Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Plant amaryllis now for holiday color

There’s nothing quite like an amaryllis blooming for the holidays. Amaryllis bulbs are easy to grow and the blooms last a long time. It takes anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks after planting for the blooms to appear, so now's the time to get started. Begin by selecting quality bulbs. Look for bulbs that are firm and dry and still have some of their natural papery covering.
You’ll find bulbs graded as small, medium and large. Generally the larger the bulb size, the more stalks and blooms it will produce. Once you've chosen the bulbs you want to start, it's time to pick out a container. You can grow amaryllis in ceramic pots, clay pots or plastic pots. You can start your bulbs in plastic pots, and then slip them inside a more decorative pot. Whichever container you select needs to have good drainage.
It's also important to know that amaryllis like to be snug in their pot, so select a container that's about an inch or so larger than the bulb and is deep enough for the roots to grow.
Next, add damp potting soil to the bottom third of the pot.
Place the bulb in the center of the pot and spread the roots out so the fan out from the center of the bulb. Do the best you can with the roots. You're mainly trying to keep the roots from being bunched together under the bulb.
Next, fill in around the bulb with more damp potting soil. Leave the top third of the bulb uncovered. Water thoroughly and place the bulb in a warm, well-lit location. Once the flower stalk begins to appear, you can start feeding your bulb with a 20-20-20 fertilizer. After that, fertilize every two weeks and water frequently enough to keep the soil moist. For colorful blooms throughout the holidays, plant amaryllis bulbs every three to four weeks, starting now.

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