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Amaryllis Bulbs

True Amaryllis is the bulb commonly known as belladonna. These are the pink trumpets atop bare red-brown stems that one sees growing almost wild along old country roads.

Amaryllis They are extremely fragrant and seem to thrive in virtually any condition. They are drought resistant and require little care. Plant in spring with the top of the bulb at ground level.

Amaryllis They will bloom around August. Amaryllis sometimes need to be divided because of their rampant growth habit, but for the most part, they take care of themselves. They are an old fashioned favourite, but the bulbs have been harder to locate in recent years because when most people say they want to grow Amaryllis, what they are really looking for is Hippeastrum.

Hippeastrum, or Giant Amaryllis, are the big, showy blooms often grown as pot plants both indoors and out. This native of the tropics comes in wonderful hues of pink, salmon, red, cream, white and yellow with various stripings and markings. Flowers may come singly or in clusters, up to 9" across, atop thick stems. Strap-like foliage appears after the bloom has finished. When grown indoors, Hippeastrum flower in spring. In temperate climates, outdoor blooms arrive in summer.

Hippeastrum seem to perform best in pots. Plant the bulb with the top 1/2 above soil level. Soil should be kept dry to prevent root rot. To force the bulbs indoors between November - February, keep them in a warm dark place until rooted. When the stalk reaches 6", transfer the pot to warm, light shade. Being tropical, these flowers prefer slightly moist air. A little organic bulb food is welcome, too. Give water sparingly, and stop once the leaves turn from green to yellow. Let the plant dry out and then store the bulb for repotting in the fall. Hippeastrum is also a favourite in the greenhouse or conservatory and adds something special to any home or garden.

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