“MY AMAZING AMARYLLIS" OR....
“HOW TO GROW AN AMARYLLIS, THE MARILYN KRUEGER WAY....
I have kept an amaryllis alive, thriving and blooming since 2002 and here’s how I do it.
First, a brief history of my amazing bulb. I received it as a Christmas gift in 2002, potted it up according to directions and it bloomed gloriously almost immediately. Following directions, after blooming I deadheaded the flowers, fertilized and watered until July and then took it to the basement where it sat in the dark without any attention at all. Sadly, my mother died that November (2003) and I forgot all about it as I struggled through my new reality of not having her to talk with every day, or plan and celebrate the holidays, or share the news of my family and my life. I will always miss her love and support! In January (2004), the first green shoot appeared; and I should have taken it upstairs to a sunny window and welcomed it back to life with water and fertilizer. But I didn’t. My poor amaryllis optimistically sent up a couple more shoots, then gave up and went back to sleep. Imagine my surprise when the next winter (2005), having been kept in the dark with no water for almost two years, I noticed a new green shoot! My amaryllis was ready to bloom, and so was I. I repotted the bulb in new potting soil in a new flowerpot, worthy of this amazing bulb, and followed the rest of the long-ignored directions. It bloomed even more beautifully than I remembered! As a reward, my amaryllis now spends its summer vacation outside under the crab apple tree. After its summer vacation, here’s what I do:
I treat my amaryllis like most of my house plants. I fertilize and water during the growing season, enjoy the flowers and cut off the blooms when they fade. As long as the leaves are green and healthy, I continue to water and fertilize. The better the leaves grow, the better the next blooms will be. When the leaves wilt, I remove them and reduce water and fertilizer- just like I do my other houseplants during their off-season, usually the winter months. But it stays in its special place in a sunny window. No more dark, dry basement! Eventually, the blooming season starts again. My method has worked for years and is a lot easier than the instructions that come with the bulb and I don’t have to worry about forgetting that I put it in the basement. There’s already too much that I have forgotten about down there! My amaryllis is a lovely member of my family of houseplants. I delight at how they play so nicely together, taking turns graciously in the spotlight.
Marilyn Krueger, President Garden Clubs of Illinois, Inc.
Photography by Marilyn Krueger