In the depths of Winter, the flamboyant blooms of amaryllis are a welcome and truly stunning sight.
They may look exotic, but don’t think that makes them difficult – because they’re easy to grow and with the right care and attention they have the potential to last for years. And as they take between six to eight weeks to flower, there’s still time to follow our step-by-step instructions to grow your own gorgeous display in time for Christmas!
You can use a pot or bowl, or a forcing vase, as follows:
In a pot using bulb fibre or a mix of two thirds multipurpose compost and one third grit…
Wet your fibre or compost first and then place a layer in the bottom of your pot. Place your bulb carefully on the fibre or compost and, if you’re planting more than one bulb in a single container, make sure they are close together but not touching each other or the rim of the pot.
Fill around your bulbs, ensuring that they are two thirds planted while one third remains visible above the surface of the potting medium. Make sure you fill all the gaps around the bulbs firmly to hold them in their elevated position and make sure you leave enough room for watering. Don’t be tempted to use too big a pot as amaryllis like to be confined!
If you’re using a forcing vase, simply place your bulb in the top of your vase above the water level.
Place your bulbs somewhere light and warm and they will grow very quickly, developing roots and growth within 2-3 weeks and flowering within 6-8 weeks – and the flowers will last a lovely 4-6 weeks.
Once your bulbs are flowering, keep them watered and in a light place (but out of direct sunlight) to keep your flowers going for as long as possible. As each flower fades, simply cut if off at the top of the stalk and then when the whole stalk has finished flowering and begins to sag, carefully cut it off above the bulb nose.
To keep the bulbs from one year to the next, continue to feed and water after flowering has finished until the leaves begin to yellow, then cut them back to about 6cm above the top of the bulb and then remove them from your pot or vase.
Keep the bulbs cool (5-10C) and dark for 8 weeks to provide a dormant period, and then you can encourage them back into leaf – and flower – again.
Hints & Tips
- Select the largest bulbs available as this means they’re more likely to produce more than one stalk (and blooms) in the first year.
- Bulbs should be dry and firm, with no signs of rotting, decay or mould.
- Store your newly purchased amaryllis bulbs in a cool, dry location with good air circulation until you’re ready to plant them.
- Keep your compost or fibre moist – not too wet and not too dry.
Create a stunning Christmas centre-piece with your own amazing home-grown amaryllis this year – or plant lots in lovely containers for gorgeous and unusual gifts!