Amaryllis, or Hippeastrum are flowering bulbs from the subtropics of Central and Southern America. In their native climates, they are spring flowering perennials, but in our northern latitudes, they are an extremely popular winter flowering indoor plant. Once planted, they will often burst into bloom in 5-7 weeks. Therefore, if you plant them now in early November, you can get them to show their colours just in time for Christmas!
Amaryllis foliage is green and strap-like. Once the bulb is planted, flower stalks begin to grow and bloom to produce large flowers in shades of white, pink, red, green and various combinations thereof. There are also varieties with striped and multi-colours. Larger bulbs produce more flowers so choose your bulbs carefully! There is a reason the big-box stores sell cheap Amaryllis, they are small bulbs.
How To Grow Amaryllis
To grow Amaryllis, place the bottom part of the bulb and the roots into luke-warm water for a few hours to help it rehydrate. Plant the bulb in an indoor pot 4-6 weeks prior to the desired bloom time. Press the soil down firmly around the bulb, but avoid damaging the roots. When planting, keep at least 1/3 of the bulb above the soil level. If you can see the neck of the bulb above the soil, you know you are in good shape! Once planted, leave them alone as they mildly resent root disturbance. The best location for an Amaryllis is bright and warm, and completely frost free. Water sparingly until the stem appears. When actively growing, they are heavy feeders and drinkers so increase the amount of water and fertilizer as needed. Although it is a bulb, a light application of a flowering plant fertilizer will improve flower production. Choose any fertilizer with a high middle number.
After flowering, cut off the spent blooms and when the stem begins to sag, cut off the foliage to the top of the bulb. Continue to water and feed in order to allow the leaves to fully develop. This allows the plant to store more nutrients in the bulb during the warm season. When the leaves begin to yellow, the plant is entering its dormant state. At this point, cut off the leaves and remove the bulb from the soil. Clean the bulb and store in a cool, frost-free dry location. Do not water or feed during this stage. Store the bulb for 6-8 weeks. At this point, you can replant and enjoy your Amaryllis next year!
2014 Amaryllis Varieties
This year we are featuring nearly a dozen different varieties of Amaryllis in-store and online. A few have already sold out, but here are 9 of the ones still available (as of November 13, 2014)
Drop by Arts Nursery in person to get yours, or shop for Amaryllis online and we'll have it delivered to you! Quantities of Amaryllis, especially the newer varieties are usually limited so order yours early! They are usually in-stock from late October through December.