Project Amaryllis

 

 

 

To say that I love flowers would be a bit understated. I adore them. Especially the large, showy flowers that make a bold statement. My ever favourite ones are the funnel-shaped like Gladiolus and Lilies in soft and creamy colours. Have you ever noticed how stunningly beautiful the Amaryllis is? It perfectly represents my favourite type. Such a sophisticated flower. I’ve always wanted to have one. So last year I finally bought one. I didn’t even know the name or how to take care but I felt adventurous and definitely optimistic about the final result.

Depending on the time of the year every month I have a different plant in focus. At this time of the year, there is nothing more tempting than the Amaryllis. Even though I’m not a specialist in gardening I always try to do my best, read and do as much as I can to keep the plants thriving and in a good shape.

 

 

Two months ago I planted my two Amaryllis bulbs – one new that I bought in October and the old one from last year. For the record, I planted them on the 6th of October. There is nothing too tricky or special with that just filled half of the pot with some soil then placed the Amaryllis and filled up to the top leaving one-third of the bulb above the surface. Amaryllis is a tender bulb so need to be grown inside as they are native to the tropical and subtropical areas of the Americas. Carefully placed in a well-lit spot on my West-faced windowsill at room temperature and started to water regularly. If you carefully follow the instructions on the label you should have no worries. Do not let the compost dry out, it says. So I did. And last but not least it says that it’s a good idea to turn the pot occasionally to prevent the flower stalk leaning towards the light and bend slightly in one direction.

Five weeks later I was more than inspired to take photos. It’s all worth it to archive a beauty like this, isn’t it? Soft pink colours and flower heads as big as the size of my palm. I so want to lengthen the flowering period for as long as possible but for that purpose, I’m gonna need a cooler place to move it. Unfortunately, there is no such in my house. But then I thought I should not worry as there is a second stalk coming from the same bulb and it’s coming very soon. How exciting is that! Two of them!

Also, another way to keep the gorgeous display for a bit longer is to plant three or four bulbs in a week time between each other. This way by the time the first one has finished flowering the second one will be just opening. If you are lucky enough, you will have the chance to admire them for more than a month. Saying that I already did it. I’ve just planted my Amaryllis Hippeastrum – Intokasie. I know – a name hard to remember but all I need to know is that it is white. Looks like I’m not gonna stop before I have all the available colours in my collection.

 

The set that I’ve bought was actually very easy to plant. Except for the bulb, it also contains a small pot and a pack of compost. The size of the bulb is 24/26 (whatever that means) and the pot size is accordingly 13 cm in diameter. It takes 5 minutes to plant and some water. Have I convinced you already to try? Maybe I should mention that the price is way too affordable?

Please keep in mind that after flowering, the Amaryllis goes dormant. That means it goes to sleep for a while. It usually loses all or most of the leaves during the dormant period, although it is not always necessary all the leaves to wither for the bulb to reach complete dormancy. Don’t think you’ve killed the flower and don’t through it away. It will bloom again. If you are really keen on gardening like me you can also try to make it bloom a second time in a few months. Here is some interesting step-by-step information on how to get your Amaryllis bloom again. I haven’t tried yet. But I might.

So far so good but the toughest part is to store the bulb properly. That’s very crucial for next year’s flowering. Unfortunately, I have failed with the first one. Now I have a second chance to find out what I’ve done wrong and try again. Although I did as instructed, right now my Amaryllis has only leaves. It might be because last year before letting it go dormant I haven’t cut the stalk off. This stops the plant putting energy into making a large seed pot and is called deadheading. It is important though to keep the leaves attached to the bulb until they’ve dried off as they are putting some energy back to the bulb for the next year. After flowering the leaves feed the bulb and help grow bigger. Or might be because I haven’t kept the compost moist long enough after fading. I should also mention that on a couple of occasions it happened to let it dry out. Sorry, I was busy LOL. But whatever the reason was I’m sure I can fix it.

 

 

 

In any case, I’m not giving up. I look forward to the time when I’ll be a master keeper of the beautiful Amaryllis! Until then I’ll keep trying.