You’ll see spectacular Amaryllis bulbs on sale in garden centres, florists and large high street stores right now and I find them extremely easy to grow!
Although this is a favourite cut flower with long vase life, I find that I get so much more pleasure by growing them myself. Amaryllis are invariably are sold as a complete kit. Sometimes the largest bulbs are sold loose and frequently without any instructions! So if you are going to have a go at this, you’ll need a pot, potting compost and a large healthy bulb!
Amaryllis cut flowers
Wetting the Compost
I find it's important to avoid getting the compost too wet in the early stages. Often the compost provided in those complete kits is dust dry! So I wet it thoroughly but then let it dry out a bit. If you start off with very wet compost, bulbs are reluctant to grow a good root system. They will undoubtedly need a strong root system with a huge flower head on top! Aim to get the compost just damp to the touch.
Getting the pot right
I use a pot that is a little larger than the bulb. A 10-12cm diameter pot is perfect. If you want to create a really spectacular display then how about planting 3 or more bulbs in a larger container?
Filling with Compost
I fill my container two thirds full. I then place the bulb in the centre of the pot and fill the rest of the pot with more compost. I stop short of the lip by about 1cm as I need this for watering later on. When I'm planting several bulbs in a bigger container, I make certain the bulbs do not touch each another. Whether multiple or single bulbs the top third of the bulb should stand proud of the compost.
Growing your bulb on
I place my newly potted amaryllis on a bright, warm windowsill. I add no more water until there are at least 3cms of new leaves growing out of the top of the bulb. When the flower buds are well developed but not yet open, I bring my Amaryllis into the centre of a room and place it where it can’t be missed!
Amaryllis bulbs make great gifts!
I’m impressed by the range of different coloured and different shaped flowers that are now available. Taylors Bulbs have the best range that I’ve seen, and this is a brand you’ll find in most garden centres. I'm sure that online retailers will be a good source for these bulbs too and the complete kit packs make excellent gifts!
Complete Amaryllis Gift Kits
When's an Amaryllis not an Amaryllis?
I have a confession to make! Throughout I've referred to these magnificent bulbs as Amaryllis. They are widely called Amaryllis but are in fact Hippeastrum! The true Amaryllis is a summer flowering bulb that we can grow outside in our borders! It is a hardy bulb that also produces spectacular trumpet-shaped blooms. These are usually an intense shade of pink, but occasionally they are pure white. The true Amaryllis comes from South Africa, but the originally Hippeastrum comes from South America.
Whether you have a go at growing Amaryllis yourself or buy a kit to give to a friend or relative, I hope that you'll have a go at growing these dramatic indoor bulbs this winter!