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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Amaryllis thrives in warmer climates with mild winters. Follow these steps in the fall and be a season away from months of stunning blossoms.
Whether it's indoors or outdoors, the bulb takes between 4-12 weeks to wake and start growing.
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.
Follow these steps when the blooms start fading:
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.
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