Amaryllis is one of the easiest flowering bulbs to nurture to full bloom. An ideal indoor plant it can be grown from bulb or displayed as cut flowers. The iconic tall stems and trumpet flowers in pinks, whites and yellows make them a popular choice, particularly at Christmas.
Amaryllis plants create stunning displays with only minimal effort, giving even the most seasoned gardener a run for their money. To ensure the best displays and the most beautiful flowers, plant your bulbs any time between October and the end of April. The bulbs are typically five to ten centimetres in diameter, the larger the bulb the more flowers will bloom. You can expect anywhere between two and twelve flower heads per bulb.
In autumn, the amaryllis bulbs will produce the leaves, spanning up to 50cm long and nearly 3cm broad, which will die off by late spring. Having lain dormant until late summer, the bulb will produce one or two leafless stems, up to 60cm tall, each containing up to twelve flower heads.
It is said that the amaryllis symbolises pride, determination and endless beauty. It tells the tale of Amaryllis, a greek maiden, hopelessly in love with a shepherd named Alteo and trying tirelessly to be loved in return.
In an effort to provide Alteo with something that had never existed before, Amaryllis sought the advice of the oracle of Delphi. Every night for thirty nights, Amaryllis appeared at Alteo's door, dressed in all white and pierced her heart with a golden arrow. On the final night, as Alteo stood in the open door he saw a beautiful red amaryllis flower, standing proud from the fallen blood.
If you have received amaryllis bulbs or have bought your own, place them in rich, nutritious soil up to the neck of the bulb, taking care not to damage the roots. The bulbs will need direct sunlight and heat to help the stems develop and regularly water, though be careful not to over-water the bulbs. As the buds and the leaves begin to appear, you can begin to use more water, helping the stem grow rapidly and allowing the flowers to develop even quicker.