If you want to have flowering amaryllis around the Christmas holiday, you generally want to plant them around the beginning of November. They take about 6-8 weeks to come to a bloom, and are rather easy to care for. The amaryllis flower comes in many beautiful varieties including shades of red, white, pink, salmon and orange. There are also many striped and multicolored varieties, usually combining shades of pink or red with white.

Before planting, take the amaryllis bulb and submerge the roots and base of the bulb in lukewarm water overnight. Next, plant the bulb in premixed potting compost. This is available at most greenhouses and floral shops. Being careful not to damage the roots, plant the bulb up to its neck. Make the bulb snug in its container by pressing down on the soil firmly.

It is important to place the potted bulb somewhere in the house that is warm and receives direct light. Until the stem appears water sparingly, then gradually water more as the bud and leaves appear. After this stage, the stem will grow fast and then flower.

If you were unable to get an early start on your amaryllis bulb, it will bloom in time to make a great Valentine’s Day accent in your home. But if you have your heart set on it exploding with color during Christmas and New Year’s, you can buy one in the budding phase.

After the amaryllis has stopped flowering, you can make it flower again by following these steps:
Cut the old flowers from the stem. When it starts to sag, cut the stem back to the top of the bulb.
Remove the bulb from the soil, clean it and make sure its exterior is not wet.

Place it in the crisper of your refrigerator for a minimum of 6 weeks. But very importantly, do not store the bulb in the refrigerator if it contains apples, because this will sterilize the bulbs!
After 6 weeks, you may remove bulbs from the fridge and replant them.

Although the amaryllis is known as a “Christmas flow- er,” it will actually grow indoors year-round.