Amaryllis are popularflowering bulbs which are grown for their spectacular bloomduring the winter months. Bulbs are available pre-plantedin pots or unpotted. The unpotted bulbs usually cost less,plus the potting procedure is simple. All that are neededare a good well-drained potting soil and a suitable container.
Amaryllis bulbs should be planted in pots which are approximately 1 to 2 inches wider than the diameter of the bulb.Containersmay be plastic or clay, but should have drainage holes in thebottomof the pot. Add a small amount of potting soil to the bottom ofthe pot. Center the bulb in the middle of the pot. Then addadditional potting soil, firming it around the roots and bulb.When finished potting, the upper one-half to two-thirds of thebulb should remain above the soil surface. Also, leave about aninch between the soil surface and the pot's rim. Then water welland place in a cool (60 F) location. Water sparingly until growthappears. When growth begins, water more frequently, move the plantto a warm, sunny window and apply a water-soluble fertilizer everyto 2 to 4 weeks.
Flowering normally occurs about 4 to 6 weeks after potting.A large, top grade bulb should produce two flower stalks with fourflowerson each stem. The individual flowers may be 6 to 8 inches indiameter.
Pot amaryllis bulbs in mid-November for bloom during theChristmas holidays. Excellent varieties include: 'Red Lion'--deepcrimson red; 'White Christmas'--snow white; 'Prince Carnival'--white with red stripes; 'Minerva'--red with white star; and'Picotee'--white with red edge. Then cross your fingers. Forcingan amaryllis bulb is not an exact science. No one can be sure whenthe amaryllis will actually bloom. The flower display, regardless,will be spectacular.
This article originally appeared in the November 10, 1993 issue, p. 162.