Choosing Amaryllis Bulbs
Summer in the Midwest can be a lovely riot of color. By mid-winter, however, I miss the Missouri wildflowers and perennials that usually keep me company on my hillside. To brighten up my winter and for my early January birthday, I splurged on three Apple Blossom Amaryllis bulbs to add to my already existing collection. Yes, I have picked up a few of these fun bulbs in the past, most certainly to celebrate other birthdays.
The Amaryllis bulbs where on deep discount after the holidays, which is a great time to buy them. As I was picking my Amaryllis bulbs, a lady stopped by and asked for help picking one out as a gift for a friend.
Usually by this time of year Amaryllis bulbs have bloomed in their box or not quite started. Those that bloomed were exposed to some moisture, which triggered the blooming. They will need to be potted, allowed to grow leaves and then encouraged to rest a couple of months before they bloom again.
If you want an Amaryllis bulb that is going to bloom now, chase the buds. You want a bulb that has a thick flower bud popping out of the tip of the bud. Here they are as the bulb is growing:
Look closer at the bottom of the photo where growth is coming out of the Amaryllis bulb. In front, the little growth on the right are leaves. The next photo shows the difference between leaves growing and the Amaryllis bud flower starting:
This is how you usually see Amaryllis bulbs right out of the package. If you don’t see any Amaryllis flower buds or leaves, pick the largest Amaryllis bulb you can get. The larger the Amaryllis bulb, the more energy is stored and the higher the chance that the Amaryllis bulb will produce a flower.
Here is another Apple Blossom Amaryllis bulb in bloom with the start of another flower stalk coming out of the bulb. This Amaryllis bulb was already trying to bloom when I bought it on sale.
The Amaryllis flower bud quickly makes its way on top of a green stalk, growing to almost 2 feet before it blooms.
I usually have to stake mine along the way to prevent the weight of the flowers from knocking the plant over.
Amaryllis bulbs are native to South America. They can spend summer outside to build up energy in their buds before being moved inside for midwest winters.
One of the delightful surprises is to find Amaryllis bulbs blooming mid-winter. I don’t always see the buds as they are growing but it’s impossible to miss the lovely flowers!