Year-round gardening: planting and caring for amaryllis | Lifestyle

Year-round gardening: planting and caring for amaryllis |  Lifestyle

As the holidays approach and our gardens get ready for the season, we can bring color to our indoor spaces with flowering bulbs. Exotic and delightful amaryllis flowers are just the thing!

Amaryllis are easy to grow and make beautiful gifts; Available as bare or potted bulbs, hybrid varieties come in several colors including red, white, shades of pink, coral and burgundy. If purchasing from a garden center, choose large bulbs that are firm and dry, with no signs of rot or damage. If new growth is visible, it should be bright green.

Plant the bulb in a narrow container of any type with good drainage, about 1 inch wider than the widest point of the bulb and twice the length of the bulb. Fill the container with new, sterilized potting soil about half full and anchor the bulb roots to the soil. Raise the soil level, if necessary, so that the top of the bulb is above the edge of the pot. Add soil around the bulb and compact it so that a third to half of the bulb remains visible. Water well until the soil is evenly moist. Drain and place on a plate in a sunny window.

When the top 2 inches of soil feel dry, water it well. Fertilize monthly with a half-strength fertilizer intended for flowering plants. To determine if a fertilizer is intended for flowering plants, look at the NPK percentages on the package. Nitrogen (N) will be the first percentage followed by phosphorus (P), then potassium (K); To stimulate flowering, look for products with phosphorus equal to or greater than nitrogen.

Keep the potted bulb in a sunny location (but not direct sun). It will take four to six weeks for flower buds to appear. Amaryllis are very photosensitive – this means that the stem grows or “bends” towards the light. Rotate the plant as it grows to keep the flower stem straight.

After the flowers wilt, remove spent flowers but do not cut the stem until they turn yellow and begin to die. Continue to care for the plant as you would any green houseplant. The green stem and leaves perform photosynthesis, storing energy in the bulb for future flowering.

In the spring, after the danger of frost has passed, the amaryllis bulbs can be moved outside, into pots – initially to a partially shaded place until the plant adapts, then gradually to a more sunny place. The bulb can also be planted in the ground. Continue fertilizing as you did indoors. In the fall, bring the plant back indoors before the first frost. Amaryllis are not very hardy and will not survive Colorado's harsh winters outdoors.

For more information on promoting reblooming, see this link.

https://extension.unh.edu/blog/2019/01/can-i-get-my-amaryllis-bloom-again

Send gardening questions to csumg2@elpasoco.com. They will be answered via the remote help desk system. The Personal Help Desk is closed during the winter; It will reopen in the spring. Follow us on Facebook at Colorado Master Gardeners – El Paso County.

Send gardening questions to csumg2@elpasoco.com. They will be answered via the remote help desk system. The Personal Help Desk is closed during the winter; It will reopen in the spring. Follow us on Facebook at Colorado Master Gardeners – El Paso County.

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