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Growing Gorgeous Amaryllis Indoors
By Monica Resinger
Amaryllis flowers are gorgeous, and they come at a perfect time of year --
when our (some of us) gardens are sleeping!
My neighbor has had his Amaryllis for about 10 years. He showed them to me
one day and I couldn't believe my eyes! In his windowed laundry room, there
stood the biggest Amaryllis bulbs, flowers and leaves I have ever seen! They
giants! I know Amaryllis can get pretty big, but I never imagined this big.
I'd say the leaves were about 2 1/2" wide or more and 4 feet or more tall. The
flowers were probably double what we're used to seeing and same with the bulbs.
I didn't know they could get that big! At that point, I didn't even know they
could be grown for flowers year to year. Now I know differently and I'll tell
you what I have learned.
Late October is the ideal time to plant, after the bulbs have gone through a
dormant period. If there are off shoots, you can take them off and plant them
as new plants. Use a small pot in relation to the bulb size. Clay or ceramic
pots would be best because they are heavier and will help keep the plant from
toppling over. Give only an inch of room for soil on the sides of the bulb.
Amaryllis prefers a sandy-loam soil mix. You can mix your own by combining one
part leaf mold or composted manure, one part loamy soil, and one part coarse
sand. Some garden centers also sell soil mixes especially for bulbs. When you
plant the bulb, keep the upper half out of the soil.
Water thoroughly after planting and keep the soil slightly moist until
flowering. At flowering, increase waterings to prolong flowers. The blooms will
6-8 weeks depending on temperature, light and variety.
Light and Temperature
When grown in the home, Amaryllis need as much sun as they can get! A
southern window is best. They prefer 70-75 degrees for best growth. But when
plant begins to flower, cooler temperatures (60-65 degrees) will extend the
blooms. As mentioned above, my neighbor had his in his windowed laundry room.
windows were southern and western which means lots of sun. One more important
tip is that a laundry room produces humidity so this is something else they
Fertilize at half the recommended rate of any water-soluble fertilizer every
6 weeks or so. Fertilizer will determine the size and quality of flowers and
Good quality bulbs may produce up to six flowers on a single stalk. When a
flower fades, cut the stalk about 2" from the base. This will save energy for
the other flowers. Don't cut the foliage because this is next year's food for
next year's flowers. Keep watering and fertilizing the foliage as you would
before flowering until next September. At this point, put the plant into a
dark and dry place such as a closet. Don't water or fertilize during this rest
period. Then late October, move it back to the sunny window and start the
process all over again.
When properly cared for, Amaryllis can flower for up to 75 years! So take
care of yours for years of gorgeous flowers.
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