Amaryllis Care Guide

 



The amaryllis is the lily's distant relative, obvious by their similar petals and anthers (the pollen-coated tips at the end of the stamens). This tropical flower does very well indoors, and if cared for properly, you'll enjoy blooms for up to two weeks. Amaryllis stems are actually hollow, so it's essential that they are filled with water at all times.



Even when you're changing the water or trimming the stems, turn the flowers upside down, fill them with water and plug the bottom of each stem with a cotton ball or your finger until they're returned to the vase. Because they're hollow, the stems tend to be brittle at the bottom, so be especially careful so they don't bend or break. You can prevent this by wrapping the ends of the stems in clear tape, like you would a nosegay. Keep the stems trimmed at a 45-degree angle for maximum water absorption, and dissolve a package of flower food. Cut the stems, feed the flowers and replenish the vase with fresh water every two or three days. As new blooms open, carefully pinch off older, wilting blooms.



Europeans first encountered amaryllis in the 1800s and, because the flowers stood out among other blooms due to their large size - some can grow to 6 inches in diameter - the Victorians immediately associated them with pride. Men of that era correlated amaryllis with self-confidant, beautiful and strong women. The Greeks referred to them as "amarullis," which means "sparkling" or "splendor." Amaryllis, also known as naked ladies and belladonna lilies, are extremely popular gifts for the holiday season, running a close second to the traditional poinsettia.