Amaryllis Brighten our Homes in Winter - U of I Extension

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Amaryllis Brighten our Homes in Winter

This article was originally published on November 13, 2017 and expired on November 20, 2017. It is provided here for archival purposes and may contain dated information.

During the holiday season many different types of plants are available for decorating and display including the spectacular amaryllis. Rhonda Ferree, Horticulture Educator with University of Illinois Extension, says that the bulbs available in stores now can produce spectacular flowers for the holidays and beyond.

The amaryllis flowers are borne in 1 ½ to 2-foot tall stalks. The trumpet-shaped, 6-inch blooms dominate their surroundings. After flowering, the plant produces attractive, bright green leaves, and with a little care will flower year after year.

The amaryllis will bloom in four to six weeks after planting – perhaps in time for a Christmas gift or for holiday decoration. If not in time for the holidays, the plant’s blooms will sure brighten the household on bleak January days.

Rhonda says that most amaryllis plants available this time of year are pre-potted and ready to go. Some already have started to grow and just need light and water to continue. However, if you buy a unpotted amaryllis bulb, follow these procedures for potting. Since the bulbs are large and thrive in cramped quarters, allow only one-half inch of space between the bulb and side of the pot. Fill the pot with a good potting soil. Set the bulb so that half of it is above the pot rim. Add more soil to about one-inch from the pot rim. Firm the soil and drench it with lukewarm water until the surplus drains through the bottom hole.

The amaryllis needs heat to start growing so place the pot in a dark, warm, airy space until the first leaves or flower buds show. Then move the amaryllis into a sunny location and water thoroughly. Do not water again until the soil feels dry to the touch. When the flower blooms, move it out of direct sunlight so it will last longer.

If you want to rebloom your amaryllis each year, Rhonda provides these tips to assure the plant’s health and beauty for many seasons. When the flowers fade, return the pot to bright sunlight. Allow the plant to grow a number of long, strap-like leaves to help rebuild the bulb. Then to help form next year’s bulb, begin fertilizing. Use a good all-purpose fertilizer; or if you prefer an organic type, try fish emulsion. Fertilize the amaryllis twice a month. Always water the plant before applying fertilizer. When the danger of frost is past, plunge the pot in your garden where the plant will receive filtered sunlight.

In mid-September, the outer leaves will begin to yellow, an indication that the plant needs a rest. Cut all the leaves to within an inch of the neck of the bulb, bring the plant in and stop watering. Store in a cool spot at 50 to 55 degrees F.  In late November or early December begin watering.  When the bulb begins to show signs of growth, start the blooming cycle again

For more information on this or other horticultural issues, contact your local Extension office by visiting www.extension.illinois.edu.

 

Source: Rhonda J. Ferree, Extension Educator, Horticulture, ferreer@illinois.edu

Pull date: November 20, 2017