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The amaryllis gardeners grow in containers during the frigid cold winter months then happily give away to warm another’s heart is actually known, botanically, as Hippeastrum.

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Amaryllis come in many colored cultivars like red of ‘Red Lion,’ white of ‘Antarctic,’ pink, salmon or orange, in plain, striped, swirling or edged in multiple colors such as ‘Elvas’ which has a double flower. Look for dwarf and tall sizes and create an indoor garden display for the holidays.

Grow Amaryllis in Autumn

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This is an easy garden gift to grow and give away. Start with an amaryllis bulb, one 6 – 7 inch pot and pre-packaged all- purpose potting soil. Plant the bulb approximately 6 - 8 weeks prior to gift giving, until then keep it in a cool (40-50 degrees) place. To plant, fill the bottom one-third of the pot with soil, set the bulb in the middle resting in the soil. The bulb and pot should not be touching but have one to two inches of space between. Fill in the space with soil, gently and lightly packing. Stop adding soil when only the top 1/3 of the bulb is visible. Water the pot, let the pot drain then set in a cool room with diffused light. When leaf tips pop out of the bulb move to a place where the plant gets bright light or morning sun to encourage buds.  

A Second Holiday Gift

Give a second holiday gift by including with the Amaryllis, instructions for replanting outside in spring:

  • Cut old flowers off plant after flowering.
  • Do not injure leaves or new flower stalks.
  • In late winter, increase sunlight by moving plant to south or west facing window.
  • Fertilize monthly by watering with ½ strength liquid fertilizer or add time-release fertilizer to soil in pot.
  • Do not allow soil to dry out completely.
  • After the last frost free date (i.e. Central Ohio May 15th or southeastern Wisconsin May 31), move Amaryllis outside.
  • Fertilize and water as appropriate for outside container plants.

Amaryllis belladonna

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Amaryllis belladonna is the only species in this genus. This plant is hardy in zones 7 – 10 and tolerates dry conditions. It is used in outdoor planting, in Northern climates treated like other tender bulbs or as an annual. This Amaryllis comes in pink, white or purple.  

A native of Wisconsin, Chris now makes her home in zone 5 of central Ohio.  She is a member of Garden Writers Association and Perennial Plant Association.  More of Chris' garden musings may be seen at StayGardening.com


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