The Christmas Amaryllis

HerbDoc’s amaryllis is blooming now. Better late than never!

Every year or two someone who knows my love for all growing things gives me an amaryllis bulb for Christmas.  This year one came advertised are pure white, but when the green flower spath emerged, color could be seen through it.  It opened two days ago and is reminiscent of peppermints with its deep pink stripes on white flowers.

HerbDoc's amaryllis

Even though they are sold as amaryllis, they are actually Hippeastrum.  The bulbs are very tender and should not be exposed to cold.  Three years ago a relative in North Carolina had one shipped to me at Christmas, and by the time it arrived in the back of a frigid UPS truck, it was beyond hope.

I love these bulbs that brighten the winter months and give huge rewards with very little effort.  After blooming I treat them as houseplants, keeping the soil moist and giving them a dose of fertilizer every two weeks.  Cut off the flower stems right above the bulb nose and move them outside for the summer, bringing them back indoors in September.  Then stop watering and put in a cool, dry place (around 55- 60 degrees) for 10 to 12 weeks.  After that period, remove the bulb from its pot and clean off the old foliage.  Re-pot in fresh soil, leaving about one third of the bulb exposed.  Water sparingly until new growth emerges.  Once it does, water regularly and start the fertilizer regimen.  Voila!  The amaryllis should re-bloom approximately 8 weeks after the first watering.

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About dirtynailz

Writer for a daily newspaper, gardener, tree hugger, orchid-grower, photographer, animal lover, hiker, wilderness seeker. Proponent of clover in the lawn and a dog on the bed.
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19 Responses to The Christmas Amaryllis

  1. cjwright says:

    Thanks for this info, dirtynailz. In Zone 8, these bulbs have always transplanted nicely into the garden. This is the first year (in about 9) that they didn’t come back. 😦 Our winter was colder than usual, and who knows? Maybe they’re still sleeping. But I’m afraid they were lost.

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    • dirtynailz says:

      Ah yes, wonderful Zone 8. Well, we’re in Zone 7 here on the coast of RI, but with climate change, who knows which zone we’ll be in in the future?
      Thanks for the “like” and the comment. So, do you have an entire bed of amaryllis by now? Are they as popular in the south during the holidays as they are here?

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  2. HerbDoc says:

    You’re so lucky to be able to keep these outdoors, and if you had a garden of them, it must have been spectacular! DN is so right about their popularity here in the East; prior to Christmas, there isn’t a store that doesn’t have them. After that they more or less disappear. Hope yours are just sleeping in, but as I said they really hate the cold. I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

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  3. cjwright says:

    I didn’t have a whole bed of them, but I had about 8 last year, I think. Huge!! So, I’ll be really sad if they don’t show their heads soon. Most things are already up and I think the amaryllis are gone. There is one house in town that had an amazing garden full of them ~ 50 easy. But, I just realized that I didn’t see those this year, either. That gives me more hope about mine. Spring will be late here. The camellias are only now just blooming and they’re usually January flowers here.

    They are enormously popular in the south, and in all colors, too. Everyone sells the bulbs ~ garden stores, grocers, drug stores, and all the chain discount stores. They’re everywhere. And wouldn’t you know it? I didn’t get one this past year. That’ll teach me!

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  4. HerbDoc says:

    I think spring will be very late here also. We were just beginning to see the (brown) grass when it decided to snow last night, and I know all my little snowdrops are under those huge snowbanks up against the house.
    I’m hoping for that “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb”
    proverb, but it has been a very long, cold, snowy season!

    Like

  5. Martha says:

    I love amaryllis. I didn’t buy any around the holidays because I was so sure that the previous year’s bulbs would bloom. They didn’t 😦 I had to post old photos for my blog just to share some amaryllis shots. I don’t know what went wrong, but I won’t miss purchasing new bulbs come next Christmas. Your amaryllis is very lovely.

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  6. cjwright says:

    Update!! I had to go to WalMart yesterday and they had some new, sprouting amaryllis bulbs for sale. I picked up two…along with some other things, too. It is so hard to resist!

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  7. HerbDoc says:

    I have to stay out of plant departments…either there is a “must have” or a plant that needs TLC. Either way I’m running out of room! My son keeps saying “No more plants”, and my response always is “I need a greenhouse!” 🙂

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    • cjwright says:

      Bulbs were $3.00. Hey, HerbDoc, you do need a greenhouse if you have snowbanks up against your house now. Remind him that Mother’s Day will be here before he knows it. (hint, hint)

      Like

  8. HerbDoc says:

    Thanks, CJ, but I’ve been hinting for years and nothing comes of it. I think they’re afraid they’ll never see me in the house again!

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  9. Joyce C. Torrice says:

    Hi HerbDoc: thanks for the “touch of spring” with that beautiful flower…and yes it looks like a “candy cane”….I had one in my office…a beautiful “pink” one given to my by my former employer at Christmas…the staff loved it so that I left it for them to enjoy….I get a call when it blooms OR NOT ….it was just a special way to say bye.

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  10. HerbDoc says:

    It’s amazing the variety of colors that can be found in amaryllis, isn’t it?
    My first flower has gone by, but there are two more buds on the stalk!

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  11. cjwright says:

    Oh, happy day!! A morning walk and inspection found my amaryllis’ poking their heads through the earth. I was so happy to learn that they’re still alive and kicking. They’re just a little late to the party this year. Hurray!!!!

    Like

  12. Pingback: Amaryllis ~ The Horn Section | Lunar Home and Garden

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