A popular indoor plant in the winter and spring is the amaryllis, with large lily-shaped flowers on tall stems. They are becoming a popular holiday gift. As a bulb, it shares some care and growth methods used with other bulbs. However, because of its background as a tropical plant, and bloom cycle, there are differences.
|Light||Light shade of full sun|
|Water||Water when soil feels dry, do not over water|
|Temperature||Prefer full sun in mild climates, and light shade in hot climates|
The scientific name Amaryllis is taken from a shepherdess in Virgil’s (a roman poet’s) pastoral “Eclogues,” from the Greek αμαρυσσω (Latin amarysso) meaning “to sparkle.” Amaryllis is a monotypic (only one species) genus of plant commonly known as the belladonna lily or naked ladies.
The bulb does not require pre-cooling to be forced. If the bulb is not already potted when purchased, one should choose a pot about twice as wide as the bulb. This is done because the bulb prefers to be pot bound, with no more than 2 inches from the side of the bulb to the wall of the pot. A normal bulb fits in a 6 to 8 inch diameter pot. The pot MUST have drainage hole(s) in its base, so do not plant in a sealed pot. Letting the pot sit in water for long periods could promote bulb rot and cause other infestations to appear.
Pot the bulb with good, sterile planting medium so that the top third of the bulb (including its ‘neck’) is above the soil. This ensures that no water placed on the surface of the soil will go down into the bulb’s neck. It is not necessary to cover the top of the bulb completely with soil – all the ‘action’ takes place at the base and roots.
When growth appears, it may start with thin flat green leaves, a flower stem that is rounded and topped with a ‘knob’ bud, or a combination of the two. After this point, add water whenever the soil below the top inch is dry – no more than once every 3 days. It is best to water by placing the pot in a pan of water of a level halfway up on the pot’s height, to allow the soil to draw up water through the base of the pot.
Potted Amaryllis will last around 6 – 8 weeks.
Although the Amaryllis is Monotypic, it does come in a variety of bright beautiful colours!