Questions? Write Me at

Questions? Write me at fullcirclegardener @ cableone . net.

Plant of the Week: Amaryllis

Amaryllis (Amaryllis belladonna) (photo credit)
Amaryllis kits start showing up on store shelves about this time of year.  These colorful early winter favorites are native to the tropical forests of Central & South America.  They have found their niche in the leaf filled crevices in the trees where they get their nutrients from decaying leaves and water from the abundant rainfall.

Amaryllis have developed a need to grow semi- root bound so plant them in a container that is only 1/2 - 1 inch larger than the bulb with 1/2 - 2/3 of the bulb above the soil line.  The soil should be high in organic content (remember they grow natively in leaf filled crevices) which holds moisture well.  Water your newly potted bulb well and place it in a warm, sunny location.  Soon leaves and a flowering stalk will sprout.  The bulb will produce from 1 - 3 flowers per stalk.  A large plant can produce several stalks, but not always.

It will take 6 - 12 weeks for the plants to reach full flower.  To keep the flowers fresh, move the plant out of the direct sunlight and to a cooler location.  Also clip the stamen (pollen producing organs) before the flowers are able to fertilize themselves.  After the flowers have faded, remove the withering flower stalk with a sharp knife or scissors, but not the leaves.  During the remainder of the season, the plant will require consistent watering, frequent fertilizer and lots of sunlight so that it can store enough energy in the bulb for flowering again the next year.

About nine months after your bulb started its growing season, stop watering it and allow it to go into a drought induced dormancy for the next three or so months.  Start watering again 6-12 weeks before you desire it to flower.  If it does not flower a second year, it was not able to store up enough energy the previous year.  You then have to decide if you wish to try and give it the some exta tender loving care or scrap it and buy a new one.

Happy Indoor Gardening! :)

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