Amaryllis bulbs, plant them now!

amaryllis, red and white

Plant your amaryllis bulbs indoors this week for Christmas-time blooms. They take six or seven weeks to grow into gorgeous flowers. I have seen them in red, red and white, white and pale pink; all are beautiful!

Most grocery and department stores or nurseries carry them in kits with everything you need included. Each box contains a bulb, soil and a pot with instructions on how to grow your amaryllis. Once potted up, leave it in a (indirect) sunny spot and watch it grow. Turn the pot regularly to keep the stem growing straight.

I purchased such a kit at a local grocery store recently for my granddaughter to plant between her online school sessions and one for her younger cousin to plant on her next visit here. Both granddaughters are turning into garden and plant enthusiasts.

In recent years I have planted lots of variations. One thing I have learned is that they are extremely top-heavy when full grown. For that reason, be sure to add a stick to support them in their pot, attaching the growing stem to the stick with a loose tie.

Take your pick, but do it soon if you want them to bloom in time for Christmas.

Amaryllis: What to do When it Stops Blooming

amaryllis, red and white

If you have ever purchased or been given an amaryllis plant, you know how beautiful they are.  Amaryllis make spectacular houseplants, especially at Christmas time.  I like to plant several each year to give as Christmas and hostess gifts.  After they finish blooming, you can save the bulbs for a similar display next year.  Just follow the simple steps below…

Once the blooms have all faded, cut off the flower stem just above where it comes out of the bulb. You might notice that the bulb is slightly softer or smaller than when you first planted (or received) it.  That’s because it has used up a lot of the material inside the bulb to make the flowers and stems you’ve just witnessed.  To bloom again, it must begin the process of restoring that material and fattening the bulb to its former state.

To do this, you should treat your amaryllis bulb like a houseplant. If it is in a pot without drainage holes (many of my Christmas planters use inexpensive pots without drainage) transplant it to one with holes.  As it grows more leaves, water it sparingly, only when the soil looks very dry. Once a month, add fertilizer to the water to keep the supply of nutrients available.  Give it as much bright light as you can during the winter months.  In summer, take it outside, and put it in bright or filtered, but not direct sunlight.

By the end of the summer, the bulb should feel much plumper and fuller.  At the end of September let the amaryllis bulb go dormant.  Bring it inside, and stop watering it. Once the soil has dried out, the leaves will begin to die. When they have all turned yellow and then brown, the bulb is dormant. You can cut off all the leaves just above the neck and pull the whole bulb and root ball out of the pot. Shake off the soil and trim the roots back to about two inches. The bulb will look just like it was when you first got it.

Leave the bulb somewhere cool and dry until the beginning of November (if you want blooms for Christmas), when you can plant it in a pot of fresh soil and start the flowering process all over again. Plant the bulb so the top third of the bulb is exposed.  Mine take about seven weeks after they are planted to bloom.  November 6th is my plant day for a Christmas bloom time, you can adjust accordingly.  Add a stake to attach to the growing plant in your container since many of the stalks get top heavy.  If you’re careful, you can keep this flowering-and-replenishing cycle going for years. The bulb will grow larger each year and gradually start producing second and sometimes even third flower stalks.

If you try this method, please be sure to let me know how it works for you!

amaryllis

Amaryllis

Amaryllis are beautiful anytime, but over the Christmas holidays they make a spectacular and dramatic decoration for your home.  Each year I plant several bulbs in early November so they will be in bloom in time for the holidays.  I sell them through GARDENS4U and give them as gifts, but always plant enough to ensure I have several to enjoy in my own home throughout the dreary winter months.  Follow this link to see  blooms from previous years AMARYLLIS

The amaryllis bulbs grow very quickly; you will see a change almost daily. These next pictures are from a pale pink beauty this past season:

Over the past few years I have learned a few tricks for keeping  amaryllis looking their best:

  • Plant the bulb in soil, leaving the top one third of the bulb exposed.
  • Choose a deep bowl to plant them in and insert a stake of some sort to tie the stalk to.  This will prevent the plant from tipping over when the blossoms in full bloom cause the plant to become top heavy:
  •  Keep notes of what the blossom colors will be (they come in a wide variety) so you can co-ordinate containers, especially if you plan to give them as gifts.
  • Add a few small decorations to enhance your container, especially during the initial  growing phase of the amaryllis before the flowers boom.  I buy my decorations at the dollar store to minimize costs.
  • Water sparingly (weekly) until flowers bloom, then water daily.
  • The brighter and warmer the area you grow them in, the faster they will bloom.  Once in bloom, changing their location to a less sunny, cooler spot will extend their bloom time.

When it is done blooming, if you wish to save your amaryllis bulb for reuse, follow these steps:

  • Once the blooms have all faded, cut off the flower stems just above where it comes out of the bulb.You might notice that the bulb is slightly softer or smaller than when you first planted it. (or received it) That’s because it has used up a lot of the material inside the bulb to make the flowers and stems you’ve just seen. It has to begin the process of restoring that material and fattening the bulb again.
  • To do this, you should treat your amaryllis bulb like a houseplant. If it is in a pot without drainage holes(many of my Christmas planters use inexpensive pots without drainage) transplant it to one with holes. As it grows more leaves, water it whenever the soil looks dry (sparingly) Once a month, add fertilizer to the water to keep the supply of nutrients available. Give it as much bright light as you can during the winter months. In summer, take it outside. Put it in bright or filtered light, but not direct sunlight.
  • By the end of the summer, it will actually feel much plumper and fuller. At end of September let the amaryllis bulb go dormant: Bring it inside, and stop watering it. Once the soil has dried out, the leaves will begin to die. When they have all turned yellow and then brown, the bulb is dormant. You can cut off all the leaves just above the neck and pull the whole bulb and root ball out of the pot. Shake off the soil and trim the roots back to about two inches. The bulb will look just like it was when you first got it.
  • Leave the bulb somewhere cool and dry until the beginning of November (if you want blooms for Christmas), when you can plant it in a pot of fresh soil and start the flowering process all over again. Plant so the top third of the bulb is exposed. It should take about a month after it’s planted for it to bloom. If you’re careful, you can keep this flowering-and-replenishing cycle going for years. The bulb will grow larger each year and gradually start producing second and even third flower stalks

Gardens4u has Christmas Arrangements for Sale in Kanata

Christmas arrangements by Gardens4u are now available for sale in Kanata just in time for the holidays.  Most feature an amaryllis bulb which should be in bloom for Christmas.  These arrangements make wonderful gifts or festive table centerpieces in your own home.

Prices are as indicated on each picture.  Please contact me at gardens4u@mail.com or 613-791-9955 to purchase your favorite arrangement and arrange pickup.  Delivery is $5 extra, available in Kanata only.

Gardens4U: Closed For the Season….Reason??…Freezin!!

DSC00003
       CLOSED FOR THE SEASON…                                          REASON?…                                                      FREEZIN!!!!

I am sad to report, GARDENS4U is closed for the season.    This week I will be adding evergreen boughs to the planters on my front step and in front of my garage.  Let me know if you would like me to do the same for you here in Kanata.  Follow this link EVERGREEN to view pictures of ones I made up last year.

Next month I will  be selling beautiful Christmas centerpieces in December here in Kanata.  These arrangements have amaryllis bulbs as their focal point and make a unique gift for your mother, mother-in-law, neighbour, hostess, etc.  The amaryllis bulbs have been forced to bloom during the Christmas holiday season. This picture is from last years batch:

jan 29a

Stay tuned for this season’s list of creations…