Amaryllis, the Perfect Christmas Plant
Poinsettias might be the star of the holiday season but there are many other seasonal plants that can brighten the home. Amaryllis is a tender bulb that is ready to bloom when purchased. The genus name for this plant is Hippeastrum, which means “horse star,” an appropriate name for a plant that produces massive blooms as large as 8 — 10 inches across.
Amaryllis bulbs can be huge, approaching the size of a grapefruit. Size does matter as the larger the bulb, the larger the flowers. Regardless of size, amaryllis likes tight quarters. Place in a pot only 1 — 2 inches larger in diameter than the bulb. About half of the bulb should remain exposed. Hold the bulb so the roots hang down into the pot, and add potting mix. Firm the mix around the roots carefully so that they are not snapped off. Water thoroughly and place the plant in a warm, sunny location.
Amaryllis likes day temperatures in the 70’s and night temperatures in the 60’s. The flower bud may start to appear right away, or the plant may remain dormant for a period of time, but eventually all mature bulbs bloom. Move the plant to a cooler location and out of direct sunlight when the flower buds begin to show color so the flowers last longer. Amaryllis can remain in bloom for about a month.
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