How to look after your Hippeastrum Amaryllis.
The Plant: Most people will be familiar with these as the huge bulbs are sold in late autumn and winter. The Amaryllis then grows at a prodigious rate forming a spear-shaped shoot which then produces a rather spectacular trumpet-shaped flower, or even several flowers. Flowers may be deep red, scarlet, pink, white or striped pink/red and white.
Its needs: A good, free-draining, potting mix is required, and warmth is required to promote growth, but the flowers will last longer in a cooler room. Normal humidity and good light even a little morning sun tolerated.
Care: Plant the bulb as soon as reasonably possible, burying the bottom half of the bulb in the potting compost and leaving the top half exposed. If the bulb looks particularly dried out soak it for a couple of hours in cool water prior to planting. A room temperature of around 21 C (70 F) is required to initiate growth.
Water moderately during growing period but do not feed until leaves start growing. Use a cane to support the flower stem as the flowers are quite heavy. Once flowering is finished, cut back flower stalks, and put the Hippeastrum in a frost-free place for the summer. Reduce watering in late summer to almost nil. In mid autumn resume watering to activate the bulb. Watch for scale pest and mealy bug.
Good for: The Amaryllis makes an excellent and popular Christmas gift as it is easily gift-wrapped. The plant then grows almost daily then producing wonderful cheerful trumpet-like flowers before producing foliage. Whilst the bulb can be kept for several years enjoyment many people see this as a one season plant to be disposed of after flowering. Good for winter colour and cheer.
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