Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Start Amaryllis bulbs for Holiday Color

Amaryllis are classic holiday flowers that display the colors of the season. It takes about 6 weeks for amaryllis to bloom, so if you want blooms for Christmas, you need to start your amaryllis bulbs now. Amaryllis bulbs are easy to grow and their blooms last a long time.
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 amaryllis 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. 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.
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.
You can also grow amaryllis in stones and water, by using a forcing vase. Trim off dried roots to prevent them from decomposing in the water. This will help keep the water cleaner, longer. Add water to the container until it just touches the bottom of the bulb. Place the container in a bright, warm location. In about 6 weeks, your amaryllis should begin to bloom.  For colorful blooms throughout the holidays, plant amaryllis bulbs every three to four weeks, starting now.


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