by Ray Allen

WOW! Just look at the amaryllis for this winter's indoor bloom.  People love them for the holidays, and give them as holiday gifts. This fall on the site, we have over 30 choices, including indoor kits with hyacinths and paperwhites, too. But I'm always fascinated by the "new" ones--especially the doubles, that seem to arrive every year.  This year, the big favorite seems to be "Nymph", the fluffy pink number at top center.  For the singles, "Full House" is the most popular. It must be that clean, clear bi-color design.  But I like Neon Rose, since I've never seen an amaryllis anywhere near that florescent in color.  (Neon Rose is the top center, and Full House is lower right.)

Here's what I've learned from our importers. The Dutch have been hard at work for the last couple of years trying to come up with some new amaryllis hybrids to supplement the big "Red Lion", "Clown", "Minerva", "Vera", and several others that lead the market.  I'd say they've done it.  Click here to see them all.

Have you ever grown one?  If not, you have no idea how simple it is.  You simply plant the big fat bulb in a pot, and begin watering about now.  By Christmas (6-10 wks) it's in bloom.  And the blooms are huge--about 8 or 10" across. The blooming lasts for weeks and weeks, since today's bulbs almost all put up at least two stalks, and each stalk has at least four flowers.  Everybody loves them, and they're particularly great for kids. I'm sending a dozen to my grandson's elementary school.  If the kids water them each day, they'll not only see how a plant grows, but these beauties will be in bloom by the time Christmas holidays arrive, too.  And we'll have 12 classrooms full of junior gardeners.  Seriously, Amaryllis are like magic, for people of any age. Enjoy!

The big favorite in Dutch Amaryllis over the years, the one Grandma DID know, is "Red Lion," (right) still a big seller, and wonderful for the holidays.  Other sizzling reds are "Ferrari", "Carmen" and "Red Sensation."

For a knock-out holiday centerpiece, choose a red, a pink, and a white, or maybe one of the bicolored or picoteed ones, and put all of them in one pot (they like to be crowded, so the pot doesn't have to be big.) Since each bulb will have at least 2 stalks, and each stalk carries at least four blooms, do the math.  You'll have a huge blast of 24 collosal flowers for your holiday table.  Nothing else does what an Amaryllis does.

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