Magazine article Sunset

Miniature Amaryllis for Winter Color: They Bear More Blooms Than Giant Kinds

Magazine article Sunset

Miniature Amaryllis for Winter Color: They Bear More Blooms Than Giant Kinds

Article excerpt

If giant amaryllis are the tubas in the flowering bulb band, miniature amaryllis are the French horns. The large-flowered amaryllis we're used to seeing at this time of year carry huge blossoms--8 and even 10 inches across. By comparison, miniature amaryllis flowers are only one-third as wide. Yet what these smaller blooms lack in breadth they make up for in volume. Miniature kinds not only put out more flowers per stem than their bigger cousins but produce more stems, which tend to come one at a time, so you get a long performance from each bulb.

While large-flowered kinds can look rather stiff and formal, miniature amaryllis, with their wavy blooms, have a graceful informality that fits anywhere in the house--on the kitchen table, sideboards, even bathroom counters.

Many nurseries now carry miniature amaryllis. Christmas-flowering amaryllis, usually bulbs grown in South Africa (or elsewhere in the southern hemisphere), bloom sooner after planting--in 4 to 6 weeks--and are available as early as September. Dutch-grown bulbs take longer to bloom--from 8 to 12 weeks.

If you can't find miniatures locally order bulbs from McClure & Zimmerman (800/883-6998 or www.mzbulb.com) and John Scheepers (860/567-0838 or www.johnscheepers.com).

For more tips on indoor bulbs, go to www.sunset.com/winterbulbs.html.

Planting tips

Choose containers just large enough to hold the bulbs with an inch or so to spare all around. …

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