30 October 2016

Amaryllis - the flower of love

This week I planted my amaryllis bulb.  It's a task that takes some forethought as it takes about 5-8 weeks for the bulb to flower once it is planted.  Note that the top 1/3 of the bulb is above the soil.  I watered it once and will water again once the top inch of the soil is dry.  Overwatering is the one thing that can catch you with this bulb.  Amaryllis detest sitting in wet soil as it leads to rot.  In a couple weeks its first leaf should be growing and then I can water a little more often, about once a week.  

Sometimes amaryllis get their flower stalks before they really develop leaves.  It seems unusual but it happens.  After the blooms have wilted, I will cut the flower stalk back to about an inch high and let the leaves grow.  I like to summer mine outdoors and fertilize as I would my other potted plants.  You can plant directly in the garden as long as you are willing to dig it up and repot at the end of summer. Once the leaves have wilted at the end of summer, I cut them off, leaving the live ones intact to continue to feed the bulb.  If you over summer outdoors, bring in before the first frost.  If you prefer, you may summer indoors in a brightly lit window.  They need the sun to feed the bulb for the next season of blooms.

Amaryllis like to go dormant in a cool, dimly lit spot for about 6-8 weeks.  So if you have a cool room or a cellar, that would be ideal for your amaryllis to rest. Then in October, start the forcing process again.  

Did you know some amaryllis can live up to 75 years?

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