Spotlight On: Amaryllis & Paperwhites
Scientific Name: Hippeastrum_hybrids
Sun: Sun, Part Sun
Bloom Time: Spring or Winter
Bloom Color: Pink, Red, White, Lime, Multi-color
Height: 1 to 3 feet
Amaryllis are a beautiful flower that blooms from enormous bulbs that are best when grown indoors during the winter months. Amaryllis are often grown for Christmas time, and seeing as they need six to eight week to bloom, they will need to be started in October.
Amaryllis come in a variety of colors, from white to lime to red and salmon. Some blooms are double while other are single; some have ruffles and others are straight-edged. They range in height and how many blooms come out of the bulb. The general rule of thumb is the bigger the bulb, the bigger the flower, and often the more flowers that you will get.
Amaryllis grow off of large, thick stems, and most bulbs will have multiple stems and buds. Once they sprout, amaryllis are a great project for kids. They can measure and track the progress of the plant each day as it grows rapidly.
Once blooming, the flowers tend to stick around for up to six weeks. They last longer if they are in a cooler room versus a warm, sunny area. To plant your bulb, make sure you have a pot that is slightly larger than the bulb itself. You will want to keep the top half of the bulb exposed, out of the soil, while the rest of it is buried. Keep the soil evenly moist, and keep the bulb in a warmer area until it sprouts.
Scientific Name: Narcissus
Sun: Sun, Part Sun
Bloom Time: Winter or Spring
Bloom Color: White
Height: 1 to 2 feet
Paperwhites are another great bulb to grow indoors during the winter months. They are in the narcissus family, looking like small, all-white daffodils. They have a strong scent and are very easy to force grow, not even needing soil. The bulbs grow quickly, blooming about three weeks after they are planted.
Just like amaryllis, plant the bulbs with the tops of the bulbs above the soil. While you can plant multiple bulbs in a pot, it is important to plant them tightly together, filling the entire pot so that the bulbs support one another.
You can plant them in soil or grow them in water, using decorative stones or pebbles to hold them in place. If you choose to grow them in water, be sure the bulb itself is not touching the water, as it will rot. If it is sitting just above the water, the roots will grow down into the water, giving it all the moisture it needs.
Just like amaryllis, paperwhites will last longer if they are in a cooler area. If you need them to grow quickly, then you can place them in a warm, sunny area. These too also make great gifts or projects for kids, as they grow a noticeable amount each day.