Amazing Amaryllis: These easy-care flowers are ideal for brightening your garden

IN SPRING and summer that will not be hard to reach but today of year it’s a tall order. That’s where hippeastrums are available in.

Amaryllis is their other name and so they produce flowers of tremendous spectacle from fat and dormant bulbs with little or no trouble. The sole difficulty you could encounter is that if you’re too handy with the watering can… but let me begin in the beginning.

You may find the bulbs now – loose or in cardboard boxes – at your local nursery or garden centre. You will even discover them in hardware stores, sitting there fat and promising, just waiting to grow.

Choose the most important, fattest, hardest bulbs you could find – a gradual squeeze will assure you in their firmness but don’t start digging your nails in. Take them home and provides them each a 5in flowerpot of John Innes No.2 potting compost.

Plant so the highest half the bulb is visible above the compost, burying just the base couple of inches.

Moisten the compost before you pot up the bulbs and you’ll not have to apply water until the flower spike is obvious of the bulb. Give an excessive amount of water within the early stages and you’ll find the bulb tends to provide leaves in place of flowers.

Moist compost from the outset offers enough encouragement for the flower to push up out of the bulb, leaving the foliage behind. Because it extends, apply water cautiously; the compost should not be soggy.

Eventually the flower cluster will open on the top of the sturdy stalk – trumpet-shaped blooms of white, pink, scarlet or crimson, often striped in a contrasting shade. They’re wonderful plants for a windowsill and great for encouraging children on the subject of growing things.

As the flowers fade and the strap-shaped leaves start to unfurl, you can start to water more readily. Apply liquid tomato feed once every week from April to July or August when watering should cease and the bulb be allowed to dry out.

When the foliage has withered, cut it of just above the tip of the bulb and knock away the entire compost. A month or two in a warm, dry place akin to the displaying cupboard, can help initiate next year’s flowers, then the complete process can begin again whenever you pot up the bulb in late autumn or early winter. Neat eh?

Don’t miss Alan’s gardening column today and each day within the Daily Express. For more info on his range of gardening products, visit