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Amaryllis Bulbs For Valentine's Day

  No flowers say Christmas as much as the poinsettia, narcissus and the amaryllis. Everywhere look during the holidays is an array of showy arrangements from these beautiful plants. It seems that lately they come in nearly every color from traditional red to pink and even blue glitter! They make such a spectacular show during the holidays. But why end at Christmas with these beautiful flowers. Why not extend their use well into the winter.

  The Narcissus and Amaryllis are often sold in home improvement stores as un-bloomed bulbs. It seems like every one of these stores has dozens of left-over amaryllis bulbs after the holidays. You can usually purchase them at a great price. Providing they're still in good condition they are definitely worth buying for some cheery winter blooms.  With a little but of luck you can even have them flowering just in time for Valentine's Day.

  Planting Amaryllis bulbs is super easy. Usually when you purchase them they come with everything you need to get them planted and blooming. I had some bulbs that I save from last year so I'm going to use those. If you happened to purchase the bulbs by themselves here are the basic instructions to get them up and ready to start growing.

  First you're going to need a pot or container of some sort. It's important to chose the container according to the size and quantity of the bulbs being planted in it. Amaryllis bulbs like to be crowded. If you're just planting a single bulb the pot should be just slightly larger than the bulb itself.  It's also a good idea to choose a heavy pot. The Amaryllis gets a little top heavy when in bloom.

  It's also important that you leave the top of the bulb exposed. You generally want about 1/3 of the bulb above the soil line. I'm planting one of my bulbs without soil. I set it on top of a shallow layer of rocks and add just enough water to touch the bottom of the bulb. This encourages the root growth. If you are planting the bulbs in soil make sure you DON'T OVERWATER. You only want to water after the soil dries out slightly. This prevents the bulb from rotting in wet soil.

  After you have your bulbs planted you want to put them in an ideal spot to encourage quick blooming. Place them in a spot that is going to get the most hours of sun exposure possible. They do best in a warm spot between 70-80F. Every so often give the container a turn. This will prevent the long stem from leaning towards the light and keep it vertical. If the soil you are using does not have fertilizer in it already, you should apply an indoor plant fertilizer.

  In about 2 weeks you should see the bulb starting to sprout up. After about 6-8 weeks you will begin to get great big flowers atop your long stalks. At this point you can move your Amaryllis containers wherever you want. You're definitely going to want to show them off.

To care for your Amaryllis after they've bloomed follow this simple guide: