Thursday, January 28, 2010

Winter Days Brighten with Amaryllis flowers

Amaryllis flowers are big, bright, and bold. They're also easy to grow.
This is the time of year that if you live in a cold climate, you're longing for some color (besides brown and white).

Sure, you can bring home some new houseplants or buy some potted tulips at the supermarket. But if you want to make a bold splash, try an amaryllis. This tropical Americas native grows from a huge bulb (many are about the size of a mango) and has a stalk and flower to match.

Colors range from many shades of red, pink, and orange to white -- and combinations of those (red and white is a personal favorite).

The easiest way to get started with amaryllis is to buy an already potted, already growing bulb. You'll find them at home stores, garden centers, florists, nurseries, and the floral departments of grocery stores.

If possible, choose one that has big flower buds on it that have not yet opened. (If the flowers are already open, you won't get to enjoy them for as long as if you buy the plant with buds.)