Amaryllis or Hippeastrum are a terrific Winter and Spring (December-June) flower that are increasingly available in farmers and plant markets around the city. Grown from bulbs often imported from Holland, the flowers are large, stunning and impressive. With over 50 varieties globally, some species have adapted to local conditions and thrive in tropical gardens. But the most stunning specimens, in my opinion, are the large and varied colors of the hybrid bulbs brought in from the Netherlands. These bulbs look like humongous onions and are planted in rich potting mediums until the blooms are coaxed out in 6-8 weeks after planting.
Starting late last November I started noticing more and more amaryllis in the markets. I even ordered 30+ pots of red and white amaryllis for one of our Christmas dinners but when I went to pick them up the vendor didnâ€™t have them and explained his supplier â€œgot the timing wrong.â€ Pet peeveâ€¦ unreliable suppliers and their accomplices, dopey vendors who donâ€™t know how to use their cell phones to alert customers. Anyway, I got some before the holidays and used them cut in arrangements. Yesterday at the market there was an abundance of blooms and I purchased some at P90 a pot, a good deal I think. You can either put the pots into a cachepot and place inside your home for 7-10 days, you can cut the blooms and put in a flower vase or you can carefully wash off all the dirt and display the plant, flower, bulb, roots and all in a nice glass or crystal vase as I have done in the top photo. Had I had some twigs, raffia and time, I could have made a fancier version.
It always amazes me when people say itâ€™s too expensive to add some flowers to their home or itâ€™s such a pain in the neck. Yet when they see these blooms in a pot they cannot believe they cost less than P100, took 2 minutes to do and last up to 10 days if properly cared for. Thatâ€™s less than P10 a day or the cost of a one minute cell phone call! Since Easter is coming up, and these come in terrific pinks and whites, a great Easter centerpiece would be several pots of amaryllis with colored eggs around the basesâ€¦ I will post an entry on coloring Easter eggs soon.
To care for amaryllis in pots, water often but do not drench. For cut amaryllis, after cutting the stem, turn it upside down, fill the hollow stem with water (and flower food if you have it) then stuff a cotton ball(s) at the end before putting it in a vase of water. The water in the stem helps to keep the flower as hydrated as possible. Cut amaryllis pairs well with roses or look great massed (several stems) on their own. After they bloom, our gardener just plants them in the soil and frankly, I forget what happens to them. I do not have a green thumb and cannot grow much. But I read that the bulbs can actually be made to bloom again if you take some pain in the neck steps. 1. cut off dead blooms and let leaves grow some more. 2. By about August cut back the leaves, pull out of soil, wash and put in a plastic bag. 3. Store in the vegetable drawer of the fridge for 6-8 weeks. Do not put apples in the vicinity as the gasses they emit will kill the bulbs 4. Take the bulbs out and plant again. Keep your fingers crossed and hope they bloom. Good luck!