Amaryllis are especially popular during the Christmas holidays but many people are intimidated by them. It shouldn’t be so. Although Christmas is weeks away, now is the time to purchase Amaryllis so that they are in full bloom my the holiday. The blooms will last through the holidays with simple care. I thought it would be fun to look at how to grow them, a bit about their history and how to use them in holiday decor. Next to Poinsettia, few flowers have the visual impact during the holidays as Amaryllis can have. Even a single flower set on an entryway table can have considerable visual impact. There are so many different colors and types of Amaryllis available that you would be hard pressed not to find a variety to fall in love with.
Even though today the majority of Amaryllis come from Holland and South Africa, they are native to South America. It is believed that the Portuguese were responsible for bringing the bulbs from South America to Europe in the 16th century. The spread of the bulbs to places as far flung as Madeira and the Canary Islands has lead experts to believe the spread of the bulb throughout the world followed or maybe even paralleled the history of the sugar cane trade. The name Amaryllis comes from the Greek and means “to sparkle”.
Right now you can get the bulbs, bare root or already planted for you and have them flowering by the holidays. They prefer 68-70 degree temperatures and bright light. Once the flowers open, keep them out of direct light to prolong blooming time and keep the flowers from prematurely fading.
Lets look a some photos of the many colors available.
Now let’s see how you might consider the many ways to display them in holiday decor.
When the flower blooms have faded, you can remove the stalk a few inches above the bulb. Return the pot to a sunny location to help promote healthy leaves, which will supply the bulb with food for next years flowers. Keep watering and fertilizing with a water soluble fertilizer. Some varieties are evergreen, and some loose their leaves, but in any case they will revert to their natural blooming time, which is in May to June. This is when you can allow them to bloom or place them in the garden outdoors. Amaryllis can also be grown in pebbles and water like many spring bulbs. For detailed growing and general care information I recommend White Flower Farm’s advice. Click here.
Thanks for reading. Laters, charisse