One of the big three flowers of the holiday season is the amaryllis. Its trumpet-shaped bright red, pink, salmon, or white colored flowers brighten up any holiday table. And it can be forced to rebloom each year fairly easily.
The first step is to buy a bulb. You can buy amaryllis bulb kits with container and soil, but I like to buy bulbs individually to try different varieties. The rule to thumb is, the bigger the bulb, the more flowers you'll get. Large sized bulbs will produce 2 to 3 flower stalks with 4 to 5 flowers per stalk. That's quite a show!
While 1- to 2-foot tall, single colored flower varieties are common, there are some alternatives. The 'Nymph' varieties grow less than 12 inches tall with ruffly, double petaled flowers. The Spider amaryllis have single flowers with thin petals. The Yellow Star series produces unusual golden petaled blooms.
Once purchased, pot up the amaryllis in a container slightly larger than the bulb, filled with moistened potting soil. Place bulb so the top one third is above the soil line. Water and place in a warm, sunny room. Bulbs started in fall will bloom in about 1 to 2 months.
After flowering, cut back the flower stalks, and let the green strap-like leaves grow. In summer place it in a bright, outdoor area, out of direct sun, and water and fertilize regularly. In fall, stop watering, cut back the leaves and place the pot in a dry, cool, dark basement for 2 months to go dormant. Then, bring it out to a sunny room to flower again.