All About Amaryllis
It is hard to believe that something so easy to grow, can produce some of the most attractive blooms.
Yes, its that time of year again when the Amaryllis bulbs become available at the garden centre.
The Amaryllis bulb is an indoor bulb that produce beautiful trumpet shaped flowers on long thick stems. Each stem can have from 4 to 6, 20cm wide flowers per stem, and depending on the size of the bulb, 2-3 stems per bulb. The bigger the bulb the more flowers it will produce. Bigger bulbs will cost a little money, but in the long run, are well worth it, as you can have an amaryllis blooming for weeks as the stems come up one at a time.
Anyone can grow Amaryllis successfully. This is because the flower and nutrients are already in the bulb and so it has everything it needs to grow.
It has now become even easier to grow this amazing flower, as the bulbs “Touch of Wax” are now available encased in wax and only need to be placed in a warm sunny location (21Celsius) to grow. The ‘Touch of Wax’ bulbs are not planted in soil, and do not need to be watered making them ideal for everyone, from the beginner to the expert! The bulb has a colourful wax coating hand applied to the outside of the bulb, which seals the bulb. It looks attractive even when it is not blooming. The bulb is placed on a metal spiral stand that keeps it upright. All you need to do is, rotate the bulb every few days to ensure the stem grows up straight, and then watch it grow. It will bloom in 4 to 6 weeks. The nice thing about growing the bulbs this way is that they are easy to use in arrangements, as you can easily place them amongst greens, other flowers etc., or place them in a dish filled with decorative stone, or in a vase, bowl or other decorative container. After it has finished blooming the bulb is done and can be tossed away in the compost.
Amaryllis bulbs can also be purchased as regular indoor bulbs. Plant the bulb in soil or in water.
To grow an amaryllis bulb in water, first choose a vase that is large enough to hold the bulb so that the bulbs roots will hang in the water but not the bulb itself. A tapered or hourglass vase works best. Another option would be to half fill a vase with stones, and place the bulb on top of the stones. Add enough water to the vase so that the water level is just below the surface of the stones, so that the bulb itself will not be sitting in water. Place in a warm, sunny location and water periodically keeping the water level below the rocks surface. As the bulb starts to grow the roots will grow through the rocks. It can take 8 to 10 weeks for it to come into bloom.
After it has finished blooming the bulb is finished and should be thrown out. If planting in soil, choose a heavy weighted container that is slightly larger than the bulb, so that the bulb is not touching the sides of the container. The heavy container will help prevent the amaryllis from tipping over when in full bloom as they can become top heavy. Place some good quality indoor soil in the bottom of the container and then holding the bulb with the roots dangling down, continue to fill the pot with soil until the bottom half of the bulb is covered with soil. The top of the bulb should be 5 cm below the top of the container. Tamp the soil around the bulb and give it a thorough water then place it in a warm, sunny location. Water the bulb sparingly until it shows signs of growth, which is when the watering is increased.
After it has finished flowering the bulb will produce long, strapping leaves. These leaves are important if you want to safe the bulb for next year. Treat the bulb as an indoor houseplant over the winter months and in late spring when there is no threat of frost the bulb can be planted outdoors in a shady location over the summer months and then brought indoors after the first fall killing frost. Store the bulb for 6-8 weeks and then re-plant it. It should be re-bloom again in 8-10 weeks.
Amaryllis bulbs or plants make great gifts, but make sure you save one for yourself too!
Jos Van Hage ows and operates two Art Knapp Home and Garden Centres in Prince George:
- Highway 16 west at Kimball road
- Highway 97 north at Northwood Pulpmill road ( closed for the season)