Amaryllis: Elegant Holiday Gift

Those in the know consider amaryllis bulbs unbeatable holiday gifts. The large unassuming bulbs produce huge tropical flowers with little effort — no green thumb needed. Each top-quality bulb produces multiple flowers that can bloom successively for weeks. Their color and vibrancy add cheer to even the grayest winter day. Amaryllis gifts can be as simple as a bare bulb wrapped in tissue paper or presented ready to grow in a pot with soil. A potted amaryllis requires only water and sunlight to go from brown blob to elegant beauty in just eight to 12 weeks.

It’s true that, as gifts, the bulbs themselves don’t look like much. That’s half the fun. Picture a huge organic onion. Recipients unfamiliar with amaryllis don’t have a clue what’s coming; the initiated are immediately thrilled. Prepare to be thanked all winter long. Watching amaryllis grow then bloom is a show that can captivate for months.

Potting soil and pots with drainage holes are readily found at home centers or garden centers. Once potted up, watered in and placed in a warm spot near a window, each top-sized bulb produces two, sometimes three, towering stems. And then, atop each stem, four to six impressive flowers open and bloom! While most amaryllis bulbs look pretty much the same, each type produces a different type of flower: some larger or smaller, bright or pastel, solid colored or wildly patterned, with petals round, pointed, recurved or slightly cupped.

Smart Tip for Holiday Gift Giving
For holiday gift giving, do what many gardening aficionados do — knock off half your gift list at once by buying a dozen or more amaryllis from a wholesale flower bulb firm like Potted up, those 12 bulbs will each make a thoughtful personal gift for a favorite friend, parent, sister, co-worker, teacher, bookkeeper, babysitter, mechanic, bartender, mail carrier and more. Connecticut-based (888-847-8637) offers desirable amaryllis varieties (sized 32-34 cm). Their minimum order is $60. For orders of 12 bulbs Colorblends’ wholesale price is about $10 to $11.00 per bulb depending on variety. Typically garden retailers offer amaryllis for $16 to $22 each.