In the Garden:
After a quick soak, big amaryllis bulbs - and smaller hyacinths - start growing right away once you pot them up in well-drained containers.
I don't mean to bash winter, but when I look outside, all I see is a cold, gray, and lifeless landscape. The holidays bring relief, but once they're over, what have you got? Indoor flowering plants are the solution. I pot up amaryllis bulbs now so I'll have something green and wonderful when winter really rages. These big bulbs bloom 6 to 8 weeks after you plant them, and it's easy to carry them over from year to year, too.
Ready-to-plant amaryllis bulb kits are widely available with plenty of choices in flower color. The most foolproof selections are miniature varieties such as 'Scarlet Baby', which is not as prone to falling over as some of the giants. If you're tired of red after the holidays, go for a pink or striped variety such as 'Queen's Bouquet'. Whatever color you choose, it will quickly become the star of your interior landscape.
Amaryllis Planting Tips
To get amaryllis in the mood for growing, I set my bulbs in warm water for a half hour or so before planting. Meanwhile, I line the bottom of the pots with a half-inch layer of aquarium gravel to give the pot extra weight and improved drainage. Amaryllis bulbs like tight quarters, so I use containers with no more than 2 inches of space between the bulb and the pot. Finally, set the bulbs high, so that both their necks and shoulders are exposed to open air.
Ongoing Amaryllis Care
Water lightly for the first few weeks and move the pots to bright light when 4 inches of leaf shows. After that, add a soluble all-purpose plant food to the water every 10 days or so, and sit back to watch the fireworks.
After the Flower Show
In May, sink the pots into the ground in a partially shaded spot and let your amaryllis plants grow through the summer. Pull them up in September, let them dry out and cool off until this time next year, and they will be ready to replant and regrow all over again.
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