Magazine article Sunset

Did You Get an Amaryllis for Christmas?

Magazine article Sunset

Did You Get an Amaryllis for Christmas?

Article excerpt

As living symbols of Christmas cheer, amaryllis (Hippeastrum) are appearing more and more often. Their blood blooms in brilliant red, white, and pink have made them popular for forcing indoors. If you get one as a gift or are tempted by sale prices on post-Christimas stock, you may wonder how to make the most of these expensive ($7 to $16) bulbs.

Should you toss them out after bloom, or can you get them to bloom again next Christmas? Though it's difficult to get them to bloom again right at Christmastime, don't discard the bulb--older ones produce more flower stalks.

The amaryllis commonly sold are topical, almost-evergreen plants that have undergone special treatment (artificial dormancy) to confuse them into Christmas bloom. Once they're growing well, they revert to a more natural cycle of spring and summer bloom. To ensure healthy plants, promote their natural inclinations

Most amaryllis in the wild grow year-round, slowing down briefly after bloom. A few varieties go dormant naturally for four to eight weeks, so if you plant starts to drop its leaves, you can safely assume it wants to rest. …

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