Denver Plants

Winter is rapidly approaching and soon our landscapes will become dormant. This is the time of year that we begin to migrate towards gardening indoors. One of the easiest and most rewarding projects is growing... Amaryllis.

This months topic... Growing Amaryllis Indoors

Amaryllis belongs to the genus Hippeastrum. Their sometimes called Magic Lilies or Resurrection Lily. It is a true bulb that was originally native to tropical areas of South America and Southern Africa. Here in Potted Amaryllis - HippeastrumColorado... Amaryllis must be grown indoors, as they are not winter hardy.

The bulbs available today are mostly hybrids that took many years to develop. These hybrid bulbs can be readily found for growing indoors in kit form or in bulk at your local Garden Center in shades of red, pink, white, salmon, orange, and bi-colors.

When shopping for bulbs choose one that is firm to the touch. Larger bulbs often tend to produce more stalks and flowers than smaller diameter bulbs. Avoid purchasing bulk Amaryllis bulbs that have begun to grow stalks in the display bin.

The next step... Potting your Indoor Amaryllis Bulb
Amaryllis prefer to be potted in a deep container just wide enough to allow 1" to 1.5" of open space around the bulb. Be sure to select a container that has drainage holes in the bottom. The growing medium should be sterile and well drained. Avoid using soils that contain pine bark. Carefully plant your new Amaryllis bulb in the center of the pot leaving one-third of the bulb exposed above the soil line. After planting... thoroughly water in the freshly planted Amaryllis bulb with tepid water. Amaryllis like to be pot bound. They can be re-grown in the same container for several years.

The essentials for success... Water, Light and Temperature
After the initial watering don't water again until the flower stem emerges from the Amaryllis bulb. Then keep the soil moist... but never soggy as it will cause the bulb to rot. A general rule of thumb is to check your Indoor Amaryllis bulb for watering every 6 to 9 days. Avoid pouring water directly on the bulb.

In the home or office the Amaryllis bulb should be kept at 70 to 75 degrees in a well lighted area. Southern exposure is usually best. Once your Amaryllis plant begins to flower... it should be moved to a cooler location to extend the flower life.

When your Indoor Amaryllis bulb begins to grow... its time to start feeding. Feed your plant every 2 or 3 weeks with any balanced liquid plant food, or a single application of a top coat slow release granular fertilizer such as Osmocote will do nicely.

Re-blooming your Amaryllis Indoors...
As the flowers begin to fade, carefully cut them off one by one removing the flower stem last.Amaryllis Flowers After all the flowers have bloomed out... your Amaryllis bulb should have grown some leaves. Move your Amaryllis back to a sunny location so the leaves can store some "new energy" back into the bulb. Once the leaves start to wither move your Amaryllis to a dry, cool, dark area. Preferably an area that is about 55 to 60 degrees. Leave your Amaryllis in this location for 8 to 10 weeks. Do not water or feed your Amaryllis during this resting period. Remove any dead foliage, but don't cut off any green leaves until they naturally decline. After the resting period move your Amaryllis back to its southern exposure to start the process all over again.

Indoor Amaryllis make great holiday gifts...
As you can see Amaryllis are very easy to grow. They make excellent holiday gifts... rewarding its owner with clusters of brightly colored flowers year after year. Your local Garden Center will have a good selection of hybrid Amaryllis either in kits or bulk bulbs that are ready to be planted and grown indoors.

To learn more about these fascinating winter flowering plants the Royal Horticultural Society has published a great book called Hippeastrum: The Gardeners Amaryllis

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