You want them. Of course, you want them. Who wouldn’t be starstruck by huge bodacious trumpet-shaped blossoms blaring with voluptuousness? We’re talking about totally nondescript plump bulbs that suddenly send out promising flower buds in a snap and then pop into performance like you wouldn’t believe. And all this is staged in the middle of dull, dark, boring winter. If anything could turn the dormant season around, amaryllis will do the trick.
It might seem like you’re just on for the ride with amaryllis, but really, there’s a way to do it right. And that’s what this post is all about. Start right with amaryllis, and not only will you be in position to get the blossom spike of your dreams, you are poised for many fat buds in the future. But first, you’ve got to get those ugly duckling bulbs buried in good soil.
A Promising Future
Waxed bulbs promise performance from a naked start with no soil whatsoever. Absolutely, they stand a chance of being a one stem wonder. But a reblooming future for future years will require removing that wax and giving the roots an opportunity to grow. Same with wading amaryllis bulbs in water or pebbles. Neither of these situations is a good investment in the plant’s tomorrow. For a bright future, you want to give your amaryllis a strong start.
Good potting soil is the brightest beginning for any plant, including amaryllis. Although the bulbs might seem to be on autopilot, amaryllis really crave proper care and a healthy breakfast. Coast of Maine potting soil will rev up those engines and—even more importantly—keep them chugging along. Stonington Blend Organic & Natural Grower’s Mix is perfect for the job.
Right Pot for the Plant
Let’s plunge right in with a generalization about bulbs: They generally do not like a generous container. Instead, they prefer to be snug. Think about it: We’re talking about a powerhouse that has all the energy for performance built into a big, round package. That package doesn’t want to swim in excess soil that might become damp due to the meager initial root system. Instead, choose a container that is just 2-3 inches wider in diameter than the bulb. A pot with drainage is definitely preferable. And when you pot an amaryllis, be sure to pack the soil firmly around the tuber. A strong initial potting will help to prevent the plant from toppling from the weight of its gigundo flower spikes. Of course, a plant stake will also shoulder a stem and prevent those incredible (but hefty) spires from tumbling down.
A Promising Future
What about future years for your amaryllis? Depending upon how the bulb was treated prior to your adoption moment and also subject to your treatment of the bulb with proper potting and regular—but not excessive—watering, your amaryllis can stage a run of many midwinter opening days and nights. Here’s how to do it: After your bulb has finished its flowering encores in winter, continue to water it while the foliage performs. In autumn, cut back the foliage and let the bulb rest until it shows signs of growth again. Then begin to water to support another stupendous spate of winter lushness. Amaryllis can give you many happy returns!
Written by award winning author, Tovah Martin. Photos also taken by Tovah Martin. Find her books and more information on her website: tovahmartin.com.