We can enjoy amaryllis both inside and outside here in East Texas. First, we grow the bulbs indoors in pots during the winter to provide colorful flowers in our homes during the dreary days of winter. Here’s what you do:
Choose a standard size flower pot so the large bulb has approximately 1 inch around its sides and at bottom. Use potting soil, or a mixture of soil, peat and perlite. (Do not use pine bark.) Plant the bulb so the top inch of the bulb sticks up out of the soil. Place the pot with your freshly planted bulb on top of the refrigerator, radiator or other spot that provides bottom heat to encourage quicker sprouting.
Water sparingly until the sprout is well out of the bulb. Once a sprout appears, water regularly to keep the soil moist, but do not overwater. Your amaryllis will grow quickly and produce its spectacular large flowers eight to 10 weeks from planting the bulb. Each bulb will produce one to two stalks with four to six flowers per stalk. Time planting so there will be blooms for Christmas.
Remember to keep turning the pot regularly to make the stalk grow straight, as they have a tendency to grow and bend toward the light. Once in flower, it’s best to keep the plant out of direct sunlight to keep the blooms from fading. Simply remove each flower as it begins to pale. You’ll have lovely flowers in your house for about a month.
When all flowers are gone, cut off the tubular flower stems near the top of the bulb, leaving the foliage to continue growing. Water as usual and apply water-soluble fertilizer every four weeks. In spring, after danger of frost subsides, plant the bulb in a sunny spot in your garden. It will not bloom again that spring but the following year it will reappear and bloom around mid-April. Alternatively, after danger of frost, sink the amaryllis pot in the garden in a sunny place for the summer. Continue to fertilize. At the end of the summer, place the pot on its side and allow the soil to dry out. Cut off the dry leaves, and in about six weeks repot your bulb in fresh potting soil and start the indoor growing cycle all over again.
This year we will have three varieties of amaryllis at our From Bulbs to Blooms sale, Oct. 12 at Harvey Convention Center in Tyler.
Apple Blossom is a big-blooming favorite. It always produces very large 8-inch blooms with a lovely pink blush on 20- to 24-inch stems. Each petal is streaked with “apple blossom pink” and has a center yellow heart.
Royal Velvet blooms in a deep burgundy-red with five to six in flowers on a 24-inch stem. The color of the blooms of this cultivar is exceptionally striking and will light up any room on a cold winter day.
Tres Chic blooms with a Christmas pattern of stars within stars. Each 3- 4-inch scarlet flower has a white throat with apple green and crimson accents. This cultivar is an extremely heavy bloomer, producing six to seven flowers per 14-inch stalk.
For more information about the Smith County Master Gardener conference and sale, visit our Facebook page or https://txmg.org/smith/coming-events. From Bulbs to Blooms conference and sale is free and open to the public.
The Smith County Master Gardener program is a volunteer organization in connection with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.