The amaryllis, with its trumpet-shaped blossoms and deep vibrant colors, is considered to be a floral symbol of the winter holidays. Luckily, the amaryllis only looks like a hothouse diva. Thanks to its easy growing nature, the amaryllis is easy to take care of.

They can bloom indoors during the winter and outdoors during the spring and summer, so you can plant them in your house and your garden for months of fresh, cheerful blossoms.

The Greek Legend About Amaryllis

According to Greek mythology, Amaryllis was a young woman madly in love with the handsome but cold Alteo. Hoping to catch his eye and heart, Amaryllis used a golden arrow to pierce her heart, shedding drops of blood as she walked to his home. She repeated this for thirty days. On the 30th day, scarlet flowers appeared where her blood dripped. This demonstration of love won over the heart of her beloved, who named those flowers after her.

Golden Arrow knorre / Getty Images


The Flower With Two Genera

Amaryllis was classified as the genus Amaryllis until the 1800s when botanist William Herbert decided the Amaryllis plant belonged to the genus of a similar-looking flower. He reclassified the Amaryllis as the genus Hippeastrum.

While the Amaryllis and Hippeastrum do look alike, there are some differences. The Amaryllis has solid stems, no leaves during flowering time, and it produces 6 -12 flowers per stem. The Hippeastrum has hollow stems, produces leaves after flowering, and it blooms 3 – 6 flowers per stem.

19th century botanist working clu / Getty Images


Fun Facts About Amaryllis

  • The U.S. imports more than 10 million amaryllis bulbs annually.
  • Most amaryllis bulbs come from Holland and South Africa.
  • There are more than 600 varieties of Amaryllis.
  • Amaryllis is called a "naked lady," as it grows flowers before it produces leaves.
  • When cared for properly, an amaryllis plant can live for 75 years.

Amaryllis bulbs packaged for sale GAPS / Getty Images


Amaryllis Is Easy To Grow and Easy On The Eyes

Amaryllis is the flower to choose if you're looking for easy and impressive. Their trumpet-shaped blossoms grow as large as 8 inches across, and they come in a wide variety of colors: deep velvety reds, pinks, corals and peaches in hues both soft and bold, creamy whites, and even muted pale greens.

In pots, they can grow in any climate. In the ground, they survive best in warmer climates.

Beautiful red white hippeastrum, amaryllis flowers in the garden


How to Plant Amaryllis Indoors

An Amaryllis bulb can be planted in a small container or in groups of several bulbs in a larger pot. Be sure the containers used have drainage holes on the bottom to allow excess water to drain.

Let's get planting:

  • For a single bulb, choose a pot 7-8 inches deep and 5-6 inches across.
  • Fill the pot with four or five inches of soil.
  • Place the bulb on top of the soil.
  • Gently add more soil around the bulb.
  • Keep the top third of the bulb exposed above the soil.
  • Water well after planting.
  • For groups of bulbs, use a larger pot.

Hands filling pot with soil agrobacter / Getty Images


How to Plant Amaryllis Outdoors

Amaryllis thrives in warmer climates with mild winters. Follow these steps in the fall and be a season away from months of stunning blossoms.

  • Plant the bulbs in the fall.
  • Choose an area with well-draining soil that gets partial shade.
  • Before planting the bulbs, mix peat or compost into the soil.
  • Plant the bulbs, leaving the top third of the bulb above the soil.
  • Space plants 12-15 inches apart.
  • Water thoroughly.

Shovel in dirt DonNichols / Getty Images


How To Care For the Growing Bulb

Whether it's indoors or outdoors, the bulb takes between 4-12 weeks to wake and start growing.

  • If indoors, keep the plant in a sunny spot.
  • Water sparingly, as the soil should be slightly moist and not wet.
  • If indoors, turn the pot occasionally to keep the stem growing straight.

Amaryllis green shoots photohampster / Getty Images


How to Care For Flowering Amaryllis

If the amaryllis is indoors, move the pot out of direct sunlight when the flowers begin to open. To help the blooms stay fresh longer, keep the pot in a cool spot. If outdoors, keep the flower's soil moist, not wet.

To put the flowers in a vase, wait until the buds are plump and about to open before cutting. Amaryllis last as long in a vase as they do when attached to the bulb.

Red amaryllis in clear vase blue_rain / Getty Images


When the Blooms Fade

Follow these steps when the blooms start fading:

  • Cut the stalk to the top of the bulb.
  • Water regularly, but be careful. Bulbs are prone to rotting at the roots if kept too wet.
  • Feed the plant with a blooming fertilizer every 7 to 14 days.
  • If indoors, place its container in a spot that gets plenty of indirect sunlight.

Wilting amaryllis Richard Griffin / Getty Images


Say It With Amaryllis

The amaryllis symbolizes beauty, courage, and love. In the time of Queen Victoria, the amaryllis was considered the symbol of confidence in women and was a popular addition to floral arrangements.

When sending flowers to a loved one, forget the roses and consider the true symbol of love--amaryllis.

white amaryllis in burlap pot iko636 / Getty Images


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