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Holiday amaryllis


Red AmaryllisAmaryllis blooms brighten dreary winter days with an array of cheerful and bold colors. The flowers are popular during the holidays not only as gifts, but also as a stunning live floral decoration.

Enjoy your amaryllis as long as possible during the holidays by keeping the container out of direct sunlight that could wilt the flowers quickly. Keeping it in as cool a place as possible indoors, around 60 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal and also extends the bloom time. Once the initial flowers fade, don't throw the flower pot out with the wrapping paper. Amaryllis can re-bloom for many years with care and attention.

Growth phase

Cut the amaryllis stalk back once it's through blooming, leaving an inch or two above the top of the bulb. Take care not to damage leaves or any additional emerging flower stalks. It's natural for sap to seep out of the hollow stalk.

Amaryllis have their growth phase during the late winter. Boosting leaf production now fuels next year's flowers. The more sunlight the bulb receives the better, so move the container to the sunniest location possible. Fertilize monthly and keep the soil moist. Once the threat of frost passes in the spring, place the container outdoors in a sunny area. The move likely will cause the leaves to die, but new ones will sprout. Water daily and fertilize every other week.

Going dormant

To have amaryllis blooms for the next holiday season, the bulb's dormant period must begin by mid-August. Stop watering then and move the pots to a cool location of about 55 degree Fahrenheit. Stop fertilizing it in late September.

As fall arrives, amaryllis can be taken indoors to a cool spot or left outside as temperatures drop. However, bring the plants inside before November 1. Earlier if a heavy frost is expected.

Once inside keep the bulb rather dry and cool during dormancy. It's common, but not necessary, for the leaves to wither for the bulb to reach complete dormancy. Check it weekly. After eight to ten weeks, the tip of the new flower stalk should emerge from the bulb.

New growth

If you move the container to a warmer spot of about 75 degrees Fahrenheit during this phase, it encourages leaves to emerge at the same time the flower stalk is developing. This warm treatment is not needed for the amaryllis bulb to bloom, though. After the three weeks have passed, repot the bulb, keeping at least one third of it above the new soil. Water the amaryllis thoroughly immediately after repotting, but let the soil dry out some before watering again. Stimulate root growth by place the newly repotted amaryllis container in a sunny, warm spot.

Large amaryllis bulbs may produce as many as three flower stalks. The stalk may have single or multiple blooms. Once the first flower opens, move the plant to a cool location with indirect light to preserve the bloom as long as possible.


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