Plant of the Week: Amaryllis

Happy New Year Everyone!

amaryllis

Kicking off the blog this year is an homage to the lovely Amaryllis. No doubt you received one or gave one this Christmas to a colleague or acquaintance and, if you haven’t done so already, are planning to pot it today now the madness of New Years is over.

But when did Amaryllis become associated with Christmas? When did it become a gift to give to others?

The flower may not have been discovered until the 19th Century in Chile but the story of Amaryllis comes from the Greek myth of a maiden who wants to win the affections of Alteo. The legend goes that she used a golden arrow to pierce her heart and visited him daily, leaving behind a trail of blood-drops. Days later these drops of blood had turned into bright, red flowers which caused Alteo to fall in love with her.

The botanical name for Amaryllis is Hippeastrum and in Victorian times, they were a symbol of pride.

If you have received one of these red, white, pink or perhaps even purple beauties, the chances are the oversized bulb came with a pot and a bit of compost but did you know these bulbs can grow again? I didn’t and now I feel very guilty about all the bulbs I’ve thrown away over the years…

20181228_113044.jpg

Once your Amaryllis has finished flowering, cut the stems down and keep them in your garden or greenhouse over the summer (but not in direct sunlight). Around September, stop watering it so it will then become dormant. Move their pot to a darker spot and then around December bring them back into the house so they can start growing again. Definitely something I’m going to try this year.