Plant a Dramatic Amaryllis
Hippeastrum (commonly known as amaryllis) provide the biggest, boldest flowers of winter, and can even be bought preforced so that they bloom in time for the holidays.
From: DK Books - How to Grow
When to Plant: Autumn
At Its Best: Winter
Time to Complete: A few hours during the year
- 1 Hippeastrum bulb
- multi-purpose soil
- balanced liquid fertilizer
Soak the bulb roots in a basin of lukewarm water for a few hours. This will soften them and encourage the bulb to come into growth again.
Plant in Container
Choose a pot, just larger than the bulb itself, that has a drainage hole. Fill the base with soil, place the bulb on top and add more soil. Leave the top third of the bulb protruding.
Leave to Shoot
Water the bulb well to help settle the soil, then place the pot in a bright, warm spot at about 70 degrees F. Water sparingly until new leaves develop; then water regularly, keeping it moist.
Turn the pot frequently to prevent the flower stalk growing to one side. Move the plant to a cool spot when it starts flowering, to prolong the display. Feed weekly after flowering.
Tip: Repotting Bulbs
Hippeastrum go into dormancy at the end of summer. If yours doesn't, stop watering and feeding it, and cut back the leaves to encourage it to do so. Repot into a slightly larger pot. After several weeks, when new growth appears, resume watering.
Hippeastrum are excellent festive plants, and offer an equally vibrant alternative to the traditional poinsettias. They usually flower in shades of red and white, but some have orange, salmon and even green-tinted blooms. Their large trumpet-shaped flowers are often heavily patterned, and vary greatly in shape; some are broad and round, while others are slender and elegant.
'Lucky Strike' is an early-flowering cultivar with deep red, rounded flowers that make a particularly festive choice for a Christmas windowsill (Image 1).
'Apple Blossom' is scented, with pink-blushed, white flowers. Each bulb produces several spikes, with around four flowers apiece (Image 2).
'Giraffe' has slender cream petals, decorated with vivid red stripes and splashes. It usually flowers about ten weeks after planting (Image 3).
'Prelude' is possibly the most spectacular of all the Hippeastrum, producing an abundance of huge red and white flowers on tall, upright stems. It usually flowers in as little as five weeks after planting (Image 4).