• Katy Gardener

Christmas Amaryllis

Updated: Apr 20, 2020

Today I’m looking at amaryllis flowers. Read on for tips to successfully grow them indoors for a spectacular festive houseplant.

This unusual flower starts life as a gnarly, ugly bulb and then shoots out thick phallic stems with alien-shaped heads.

So far, so creepy.

And yet, from such an unpromising start, an amaryllis goes on to become one of the festive season’s most spectacular crowns. One by one, flowers open until there are up to three triumphant trumpets in majestic bloom.

Commonly know as an amaryllis, this flower we see at Christmas is officially named hippeastrum from the Greek hippeus (knight) and astron (star) due to its resemblance to a medieval weapon.

Amaryllis or hippeastrum flowers come in shades of red, white, purple and pink. Some are even stripey, but my preference is festive red.

How to grow amaryllis/ hippeastrum Bulbs

  • Hippeastrum bulbs are delicate and need to be planted indoors

  • When planting ensure that two thirds of the bulb sits above the soil

  • Plant in fertile rich and well-drained soil

  • Position in bright light

  • Be careful not to overwater at the start, or the bulb will rot.

  • Once leaves appear, start to water regularly but sparingly

  • Keep turning the pot to avoid the stem swerving towards the sun and stake if necessary

if you are really clever and patient, you can save your bulb store it in the dark and use it again the following year. For more tips look here.

If you can’t face growing them from bulb it’s possible to pick up pre-potted bulbs in your local garden centre. You just need to wait a week or two for the flower spectacle to begin and it lasts a good three weeks.

Alternatively, you can buy the flowers as cut stems, but beware, they can be pricey from £3 - £4 a stem.

My festive fireplace.

Here they are as ready cut stems, and they need very little to adorn them. In this arrangement I used some pussy willow branches to match the height, and eucalyptus for its menthol, Christmassy scent.

My Week

I had lots of fun decking the halls. Tree, fireplace, amaryllis arrangement and wreath! I created havoc for a couple of days with ivy and eucalyptus spread across the house, but it now smells and looks delicious.

I also got yelled off school grounds this week during pickup time. I took Gretel for a walk (and admittedly a snoop) around our local primary school, but it turns out dogs are not allowed on school property. I had to reverse out tail between my legs and pretend I had arrived there by pure happenstance. Luckily I don’t have to show my face there for a few years or poor Bertie would not have the best start to school life.

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