Christmas Amaryllis

Although marketed in the winter months as Amaryllis, these plants with the spectacular clusters of trumpet-shaped blooms really belong to the genus Hippeastrum from South America. The bulbs have been forced to bloom at winter, but their natural bloom season is spring. Once the blossoms have been spent, cut the flowering stems off so that more energy will return to the bulb. Take outdoors in full sun and continue to water and fertilize until the strap-shaped leaves have yellowed and died back. Do not water during the late summer/early fall months. The bulbs can be re-planted in a pot with well-draining potting soil or planted directly in the ground. Make sure the bulbs’ upper 1/3 is above the soil and begin watering again in late fall or early winter. They should return to their natural bloom cycle in spring. Feed during the growing season with an organic fertilizer formulated for bulbs.