When I started working at Gardener's Supply in the 1990s, my Vermont backyard was pretty green—with grass. Today, there's just a tiny bit of the original lawn left. Most of the available space has given way to trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and stonework. Watch a slideshow of my garden in Burlington, VT.
In addition to my work at Gardener's Supply, I work in the gardening division at Church Hill Landscapes. In that role, I maintain dozens of gardens and learn a lot in the process. I believe that all gardening is good gardening.
Save a little money and pot up your own amaryllis bulb — it's easy.
START by finding the right pot. Most important: the pot must have a drainage hole. Second, it needs to accommodate the bulb. Choose one that's an inch or two wider than the diameter of the bulb. Check the depth, too. Ideally, you have room for an inch or two of soil below the bulb once it's been planted. Keep in mind that your amaryllis will be a bit top-heavy when it blooms, so a heavier pot is better.
Use fresh potting soil and moisten it before planting the bulb. This makes it easier to work with. If the soil goes in dry, it's hard to get the bulb situated. Do not use regular garden soil; it will not drain properly and your bulb might rot.
Position the bulb so the top third will remain above the soil surface. Leave an inch or so between the soil surface and the rim of the pot. This will make it easier to water the bulb thoroughly. Be sure to pack the soil around the bulb, giving the plant a good foundation for when it's in flower.
When will it bloom? It depends. In general, it takes five to eight weeks for amaryllis to bloom, but check the label on the variety you have — some bloom faster.
Place the pot in a relatively cool, bright location. Direct sunlight is not essential. Water sparingly until you see about 2″ of new growth. In some cases, the flower stalk appears first; sometimes it's the strappy leaves. Either way is fine. Once the plant is in active growth, water regularly and turn the pot periodically to encourage the stalk to grow straight. Buds will appear and blooms will begin to open within five to eight weeks. To prolong the blooms, keep the pot away from heat and direct sunlight. Sometimes the long flower stems benefit from a little extra support. An amaryllis support stake does the job nicely.
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