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Archive for December, 2012

Feature for December

Our feature for this month is the beautiful Amaryllis, a genus of southern African bulbs.  This spectacular bloom is generally sold during the Holiday season in our area for a Winter bloom.  I’ve included some photos taken when the 2010 Monroe County Master Gardener class visited Hidden Lake Gardens.

Many gardeners feel that this “exotic” looking plant must be difficult to grow. On the contrary, you often find them growing right from the boxed container on a clearance rack in a department store.  There is a wide variety of colors available, including white, peach, pink, magenta, cream and of course the reds.   Some hybrids also have stripes, veining, darkened edges, white and light yellow centers.   In addition, the hybrids often produce flowers in a fuller circle rather than a “side facing” habit like the “old-fashioned” pink.   You can often water and fertilize the hybrids year round.   These beauties will also tolerate dry summer condition as well.  The bulbs that are often sold during the Holidays are in the genus Hippeastrum.   

It is best to place the base and roots of the bulb into warm water for a few hours before planting.   Then plant the bulb in a potting compost mix up to its neck.  Be care so you don’t damage the roots.  Firmly press the soil around the bulb and place in a warm area with plenty of light.  It likes temperature from 68-70 degrees, since heat helps the stem to develop.  Water sparingly until the stem appears and then gradually increase the watering.   Plan ahead, because it will take seven to ten weeks for the flower to appear.  Then sit back and enjoy its beauty.

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