Thursday, December 27, 2007

Salve for the Gardener's Winter Blues: How to Grow Amaryllis

As any gardener will tell you, winter is an excruciatingly long season. Trapped in our homes with no active gardening to be done, we plan the next season's gardening projects and count down the days until the glorious spring days arrive and we can get our hands dirty.

Ready to be planted and pre-planted Amaryllis bulbs are readily available--I've even seen them sold at Target and the local grocery store. For a broader selection, I purchase my Amaryllis bulbs from:

http://www.vanengelen.com/

I purchase them in September, as some types sell out by October. As you can see in the picture, they start to bloom around Christmas.

If you buy ready to be planted bulbs, they can be placed in shallow pots with the tops exposed. I cover the exposed soil with moss to enhance the pot's appearance. Over the next couple of months, it is pleasing to watch the Amaryllis grow and flower. Each stem produces three to four blossoms.

After the flowers have bloomed, I dispose of the bulbs. By this time, the other bulbs that I have chilled--daffodils, hyacinth, tulips--will be ready to replace the spent Amaryllis.

While it is possible to keep your Amaryllis bulbs so that they flower the next season, I neither have the space nor the time to do this once spring arrives.

For a prior post on forcing bulbs and branches, see:

http://heirloomgardener.blogspot.com/2006/02/forcing-forsythia-and-bulbs-of-all.html

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