Connecticut Garden Journal: Black Thumbs Welcome | Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut Garden Journal: Black Thumbs Welcome

Nov 27, 2019

As December approaches, it’s time to think about gift giving. One of the flowers of the season is the amaryllis. This bulb is a beautiful holiday symbol adding color and brightness during these dark, short days.

Now, you might be worried about giving an amaryllis bulb to friends or relatives who are convinced they have a black thumb. Well, the amaryllis breeders have just made amaryllis growing literally foolproof. To almost guarantee a positive gardening experience this winter, try growing wax-coated amaryllis bulbs.

Dutch growers found that by trimming the amaryllis roots and coating the entire bulb with wax, they could force the amaryllis into bloom without soil, water or fertilizer. These new amaryllis bulbs also have a metal ring embedded in the wax so the bulb stands on its own without a container.

Imagine how easy and less messy growing the amaryllis will be. All your gardening newbie has to do is place the amaryllis in a brightly lit room. The bulb will naturally grow a flower stalk and bloom. You can even hang these bulbs off a ceiling upside down and watch them flower above your heads. It’s crazy!

Once the flowering is finished, simply peel off the wax and compost the bulb. Chances are it won’t grow to flower again. However, if this experience convinces your novice gardeners they like growing things, they can peel off the wax and pot up the bulb after flowering. Then grow it like a houseplant. At the very least they’ll have strap-like leaves to enjoy.