Sunday, October 24, 2010

Christmas Amaryllis

Christmas Amaryllis are not the type you buy at your local nursery or big box store, unless they say, "Christmas Amaryllis."  They can be ordered online or sometimes can be found at a specialty nursery.  I am sure there are many other reputable suppliers.  The larger the bulbs, the more flowers that will be produced.

Christmas Amaryllis "Cocktail"

The nice  thing about the Christmas Amaryllis is that they grow in about half the time as regular amaryllis.  I am about ready to plant them hopefully to bloom for Christmas.  I can plant them in stones and water and they will bloom just fine or if I want to keep them from year to year they should be planted in soil. This will determine what type of container you want to use, glass if you are using decorative stones and water, obviously not glass if you are using soil.  I don't think you want the look of roots crawling through the glass, but who knows?

I think I am going to use glass and stones this year, as I have never kept my amaryllis over from year to year.  I am bad, but I just don't have an area to store them.  So, I take the hit and buy them and then dispose of them at the end of the season.

I have already purchased some red painted branches from Home Depot (first year I have noticed them there) also were available in gold and white, and I will use them to hold up the leaves as the amaryllis develop, much better than string tied around them.  I think these are just shrub branches that have been spray painted (you can do this yourself if you have some shrubs that you have thinned.  Although these were inexpensive ($5.99). 

You know the amaryllis bulb is ready to plant when you see the green leaves beginning to poke through the top.

I purchased the glass containers (the deeper the container the better, even the miniatures grow quite tall) at Hobby Lobby, a craft store, and the colored stones at a decor store, but I am sure they are available at many different types of locations.

 Approximately one cup of stones in each container for the bulbs to sit on

I carefully poured into the containers an additional two cups of glass stones to surround the bulbs.  You can shake them a little side to side to even them out.  I also poured in a little less then two cups of water in each and will siphon some off with the turkey baster so it is not too high on the base of the bulb.

This will be better, just so the roots have access to the water.

We would like them to bloom for the holidays so the timing can be a little tricky.  The Christmas Amaryllis can take four to six weeks and the regular amaryllis up to twelve weeks.  It is aways better to be early as you can hold them in a state of suspension by putting them in a cooler place like an attached garage, enclosed porch, cooler basement room (you don't want them to freeze).

The twigs do not need to be placed inside the containers at this time but this just gives you an idea of how they work.  You can take them in and out for best placement in supporting the leaves.