As the winter holidays approach, the list of possible gift-giving occasions is long. There are hostess gifts for holiday parties. Then there are gifts of seasonal cheer or thanks for friends, family, teachers and other personal and professional contacts. Ideally we would choose an individualized gift for each person on the list. But in the reality of today’s busy world, that’s not always practical.
Here’s one smart way to give each person on the list a thoughtful gift while staying sane and on budget: buy amaryllis bulbs for everyone – at wholesale prices.
Amaryllis are tropical bulb plants that produce outrageously flamboyant flowers. Their huge velvety blooms ride high atop tall tubular stems, creating splashy displays in a rainbow of colors. For all their beauty, they’re surprisingly easy to grow.
While individual amaryllis bulbs can cost from $13 to $22 per bulb depending on the retailer, buying quality bulbs in bulk from a bulb wholesaler can make purchases of six to 12 and more an affordable option.
One popular wholesale source that sells directly to home gardeners and professionals is Colorblends.com. The Connecticut-based flower bulb wholesaler offers amaryllis bulbs, sold in quantities of 3, 6 or 12 of the same type, at prices that drop as low as $8.33 per bulb for twelve. These are premium varieties in large sizes, 32-34 cm each. Colorblends’ minimum order is $60.
Part of the gift appeal of amaryllis is their built-in element of surprise, says Colorblends horticulturist Christian Curless. “Whether you’ve never seen one before or have grown them for years, it’s hard to believe that what looks like an enormous onion can produce such spectacular flowers.”
Amaryllis bulbs are typically potted up November through January for mid-winter bloom coming eight to 12 weeks after first watering. The bulbs are big and firm. Each is slightly larger, with more heft, than a softball. A large bulb sized 32-34 cm produces two stems, sometimes three, each topped by four or more colorful flowers. The huge velvety blooms are variously pastel, bright or bi-colored in hues of red, magenta, pink, fuchsia, white, salmon or orange -- even green. Some have rounded petals, others have petals that are pointed, spidery, reflexed or slightly cupped.
“People tell us they give amaryllis gifts to the same people, year after year, surprising their recipients each holiday with new colors in what becomes an anticipated tradition,” Curless says.
Few supplies are needed for planting: a bulb, potting soil and a flowerpot with a drainage hole and saucer. The pot can be just slightly larger than the bulb itself, as the bulb’s thick fleshy roots don’t require much growing room. For planting one good-sized bulb, choose a pot with a seven- or eight-inch diameter. To plant two or three bulbs together, choose a pot with a nine- to 11-inch diameter.
For top quality bulbs (32-34 cm), detailed online planting instructions, and wholesale pricing with a minimum order of $60, see colorblends.com or call 888-847-8637.