Amaryllis, the enchanted plant
The large and impressive flowers make amaryllis popular plants worldwide, especially in Christmas season. The amaryllis originated in South America's tropical regions and comes in many beautiful varieties including various shades of red, white, pink, salmon and orange. There are also many striped and multicolored varieties, usually combining shades of pink or red with white. Amaryllis symbolizes pride, but also enchanting beauty.
Amaryllis usually blooms after the first winter cold, but in recent years with the appropriate methods, its blooms comes a little earlier and so we enjoy them from Christmas -during the festive season- through to the spring.
Amaryllis is a tropical bulb, known as a winter blooming indoor plant. It is one of the easiest plants to bring to bloom and this can be accomplished indoors or outdoors, and over an extended period of time. It usually produces 2 to 7 really huge flowers, about 15 centimeters in size, each of which is lily-shaped and gracefully placed on a tall stem, 45 to 50 centimeters in length.
Amaryllis is not a one-year-old plant, but there is a special care procedure that, if you follow it, its bulb will flourish in the next and the following year. It is said that it can bloom for 75 years.
The ideal time for planting the Amaryllis bulbs is in September and October. Amaryllis grows well in slightly acidic soils (pH 6.0-6.8), and you can also enrich the soil with organic fertilizer. For more impressive growth and flowering, you can fertilize once a week with water-soluble fertilizer.
Use common fluffy soil while it is advisable to add gravel, sand or even perlite to the soil. Your pot must have holes for good drainage and it should be about 7 cm bigger than the diameter of the bulb and about 3 cm around the entire bulb. When placing the plant in the soil, being careful not to damage the roots and make sure that the one-third of the bulb is above the soil. Water, press the soil down firmly to set the bulb securely in place after planting and place the pot in a warm and sunny place. Bulbs will flower in 7-10 weeks as a general rule. In winter the flowering time will be longer than in spring. Usually the bud appears first and then the leaves.
Amaryllis plants need bright indirect light while growing. Southern exposure is best, western or eastern exposures are adequate. An amaryllis plant that only gets a northern exposure requires additional artificial light.
Amaryllis flowers tend to grow towards the light, so when the first buds make their appearance remember rotate the pot every day in order to keep it growing straight. Use a stick to support and protect of breaking the tall and heavy stem.
If you want the bloom to last for several days, transfer the flowering amaryllis to a cool spot at night and protect it from exposure to direct sunlight. Enjoy a longer life in amaryllis buds by removing the yellow anthers as soon as the buds of amaryllis open up before spreading their pollen.
With proper care, you will be rewarded with gorgeous amaryllis blooms in a few short weeks.
Once it sprouts, a potted amaryllis should be kept moist but not soggy, as excessive moisture can hurt or rot its bulbs. Before watering, always check the soil. As its roots begin to grow in the pot will dry faster, so you should take care of more frequent watering. At this point, the stem will grow rapidly and flowers will develop after it has reached full growth.
To make a potted amaryllis bloom again after the flowers wither, bring the plant indoors in mid-September. Keep it in a cool, dark place and stop watering and fertilizing. The leaves will die, and that’s okay. Ignore the plant for awhile. Remove the leaves as they become brown, and keep the bulb at a temperature of 10-15 degrees. Around the end of January or beginning of February, you’ll start to see signs of life. After 8-10 weeks of being ignored, the amaryllis will have had enough rest and will be ready to begin growing again. The amaryllis can be moved back to its sunny window and given a good watering. The amaryllis bulb will soon begin to sprout. Once it sprouts, begin giving it half-strength fertilizer again and your potted amaryllis will soon produce another lovely display of its extraordinary tropical blossoms.
Amaryllis can be propagated by seed, offsets or cutting. Since seeds do not always produce plants similar to the mother plant, most named hybrids and selected strains are propagated by cutting. Seed of amaryllis develop rapidly and are mature within 4 to 5 weeks after the flower has been pollinated. Seeds should be picked as soon as they turn yellow and begin to open. Seeds should be removed from the pod, allowed to dry for a few days and planted immediately. The seed bed should be partially shaded, and be well drained. Following germination, increase the light until the plants are receiving full sunlight.
Thrip and spider mite infestations on amaryllis plants can be treated with the green solution or you can use a commercial insecticide approved for flowering plants.
Amaryllis plants develop blotchy leaves from various fungal and bacterial diseases. There is no good remedy for these plant infections, so isolate your plant to prevent the diseases from spreading to your other plants. Plant diseases occur when houseplants are kept too close to each other or the leaves of the plants stay wet. To prevent plant diseases provide good air circulation and keep the plant leaves dry.
If you’re looking for a winter-blooming houseplant to add a bright splash of tropical color to any place, amaryllis is an excellent choice. Amaryllis bulbs are often given as gifts for the holidays. With their large, spectacular flowers they are perfect for any house or office. Find at www.anthemionflowers.gr a wide collection of amaryllis gift arrangements and plants.