Behind the Bloom: Amaryllis
Last month we took a look at Narcissus, available as both a cut flower and a "prepared" bulb, ready to force bloom indoors.
Amaryllis are popular both as stems and to plant & grow. And are also commonly associated with the holidays! Cut amaryllis are showstoppers, just one, with a stem or two of wintergreens, makes a great display. If you don't have a tall vase, cut the stalks to length, to suit any vessel. Amaryllis have very thick hollow stems, I like to cut them on the kitchen counter by laying them down with the blooms hanging over the edge. This way the massive heads won't bruise. Then I slice them all at once as if chopping celery! Repeat this trick every couple of days when you change the water.
In nature, amaryllis bloom in the spring & summer. For us they are a winter flower, as they are commercially grown to bloom early for the holidays. We also carry forced bulbs at Quince that you can grow at home.
Amaryllis like a tight pot, no more than 6" diameter per bulb. Plant in potting soil, and add stakes as the stalk reaches 12 or more inches in height. Water liberally and place in good light. Once the bloom opens move to a cooler, less sunny spot to prolong flowering.
Amaryllis are associated with strength & determination because of their height and sturdiness. What a great symbol for this unusual year! These are the shortest, darkest days and spring seems so far away. The pandemic has us stuck at home anyway, so why not try some indoor gardening? Now is the time, more than ever!
• Rosie, owner Quince Flowers