It’s tempting to think of cutting a stem of amaryllis flowers away from the bulb, oh but do you dare? Amaryllis, with their radiant beauty, standout no matter how you display them, and they make spectacular, long-lasting cut flowers. A single stem can last 2 weeks or more in a vase, perhaps longer than if left growing on the bulb. They bestow gorgeous elegance to holiday décor, and are especially appealing as a table centerpiece around which family and friends gather.
There is a growing demand for these glamorous and captivating cut flowers at this time of year. Step into a floral shop and expect to pay from $7-$15 per cut stem of amaryllis. Seem expensive?
Amaryllis are easy to grow and the bulbs you purchase at your local garden centre are just waiting to bloom. Imagine five or six bulbs in pots growing at different stages on a window sill. Stagger indoor plantings two weeks apart and enjoy a supply of fresh cut flowers to last through the winter. One large bulb produces 2 to 3 stems, each with 4-5 magnificent trumpet shaped blooms. Explore all the different colours, shapes, and sizes of amaryllis. Grow several varieties all at once, and combine them for a grand bouquet.
Here are some of our favorite amaryllis varieties:
Amaryllis Nymph blooms shimmery white with pale to deep coral veins and striations. Its gorgeous double blooms unfold like a rose.
Amaryllis Evergreen is a novelty cybister amaryllis with pale yellow-green spidery flower petals and a deeper apple green starburst.
Amaryllis Red Pearl has deep, velvety crimson red flowers and an even darker throat. Pictures can’t capture the true beauty of this outstanding variety.
It’s good for the bulb to cut away the stem of flowers too. It allows the bulb to focus its energy into the next stem of blooms on the way. It’s also simple to bring amaryllis back into flower. Care for these bulbs following our after-the-bloom steps, and the bulb will become bigger with each season, producing more flower stems.
If you dare, cut the stems before the flowers unfold. When the bud opens, the soft young flowers will still be tightly closed, and this is the time to fetch a sharp knife from a drawer. In billowy folds, the flowers are less vulnerable, but handle them carefully as petals bruise and amaryllis stems are hollow. Cut the stem an inch or so above the neck of the bulb and place the flowers in a tall squeaky clean vase of room temperature water. Place the vase in a cool place and allow the flowers to rest overnight.
Later re-cut the stems to suit your arrangement and insert a thin bamboo cane or chopstick into the hollow stem. The cane will stop just below the neck of the flowers, supporting the weight of the magnificent blooms, doubling their vase life. A little bit of cotton pushed up into the stem will keep the cane from slipping out the bottom.
Shallow room temperature water with added floral food help the stem remain strong and extend the life of the blooms. Stems have a tendency to split and curl at the base in the water. Twist a rubber band around the base of the stem, or wrap it with a waterproof tape to prevent this from happening. Change the water and wash the vase every few days. Replenish with fresh water and floral food. If the base of the stem has split and curled, recut it to maximize the vase life.
A clear glass vase highlights the fresh green, long line of an amaryllis stem. An opaque vase brings our attention to the flowers. Long or short stemmed, no matter which vase you choose, place the amaryllis in first, and then add branches of birch, willow, evergreen boughs, herbs and berries. Add pinecones, nuts, river stones, silver or plaid ribbons, orchids and roses – all make great companions to amaryllis centerpieces. Over the coming days, enjoy the transformation that takes place as your amaryllis blooms unfurl.