Sunday, December 09, 2007


It's that time of year again. People give, get and just buy for themselves, an amaryllis bulb. The pictures are beautiful. The ones you see at friends houses always look absolutely breathtaking! So, why not give it a try? Why not? Here are some hints to help you get started.
First of all, think of the amaryllis bulb like an onion. You wouldn't buy a soft onion. Don't buy a soft amaryllis either! It should be firm and just LOOK good! Also, the larger it is, the more spectacular the bloom.
Lot's of bulbs that you plant in the garden need to be chilled before you plant them in the garden. Amaryllis is not a hardy bulb. It normally grows in a warmer climate, so chilling it is not at all helpful. In fact, it could be harmful. Try not to get it any colder than about 50 degrees.
The bulb should be well watered when you start it. After that's done you won't need to be quite so attentive with water. It shouldn't dry out, but remember that sitting in water will cause it to rot.
The bulb will generate some roots, so the pot should be larger than the bulb. Also, once the bulb begins to grow, it will become tall and heavy. This means that you need to off-set that weight. I'd use a clay pot and perhaps one that's not tall, but rather low and broad. This would also indicate that a very light potting medium may not be the best. Use a heavier soil.
You shouldn't have to fertilize the bulb. If you recall from your daffodils, tulips and other garden bulbs, they get their nutrients from their leaves as they die down. This tells you that the bulb has already taken what it needs from it's leaves after the last flowering.
After it's potted, you can put it right into a sunny window. Unlike paperwhites, it doesn't need a period of darkness to spur it onward. Don't forget that a plant will lean toward the light. If this begins to happen, rotate the pot daily.
After you've attended to all of this, it should take about 6-10 weeks for you to see a bud, followed by a beautiful show!
I know that many of you are now questioning what to do with the bulb once it's bloomed and is ready for the next step. Here is a web site that will take you on that next journey. Preparing your bulb for re-flowering next year!


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