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Amaryllis for Christmas, how you can force it to bloom again

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James Kilkelly
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Joined: 30 May 2006
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Location: West of Ireland

PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 12:31 am    Post subject: Amaryllis for Christmas, how you can force it to bloom again Reply with quote

Amaryllis for Christmas, how you can force it to bloom again.

For festive indoor colour at Christmas you have quite a few options, mainly in shades of red, pink and white. You could opt for the bright reds of Ponsettia, a mix of pinks and whites with Christmas cactus, or perhaps a further mix of reds, pinks and whites combined with ivy-like foliage as displayed by the winter Cyclamen. But if you have become tired of these well worn Christmas favourites and require that little bit extra in wow factor, then I suggest you seek out a plant known as Amaryllis.

It is hard to find a bloom as fitting for Christmas as the Amaryllis. For example, its growth requires a careful coaxing and hinting similar to that used by children as they make their Santa wish lists. Again similar to children awaiting Christmas morning, you yourself will have to wait and see will your Amaryllis give you what you wished for. Will its flowers emerge from their buds in time for Christmas and spread their graceful petals for all to enjoy. Yes, winter after winter invariably they will, but only if you follow a few simple rules, which I will share with you shortly.

. The not so beautiful Amaryllis bulb (on left) and an example of the more than beautiful bloom (on right) , photo / pic / image.

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Asparagales
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Genus: Amaryllis
Species: A. belladonna
Binomial name
Amaryllis belladonna

First let's look at how you can receive your Amaryllis, well there are two ways, the most common being as a basic bulb usually available through garden centres in September/October. The other way the Amaryllis can enter your home is as a gift-wrapped pre-potted bulb in a decorative container. This can be just beginning to produce its leaves or if delivered closer to Christmas, could be just about to flower.

If you had the foresight to pick the bulb up as its raw form in early autumn or if you happen to receive a pre-grown plant, then at present your Amaryllis is close to blooming if not blooming already. Will its exotic flowers be bright white, pink, red, orange or a combination of the colours mentioned? And what will you do with the plant once it finishes blooming, can you get it to flower again next year?

Well if your Amaryllis plant is looked after correctly, it can be expected to put on a great show for upwards of 50 years, long enough for me and I'm sure long enough for you. So, follow the steps below to prolong your Amaryllis.

Cut back.
Once your bulb is finished flowering, cut the spent blooms from the stem, then when the stem starts to sag, cut it back two to three inches from the top of the bulb. It is important that you don't cut off the leaves.

Continue to water when the surface of the compost is dry, also feed with houseplant fertiliser at half rate for at least 5-6 months. When the leaves will begin to yellow in the early Autumn, you should cut them back to about 2 inches from the top of the bulb.

By mid September, you should let the bulb go dormant by withholding water and placing it in a cool poorly lit place such as a shed. This hard spell should continue for 6-8 weeks to imitate the dry season of the plant's native South America

Sometime in November, bring the Amaryllis plant back into a well-lit and warm area (about 20ÂșC). Begin watering again to lightly moisten the soil, encouraging leaves and flower buds to make an appearance after a few weeks. It will be worth your while swivelling the pot daily to prevent the new flower stem growing lopsided towards the sunlight.

So all being well, six to eight weeks after bringing your bulbs into the light, you will be able to enjoy yet another Christmas brightened by Amaryllis blooms.

Any comments on this article? Please post below.

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Green fingers
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
Rank attained: Hazel Tree

Joined: 29 Apr 2009
Posts: 44
Location: Cork

PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have some Amaryllis which have just bloomed. When the flowers and leaves are gone I give them a rest. What I usually do is let them in their pots on the window and I restrict the amount of water that they receive. When I want them to flower I increase their water and feed. This seems to work for me. I generally do this about 2/3 times a year.
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