If you’re anything like us, the smell of pine, red and green foliage and home-grown mums all evoke those cozy holiday feels. However, what we love even more about this time of year is the beautiful flowering plants that bring holiday cheer long after the presents are opened and trees are packed away. Take your love for these plants well beyond December by tending to an amaryllis during the chilly months and watching it bring seasonal splendor back into your life throughout the coming year.
What is an Amaryllis?
Amaryllis are beautiful, tropical flowers that are closely related to the calla lily. The plant itself doesn’t actually produce any flowers on its own; it needs to be “forced” or tricked into blooming by being given special care. Amaryllis are generally available in two different varieties – red and white. Both colors are incredibly vibrant and often grow to be quite large. They tend to flourish in warm, tropical climates, making them a great choice for indoor plants here in the colder months. Amaryllis are typically sold as bulbs, which can be planted outside in warmer climates but work well in pots indoors. The bulbs should be kept in a dark place until they sprout and can be planted outdoors.
How to Care for Your Amaryllis: The Basics
Amaryllis are tropical plants that perform best in warm, humid environments. During the winter, the vast majority of the country does not provide the ideal growing conditions for your beloved bulb, so the trick to keeping your plant healthy and producing gorgeous blooms is to simulate those tropical conditions. Begin by placing your plant in a warm, sunny spot indoors. The bulb should be placed just above the soil line with the leaves resting on the surface. Be sure to water the soil regularly, but sparingly. Amaryllis perform best when the soil is slightly dry.
Tips for Keeping Your Amaryllis Alive Through Winter
– Temperature: In order to mimic the tropical climate of the amaryllis’ natural environment, you will need to keep your house warm. Between 70-80 degrees is ideal. – Light: Light is the key to growing healthy plants, and amaryllis are no exception. Place your plant near a window where it can receive plenty of light from the sun, but not in direct sunlight. – Humidity: Humidity is a critical element of tropical plant growth. You can simulate this indoors by placing a tray filled with pebbles topped by water in your amaryllis’ immediate vicinity. – Soil: In order to improve your soil’s ability to retain water, add a small amount of sand to the soil. – Fertilizer: During the winter months, your plant will not be able to absorb as much fertilizer as it needs, which leads to stunted growth. Be sure to choose a fertilizer with a low nitrogen content to avoid burning your plant. – Repotting: During the winter, it is important to keep your amaryllis in a pot that is just barely large enough for it. This will help to retain moisture and provide the necessary warmth for your plant to thrive. Christmas Amaryllis
When to Repot Your Amaryllis
Although amaryllis generally only need to be repotted once a year, this will depend on the growth of your plant. If your bulb has grown, it is time to move on to a larger pot. Otherwise, if your plant’s leaves remain close to the surface of the soil, it may be time to prune them in order to grow a larger bulb. When it comes to choosing a pot for your amaryllis, be sure the container is at least two inches wider than the bulb. Otherwise, the bulb may split the surface of the soil as it grows. It is also important to select a pot with plenty of drainage holes.
Amaryllis are beautiful plants that can bring some tropical flair to your winter home. To keep them healthy and flowering throughout the colder months, be sure to provide them with plenty of light, warm temperatures and humid conditions. When buying your amaryllis, make sure that it is a stemless bulb. When it’s time to repot your plant, be sure to use an appropriate potting mix and give the bulb plenty of room to grow.
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