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Plan for amaryllis blooms all winter long

Plan for amaryllis blooms all winter long

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amaryllis

As its name implies, "Double King" amaryllis brightens up any room with double blossoms of burgundy-red and can have up to a dozen flowers.

Flowers from amaryllis bulbs can fill your home with flowers for the holidays and all winter long if you plant several different types, both from the southern and northern hemispheres.

Begin at the holiday season with amaryllis bulbs imported from Peru. As we enter autumn, it’s springtime in South America, and these bulbs are eager to start blooming. Pot them up now (early November) for flowers in December.

Amaryllis varieties grown in the southern hemisphere include deep red "Mandela," frosty white "Denver," coral-pink "Bolero" and two-tone "Charisma." Combine these impressive blossoms with greens, poinsettias, candles and other holiday décor, or give them as living gifts to friends, family and neighbors.

Most amaryllis bulbs that are grown in the U.S. are imported from Holland, and their natural bloom time is January through March. Exactly when the flowers will open is impossible to predict. The best strategy is to choose a number of different varieties and plant them three to four weeks apart during November, December and January. This way you will always have flowers coming into bloom.

Start your indoor flower display with an early bloomer such as "Evergreen," which is always quick to break out of dormancy. Its flowers have narrow, lime/chartreuse petals on 20-inch plants. Each bulb produces 2 stems with 4 to 6 blooms.

The extra-large, cherry-red flowers of "Minerva" have a white star in the middle and an apple green throat. They are eye-catching from afar and spectacular up close. "Apple Blossom" is a long-time favorite with snow-white petals brushed with pink and a lime green throat. Or grow a double amaryllis such as "Double King" with layers of burgundy-red petals and up to a dozen flowers.

Enjoy some of the more unusual amaryllis colors and flower styles by planting varieties such as "Naranja," with its tropical red-orange blossoms or "Sweet Nymph," a romantic double amaryllis with stunning, coral-pink petals. Add elegance to your indoor garden with "Picotee." Its eight-inch flowers are white with a thin red line around each petal.

As winter turns to early spring, celebrate with an explosion of indoor blooms from "Red Pearl," "Spartacus" and other proven performers. The velvety, burgundy-red flowers of "Red Pearl" have a deep maroon throat that sets off the glittering gold stamens. "Spartacus" turns heads with its crimson petals and bold white stripes.

Display your amaryllis on a mantle, kitchen counter or entryway table where you can watch the amazing show as the first sprout appears, followed by buds and the spectacular trumpet-shaped blooms. Amaryllis are also beautiful, long-lasting cut flowers.

For best selection, order your bulbs early and store them in a cool, dry, dark place until you are ready to plant. Once you pot up the bulbs and place them in a warm, bright location, flower buds should appear in about 6 to 10 weeks.

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