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Amaryllis
by Jerry Filipski
by Jerry Filipski

email: jfilipski@yahoo.com

Gerald (Jerry) Filipski is the gardening columnist for the Edmonton Journal, a position he has enjoyed as a freelance writer for the past 12 years. Jerry also writes for Canadian Gardening, the new Alberta Gardener as well as for the lifestyle magazine of P&O ferries. Jerry also does numerous public speaking engagements including some major gardening conferences and workshops as well as question and answer sessions for Wal-Mart and Rona.


November 11, 2007

Q.- I recently received an Amaryllis bulb as a gift and have no idea how to care for it. Can you please help?

A.- The base and roots of the bulb should be placed in lukewarm water for a few hours prior to planting. Remember, if you cannot plant the bulbs immediately after receiving them, store them at a cool temperature between 5-10 C.

Plant bulbs in a rich potting compost. Plant the bulb up to its neck in the potting compost, being careful not to damage the roots. Press the soil down firmly to set the bulb securely in place after planting.

Place the potted bulb in a warm place. The ideal temperature is 20-22 C. Water sparingly until the stem appears, then, as the bud and leaves appear, gradually water more. Do not place in direct sunlight. An even temperature, day and night, will give the fastest results.

At this stage, the stem will grow rapidly and flowers will develop after it has reached full growth. Bulbs will flower in 6-8 weeks as a general rule. Turn the pot regularly to keep stems from leaning toward the light source.

After the amaryllis has stopped flowering, it can be made to flower again. Cut the old flowers from the stem after flowering, and when the stem starts to sag, cut it back to the top of the bulb. Continue to water and fertilize as normal, doing this until the leaves begin to show some yellow.

At this point cut the leaves back to about 2 inches from the top of the bulb and remove the bulb from the soil. Clean the bulb and place it in a cool (5-10 C), dark place such as the crisper of your refrigerator for a minimum of 6 weeks.

Caution: Do not store amaryllis bulbs in a refrigerator that contains apples, this will sterilize the bulbs. Store the bulbs for a minimum of 6 weeks. After 6 weeks you may remove bulbs whenever you would like to plant them. Plant bulbs 8 weeks before you would like them to bloom.

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