Amaryllis (actually Hippeastrum but isn’t that an ugly name?) is one of my favorite flowers to brighten the scene in winter. Unlike some people who plant up several for the holidays, I pot one bulb every week or ten days so that I can have beautiful flowers throughout as much of the winter as possible. Last year I had amaryllis blooming from December 22-April 10th. This winter’s first amaryllis, shown above, began blooming December 31st and just finished January 22nd. It had a total of 9!!! gorgeous, huge blooms. Unfortunately I have no clue what variety it is (an unlabeled gift) but it was a bright coral/red with a white star center. Definitely a keeper!
Over the years several of my original bulbs have produced offshoots that are now big enough to bloom, so I’m hoping to have flowers even a bit longer. This year, because our first real frost came so late, the plants weren’t brought indoors to rest until late October, which delayed the starting time a bit. The bulbs really do need at least 8 weeks in a dark place to completely dry out and rest. Then they are removed from the pot, soil removed, layers of any loose, papery skin taken off, roots checked and trimmed if any are brown and shriveled, and re-potted into new soil with a bit of bone meal mixed in. Usually they need a slightly larger pot than before. And if off-shoots are golf ball sized or larger, I break them off and store them. Next spring I’ll give each one their own little pot to grow all summer and it’s likely they will bloom next winter.
“Splash” only has two flowers right now, which is exactly what it had last year, but there’s another bud forming. It’s a bright red double with a white center. You can tell it is beginning to go, because the red is fading and isn’t nearly as deep red as it was. And yes, the nutcrackers are still out, providing a bit of colorful cheer.
Happily, the only new bulb ordered this year (from Brent & Becky’s) opened today. It must have known it’s my birthday! The glare from the snow makes it harder to tell, but it’s a gorgeous soft orange (my favorite color!) and the four flowers are huge. As you can see, there is another bulb stalk in the back that will provide another set of flowers. We do have a light layer of snow, although the sidewalk is practically clear. It’s minus 4 degrees F this morn here in north central Indiana, but the sunshine and blue skies sure make it looking inviting
I need to start another bulb today. I’m just picking pots at random but those that have been resting on the basement’s little wheeled plant stand are coming up first round because I’ll need that lighted stand when I begin potting dahlias next month. Maybe I’ll count them while I am down there, since I have no clue how many I carried in last fall. Amaryllis are SO EASY, and their long bloom time and even longer lifetime make them worth every penny of that initial investment.
Does it seem to you as though it has been January forever? Doesn’t New Year’s Eve seem long, long ago? It does to me, but February will arrive in only 5 days and then the REAL seed starting begins in earnest! Hurrah!