There’s nothing more festive than several amaryllis plants contributing their rich burst of bloom to your house during the vacation season.
Amaryllis may look exotic, but the bulbs are easy to grow. The flowers ar large and trumpet-shaped and come in lovely sunglasses ranging from white and apple-blossom pink to scarlet. Some cultivars, such as ‘Nymph’, even have attractive striped petals.
An amaryllis bulb kit, complete with planting container and potting soil, makes a lovely stewardess gift.
Amaryllis care – step-by-step:
- When you buy an amaryllis bulb, look for a large, plump one with some roots attached. Using a pot that’s slightly larger in diameter than the bulb, plant it in potting soil, leaving the “shoulders” – the top third of the bulb – exposed.
- Keep the soil damp but non wet, and the temperatures above 64ºF (18ºC) – optimal temperatures are between 68 to 77ºF (20 to 25ºC).
- Place the bulb in bright light and watch for growth to start. You should see a flower bud appear after a couple of weeks. Turn the pot regularly so the flower stalk won’t lean in one direction.
- Sometimes you’ll need to support the stalk with a slim bamboo stake and raffia ties.
- Once the flower is finished, cut off the stem just above the bulb nose. Give amaryllis bright light on a sunny windowsill or under plant lights.
- Continue to feed and water. Apply a standard water-soluble houseplant fertilizer at half the recommended strength every two weeks.
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