December 8, 2010

Hippeastrum hybrids, commonly called amaryllis, bear flamboyant wide, trumpet-shape blooms in white, pink, red, and salmon. Arching fans of board, straplike leaves appear during or after flowering. Hardy only in Zones 9-10, amaryllis are great indoors as flowering, container grown plants.

Growing Guide

  • Planting: Plant amaryllis bulbs in a rich, organic potting soil. Bury the bulb up to its neck (the elongated, scaly part) and be careful not to disrupt the bulb's roots.
  • Watering: Recently potted amaryllis should be watered sparingly. Begin watering slightly until growth starts, then water often.
  • Fertilizing: As the bloom bud clears the neck of the bulb, apply liquid organic fertilizer every seven to ten days, until the color begins to show in the blossom bud through the sheath.
  • Special hint: Grow in a warm spot in a sunny window.

Continuing Care
When the flowers fade, cut off the flower stalk close to the bulb. Return the plant to a sunny window and water regularly. You may keep the plant inside all year, feeding every 2-3 weeks with liquid seaweed, fish emulsion, or other organic fertilizer. You can put your amaryllis outside after frost in a pot with morning sun or under the shade of tall trees, or knock them out of their pots and grow them in the open ground. Gradually reduce water in late summer to encourage dormancy. Put the amaryllis in a cool dark place such as a cellar for 6-8 weeks. You should not water. After a few months' rest, replace the top few inches of soil and repot (if need be) and begin again.