Add a little color and beauty to your surroundings this winter by forcing amaryllis bulbs to bloom.
By Shelley Wigglesworth
Dec 05 2011
Add a little color and beauty to your surroundings this winter by forcing amaryllis bulbs to bloom. A holiday tradition and stunning centerpiece, amaryllis flowers come in fiery red, creamy white and pink. The pink flowers are a cross between red and white plants and sometimes bloom with faint red and white streaks or blotches, that can add visual interest.
Choose the area you wish to display your amaryllis plant ahead of time and go with the flower color that will look best with the colors and tones of the room before purchasing bulbs. You may want to choose a display container ahead of time as well, although a simple plant pot or decorative vase will work just fine.
Amaryllis bulb or bulbs
A decorative or festive pot or vase slightly larger than the grouping of bulbs
Wooden stake for support
1. Choose healthy bulbs. Bulbs that are firm and still have some roots at the base are the best choice. Avoid withered, wrinkled and spongy bulbs. Florists and garden centers sell bulbs individually and department stores sell amaryllis kits with all the supplies included for growing in a box priced at around $6.99. Note: you may not be able to inspect the bulbs in the kits if the boxes are sealed.
2. Line a plant pot or vase with up to two inches of drainage rocks, then fill the container half way with potting mix.
3. Place the bulbs roots down into the soil. Loosely cover the bulbs with a bit more soil, leaving the tops of the bulbs exposed.
4. Insert a support stick in the container along side the bulb. The flowers of the amaryllis are top heavy and it is best to have the support in place before the plant flowers.
5. Water enough to keep the soil moist.
6. Place the pot in bright, indirect light and keep the soil moist, but not wet.
In approximately two weeks, the stalks of the bulbs will begin to grow. Flower buds will follow. Turn the pot every few days to allow for even light exposure on all sides of the plant. Once the flowers bloom, they will remain beautiful and fresh for up to two weeks. When the blooms have passed their peak, cut the plant back to just above the bulb. Keep the soil moist and plant outside if desired after the danger of a frost in the spring. Soon your amaryllis will once again bloom for you to enjoy. Dig up the bulbs in September and store in a cool dry place until the next holiday season when you can start the cycle all over again.