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.

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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.

Growing Amaryllis IndoorsEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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.

Flower Choices

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).

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Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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