Go beyond the traditional with unique Amaryllis varieties

Boost your spirits and winter decor with new shapes and colors of amaryllis. Today there are many beautiful options that go beyond the traditional red.

Double amaryllis have huge flowers with multiple layers of petals. Start the season with this early-blooming Alaskan variety. Its textured white petals contrast nicely with the lime green throat and the flowers last for weeks. Early-flowering amaryllis are grown in the Southern Hemisphere, and if planted by early November, they bloom in time for holiday decorating and gift-giving.

Extend the amaryllis season with doubles grown in the Northern Hemisphere. Start amaryllis bulbs anytime before January to get flowers in mid- to late winter. Sweet Nymph has layers of creamy white petals accented with coral pink stripes. Flowers add romantic charm to any setting. Giant Amadeus’ very large flowers change colors as they transition from bud to mature bloom. The flowers start out mostly white with a soft red outline. The color of the petals gradually intensifies to reddish pink, pink and coral.

Doublet is another stunning double that blooms in winter. Its flowers feature narrow petals in a variety of widths, all with candy cane red and white stripes. You can expect two or three flower stalks from each bulb and up to a dozen flowers. For more delicate beauty, consider double amaryllis with white petals outlined in red.

New species of single amaryllis can be just as exciting. Opal Star is an early bloomer with petals that are slightly longer and narrower than most. Its muted light red flowers feature a white star and a white star in the center that extends to the tips of the petals. Cape Horn has wide, pink petals and a white star. Remember to plant these early-blooming amaryllis in the fall so you can share fresh flower bouquets for the holidays.

Keep the flowers coming with varieties that bloom in January and February. The Terra Cotta Star is sure to attract attention with its brilliant colors and exquisite details. The salmon, rose, buttercream and pistachio petals have dark red veins that make each flower distinctive. Yellow Star is another unique variety that contains elegant ivory and lime green flowers that are sure to lift your spirits. Rosie Star’s gorgeous flowers feature snowy white petals and a pink blush.

Don’t underestimate red amaryllis as there are many exciting variations to choose from. Charisma is an early blooming single flower with petals that show a red and white ombre effect. Gervase and Flamenco Queen later flourish with singles with similar fades on their petals. For very bold red and white flowers, consider Amaryllis Spartacus or Minerva Single and Splash Double.

Order amaryllis bulbs early for the best selection. When the bulbs arrive, store them in a cool, dry, dark place until you are ready to plant. After storing the bulbs, place them in a warm, bright place to encourage them to break dormancy. Once the first bud appears, you can expect flowers within two to four weeks. Enjoy all the beauty that growing amaryllis has to offer with minimal care.

Melinda Myers is the author of several books, including Small Space Gardening. Myers’ website is www.MelindaMyers.com.

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