December 22, 2010

Amaryllis – Perfect for decorating your home at Christmas time

Would you like to know about a flower that can last up to two weeks from bud to bloom?  Plus, it’s perfect for decorating your house at Christmas time, as it’s available in red and white – it’s the amaryllis.

You could arrange three, five or seven red amaryllis stems in a tall cylindrical vase with red ilex berries or contorted hazel.  Alternatively, white amaryllis with pussy willow or silver-sprayed birch twigs looks very festive.  All these arrangements would be a great way to brighten up a hallway, fireplace or kitchen table.

Below is an overview of the amaryllis: –

What is it commonly known as?
Amaryllis

How do you pronounce it?
AMA-rillis

What is the Latin name?
Hippeastrum

What do they look like?
The flower is trumpet-like in shape and there are usually three or four blooms on each stem.  They are available in a variety of colours: red, white, pink, peach and bi-colour.  It’s best to buy them in bud, as the petals are delicate and could get damaged on the way home. 

When can you buy them?
They are usually available from October to April.

Where can you buy them from?
Florists and garden centres. 

How do you look after them?
Cut the stems on a slant with a sharp knife and place them in a clean vase with fresh water.  The flower heads can be very top heavy, so it’s a good idea to support them by placing a bamboo cane or thin stick inside the hollow stem.  This will reduce the likelihood of the huge flowers bending and breaking the stem.

When the bud opens, remove the stamens and also take off individual blooms, when they are past their best.  If you are buying them for an occasion, make sure you allow a few days for the flowers to open.

Did you know?

Amaryllis bulbs are becoming increasingly popular as gifts at Christmas. You could plant up the bulb yourself in a pot with pussy willow twigs, arranged in a wigwam shape to support the flowers.

At weddings, amaryllis topiary arrangements are very popular.  The stems are tied below the flower heads and placed in a container.

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