Amaryllis: the Perfect Holiday Décor
Holiday cheer comes in many forms: presents wrapped in colourful paper, bright lights and colourful ornaments dazzling our eyes at every turn, and of course all the parties! But when it comes to dazzling blooms, not many can hold a candle to the glorious Amaryllis. Available in stunning shades of red, white, pink, and bicolour combinations, the huge blooms stand atop some of the sturdiest green stalks in the Tropical world. So whether you’re looking for stunning décor for your next party, a gorgeous gift for a wonderful person or even yourself, here are some tips to keep your Amaryllis thriving throughout the season:
Planting Your Bulb(s):
Fill your pot with all-purpose potting soil and place your bulb so that the top third is poking out of the soil – Amaryllis like to be cozy but not suffocated! Be careful not to damage any of the thick roots when planting, and pack the soil lightly so the bulb stays firmly in place.
Choosing the right pot size is very important for Amaryllis! There should be no more than 1” (about 2cm) on either side of the bulb once it’s planted, so if your bulb is 4” across you’ll need a 6” pot. Too large of a pot may mean that your blooms are delayed or may not show up at all. Go for a sturdy pot (with drainage!) to match the sturdy stalk as it reaches for the sky.
Now that your bulb is in its new home, place in bright, indirect light and water in carefully (this is where the drainage hole comes in handy). Allow your Amaryllis to dry out slightly between waterings. Blooms can appear in 6 to 8 weeks, depending on your home environment.
Care While Blooming:
Keep your Amaryllis away from drafts and temperature fluctuations.
Use an all-purpose fertilizer monthly.
Rotate your pot every few days, especially once it starts to flower, to keep the stalk growing straight and tall. If it does start to lean, you can place a stake or bamboo pole to help keep it upright – be careful not to hit the bulb!
Once your blooms appear, enjoy! They may last longer if moved to a cooler, slightly dim location while blooming, but this step is purely optional.
Once your Amaryllis has done its job and graced your home with its gorgeous blooms, you can either compost it and start anew next year OR complete a few simple steps to enjoy the bulb again next year!
After the blooms start to fade, cut back the flower stalks but leave the foliage behind to drink in much-needed sunlight and nutrients (your bulb may have actually shrunk from the effort of pushing up those beautiful flowers!)
Place your pot in a bright, sunny location and water as before, allowing the soil to dry slightly between deep waterings. Fertilize as before with an all-purpose fertilizer monthly.
Once the warmer temperatures arrive and the mercury stays above 15°C day and night, usually in June, place your Amaryllis pot outside to absorb even more of the sun’s energy. As with your other Tropical houseplants, you’ll need to ease it into its new location by gradually increasing the hours of sunlight it receives; this usually takes about a week. Keep up your watering and fertilizing schedules, checking your pots every day as they will dry out faster outdoors.
In early September, bring in your Amaryllis and Stop Watering! Let it dry out until it reaches dormancy, then carefully cut off any dried leaves and place the pot in a cool, dark place. You may find your plant going dormant before September, which looks like the leaves going yellow and dying back to the bulb – this is your Amaryllis telling you it’s ready for a cut back and to come back indoors.
If you’d like your Amaryllis to flower for the holidays, place your pot in a warm, indirect light location in early to mid-November. This is a good time to repot in fresh all-purpose potting soil (you can keep the same pot) but this step is optional.
Allow your pot to dry slightly between waterings, and fertilize monthly with an all-purpose fertilizer. In 6 to 8 weeks, you can say hello to your old friend Amaryllis!