Debbie Roland, Master Gardener
It won’t be long until there will be Amaryllis bulbs for sale at checkouts in box stores, hardware stores and nurseries.
You get what you pay for and that is especially true when you are buying Amaryllis bulbs. The best healthiest bulbs will produce the most flowers. When gardeners miss digging in the dirt the option of growing flowers in December will pull us in. The process of having spring bulbs bloom in the winter is called “forcing”. Daffodils and tulips require 35 to 50 degree weather for 12 to 16 weeks to get ready to bloom. However, Amaryllis are delivered ready to bloom and don’t require this cooling period.
Amaryllis is a large bulb with flowers that bloom on one to two foot stalks about four to six weeks after planting. The colors can be variegated or solid in red, orange and pink. They will grow about an inch per day.
· Plant a bulb in a small pot, only an inch larger than the bulb itself.
· Add gravel or small rocks in the bottom of the pot.
· Add 2” of potting soil
· Place the bulb with the bulb’s top half exposed into the pot and fill in around the bulb with potting soil.
· Water well.
· Allow the plant to dry out between watering. If you over water it can promote fungus and/or kill the roots.
· Place in a sunny location.
Fertilization is not necessary since an Amaryllis stores all the required nutrients in the bulb. As the flowers open it may become top heavy. The stalks can be discretely staked with a small bamboo stake available in garden centers or a dowel from the craft store. Move out of direct sun as the bloom opens which will extend the duration of flowering.
Once flowers begin to wilt cut off the stalk near the bulb. In the spring it can be planted outdoors.
If you have questions, please call the AgriLife office in Odessa at 498-4071 or in Midland at 686-4700 for more gardening information.