Amaryllis-Beauty without the Beast of Burdensome Care
The Amaryllis, which features large, gorgeous trumpet-like flowers, is a popular gift come the wintertime. Did you know the Greek mythological tale from which it gets its name?
Amaryllis was a shepherdess who loved a conceited shepherd. The shepherd, presumably a part-time botanist, said he would only love her if she created a flower. Ingenuity being one of the many admirable qualities of Greeks, she stabbed herself in the heart in order to create a beautiful red blossom.
If you received an Amaryllis plant at any time this fall or winter, its blooms have probably been open for a few weeks. Generally they will bloom from 7-10 weeks. To prolong the life of the bloom, keep the plant in a shaded cool room (65 F). Keeping a blooming amaryllis in a bright room is not the best environment. Sunlight and excessive warmth will cause the bloom to wither. The plant loves moisture so keep the soil wet, but not over-watered.
With proper care, this gift is a gift that will keep on giving. The bulb will flower again for years to come and each time it will bring a sense of excitement and accomplishment. Regardless of the variety, from various shades of red, white, salmon, and pink, these flowers deserve the limited effort necessary to bring them back to bloom. Of all flowering bulbs (tulips, hyacinth, etc), amaryllis is the easiest to bring to bloom over and over again.
After the amaryllis has stopped flowering, unlike those box of chocolates, this gift can be brought back to enjoy again. After flowering, cut the old flowers from the stem just in back of the bloom, removing the green ‘lump’ in back of the blossom, and the thin stem connecting the bloom to the main flower stem. When the stem starts to sag and turn yellow, cut it back to the top of the bulb.
Continue to water and fertilize as with any plant all summer, or for at least 5-6 months, allowing the leaves to fully develop and grow. When the leaves begin to yellow, which normally occurs in the early fall, cut the leaves back to about 2 inches from the top of the bulb.
Put the potted amaryllis in a cool (55 degrees F), dimly-lit place such as a cellar for 6-8 weeks. If storing in a refrigerator, do not store amaryllis with apples. The apples give off ethylene gasses which will sterilize the bulbs and prevent future blooms.
After 6 weeks you should water the potted bulb ONCE thoroughly, from top and bottom of the pot and place in a normal indoor temperature. Do not water regularly until new green growth appears at the top of the neck. If the soil dries out before that time, water no more than once per week. Excessive watering will rot the bulb and prevent its bloom. Typically the bulbs will re-bloom in 8 weeks.
Repeat these instructions and enjoy the amaryllis year after year…
These tips are brought to you by The Official Florist. The Official Florist is the blogging arm of Starbright Floral Design. We are a full-service corporate and retail florist located in the heart of New York City’s Historic Flower District. We are at 150 West 28th Street (Studio 201). To learn more about our organization and about the type of work that we do, please visit our website at www.starflor.com. You may also order a gift by visiting our e-portal at www.starbrightnyc.com. Starbright is open seven days a week and we deliver flowers and other gifts in Manhattan and worldwide. We invite you to give us a call or visit our website.
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The Official Florist – Starbright Floral Design
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