When you're thinking about plants for your home this winter, consider an Amaryllis. They're easy to grow, they're a lot of fun, and they provide a beautiful pop of color for your winter interior.

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Amaryllis for Winter Color

On those cold winter days when the trees are bare, and everything has gone to sleep for the winter, you may want to bring some interesting blooming plants into your home, especially for the holidays. An amaryllis may be a great choice for you. They’re large bulbs that you pot, and within four to six weeks you’ll have a beautiful blooming plant that you can enjoy in your home.

They come in a variety of colors such as pinks, variegated ones, reds and whites. There are a lot of different colors to choose from. You can buy your bulbs at a variety of places, such as garden centers and discount centers. Or, you can order them in the mail or through the internet. So, there are a variety of ways that you can purchase them.

Many times, you’ll see them in a kit that has the bulb, the container, and a package of potting soil that is all ready to go. So, this makes a nice gift, or an easy way to get started with amaryllis.

You can also just buy the bulbs by themselves. There are a lot of differences in the size of bulbs. This is truly a case where bigger is better. The bigger the bulb that you can afford, go for that one because it will often send off two flower shoots if you have a nice, big bulb.

So we’re going to plant one of these bulbs. What you’ll need is the bulb, a container with drainage in the bottom. I like a clay pot because it’s a little heavier and makes a good counterbalance from the weight of the tall stem. When you choose your pot, get one that is just slightly larger than the bulb. Here we have a bulb that is fairly good sized, and there is only about one-half inch or so on either side of that bulb. This is important because Amaryllis bulbs don’t like to be too wet. So, we don’t want to have a lot of soil mass that will stay wet and cause root damage to the bulb.

First, place some soil in the container. We’re going to keep this bulb pretty high in the pot. As usual, the root goes down, and the shoot points up. We’ll have about one-third to one-half of the bulb exposed. Pack the dirt in, making sure that the air-pockets are taken care of.

Then, give it a little drink of water. Water it well to make sure that the soil is thoroughly saturated. Then wait until the shoot starts to grow before you water it again. This is so you don’t have an excessively wet mass of soil.

Place the pot in a nice, sunny area and wait for that shoot to come up. Turn the pot periodically so that the stem stays straight. And, in four to six weeks, you’ll have a great stock of wonderful Amaryllis flowers. You can enjoy those in your home. If you keep them in a cooler area, they’ll last longer. But, they’re a wonderful accent to any home or holiday celebration.

After they are through flowering, cut off the flower stalk. Keep it inside and continue to water it until all danger of frost is past. Then, you can take it outside for the summer. When it’s outside, you can fertilize it and water it as you do your other plants.

In September, cut off the leaves and bring it inside. Let the bulb rest or go dormant. Don’t water after that. Let it dry out. You can either let it stay in the pot, or you can take it out of the pot and let it dry out on a counter or a shelf. Then, in six to eight weeks you can repot the plant and start the whole process again.

So, when you’re thinking about plants for your home this winter, consider an Amaryllis. They’re easy to grow, they’re a lot of fun, and they provide a beautiful pop of color for your winter interior.

This feature story prepared with Evelyn Neier, Kansas State University Research and Extension Youth Gardening Specialist, 4-H Youth Development. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at KansasGreenYards.org.

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