Photo caption: As its name implies, Double King amaryllis brightens up any room with double blossoms of burgundy-red and can have up to a dozen flowers. Photo credit: photo courtesy of Longfield-Gardens.com
By Melinda Myers
Let amaryllis fill your home with flowers for the holidays and keep the blossoms coming all winter long. When you plant several different types of amaryllis bulbs, from both the southern and northern hemisphere, you can be sure to get a long-lasting, colorful show that will brighten your mood and surroundings throughout the winter months.
Kick off the holiday season with amaryllis bulbs that are imported from growers in Peru. As we enter autumn, it’s springtime in South America, and these bulbs are eager to start blooming. Pot them up before early November for flowers in December.
Amaryllis varieties grown in the southern hemisphere include deep red Mandela, frosty white Denver, coral-pink Bolero and two-tone Charisma. Combine these impressive blossoms with greens, poinsettias, candles and other holiday décor, or give them as living gifts to friends, family and neighbors.
Most amaryllis bulbs that are grown in the U.S. are imported from Holland, and their natural bloom time is January through March. Exactly when the flowers will open is impossible to predict. The best strategy is to choose a number of different varieties and plant them 3 to 4 weeks apart during November, December and January. This way you will always have flowers coming into bloom.
Plan a winter filled with amaryllis blossoms by referring to Longfield Gardens’ article, longfield-gardens.com/article/When-Will-Your-Amaryllis-Bloom for insight on when different amaryllis varieties will bloom.
Start your indoor flower display with an early bloomer such as Evergreen, which is always quick to break out of dormancy. Its flowers have narrow, lime/chartreuse petals on 20-inch plants. Enjoy the impressive display as each bulb produces 2 stems with 4 to 6 blooms.
Minerva’s extra-large, cherry-red flowers have a white star in the middle and an apple green throat. They are eye-catching from afar and spectacular up close. Apple Blossom is a long-time favorite with snow-white petals brushed with pink and a lime green throat. Or grow a double amaryllis such as Double King with layers of burgundy-red petals and up to a dozen flowers.
Enjoy some of the more unusual amaryllis colors and flower styles by planting varieties such as Naranja, with its tropical red-orange blossoms or Sweet Nymph, a romantic double amaryllis with stunning, coral-pink petals. Add elegance to your indoor garden with Picotee. Its 8” flowers are white with a thin red line around each petal.
As winter turns to early spring, celebrate with an explosion of indoor blooms from Red Pearl, Spartacus and other proven performers. Thevelvety, burgundy-red flowers of Red Pearl have a deep maroon throat that sets off the glittering gold stamens. Spartacus turns heads with its crimson petals and bold white stripes.
Display your amaryllis on a mantle, kitchen counter or entryway tablewhere you can watch the amazing show as the first sprout appears, followed by buds and the spectacular trumpet-shaped blooms. Amaryllis are also beautiful, long-lasting cut flowers.
For best selection, order your bulbs early and store them in a cool, dry, dark place until you are ready to plant. Once you pot up the bulbs and place them in a warm, bright location, flower buds should appear in about 6 to 10 weeks.
Protect yourself from the winter blahs by investing in amaryllis. You can count on their big flowers and bright colors to lift your spirits and ease your way to spring.
Melinda Myers has over 30 years of gardening experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening For Everyone” DVD set and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio program.