Thursday, January 12, 2012

Growing and Caring for Amaryllis

Amaryllis are those beautiful trumpet-shaped flowers you see around Christmas.  They can be found at your local grocery store or florist.  Red is the most popular color, but they can be pink, white, salmon, apricot, or rose.

When growing an amarylllis, select the largest bulb possible, because the amount of stalks and blooms relates directly to the bulb size.  Make sure your container is deep enough for good root development, and make sure it has good drainage.  The container doesn't have to be that big.  The diameter should be one inch larger than the bulb. Position the bulb so that at least one third of it is above the soil.  Press the soil around the bulb so that it is firm.  Then put in a warm sunny spot.  Do not fertilize until it begins to grow.

When buds appear, move the plant out of direct sunlight..  This will help prolong the blooms.  After the flowers fade, cut them off to prevent seed formation.  Do not remove the stalk until it has turned yellow.  The amaryllis needs a lot of sunlight after blooming, so be sure to put it in the brightest possible location inside.  Water when the top two inches of the soil seems dry.  Continue to fertilize.  When the danger of frost has passed, you can take your amaryllis outside, but start by placing it in the shade or indirect light.  Gradually, you can move it to an area where it can receive six hours of full sun each day.  Just be sure to bring it back inside before the danger of the first frost.

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