricane is called the Galveston and I often used it in my tablescapes. I saw this look at a store recently and I happen to have a bag of polished black river rock and smaller gravel.
Next I planted with Miracle Grow potting soil in the Beaumont Container, I loved the sunny golden color and the classic column shape of this container. Strong and sturdy would be in order for the Red Lion. Adding a bit of gravel to the bottom of the container, I filled with soil. Before I filled the container I placed the bulb down inside and gently pushing the roots out from the bulb. With one hand I supported the bulb as I gently scoop more potting soil onto it roots and up onto the side of the bulb. Leaving a portion of the bulb above the top of the soil!
Once I completed the planting I gave it some water and added some clumps of moss around the base of the bulb.
The last bulb, Charisma went into the Royal Street Urn, I repeated the process that I did for the Red Lion. Once I was finished the next step was to decide where to place each plant in my home. You have to take into account how much light is required. For an Amaryllis, bright, diffused light is necessary in the winter months when the sun’s light is weakest, in the summer it will prefer a shadier location. When positioned in a window it will need turning every week or so to prevent lop-sided growth.
What about Temperature and Humidity after all they are a tropical plant. Keep at room temperature 70-75 F. Once the flowers open, cooler temperatures of 65-70F. will keep them fresh longer. They are fairly tolerant of low humidity.
Water and Fertilizing, is as follows, water thoroughly with water that is at room temperature when planting, then keep the soil damp but not soggy. Allow the top layer of soil to dry before watering again. Apply a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 regularly.
Taking your bulbs into the future requires you to cut the stalks just above the top of the bulb, being careful not to damage the leaves, when the flowers fade. Keep the plant in bright light inside. Four months before you want the plant to bloom, move it to a cool place, stop watering until the foliage withers and the bulb becomes dormant. After 8-10 weeks, repeat the above instructions.
As my bulbs start to grow and bloom, I hope to update you with pictures so you can share in my delight!
Keep in mind that Amaryllis make wonderful gifts, check local garden shops for bulbs, or buy them already planted in containers for easy gift giving, you should be able to find them just about any where at this time of year. Or visit Http://www.whiteflowerfarm.com/amaryllis Their Holiday 2010 catalog is mostly dedicated to the Amaryllis.
To see the above container used in planting of my Amaryllis can be found in my catalog at http://www.Lindaburt.Willowhouse.com