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Connecticut Garden Journal: Waxed amaryllis bulbs are for gardeners with a black thumb

Beautifully decorated amaryllis bulbs have everything they need to grow. All you have to do is place them in a warm, bright room.
Julianne Varacchi
/
Connecticut Public
Beautifully decorated amaryllis bulbs have everything they need to grow. All you have to do is place them in a warm, bright room.

One of the brightest flowers of the holiday season is the amaryllis. This Southern Hemisphere native bulb comes in a variety of colors from pure white to the deepest burgundy, with single or double petals and in different sizes. Everyone loves amaryllis flowers, but some budding gardeners don't like the messiness of potting it up and remembering to water it.

Well, bulb breeders to the rescue. One of the newest innovations in amaryllis growing is the waxed bulb. Dutch breeders found that if they cut the bulb roots and coated the whole bulb with wax, it would preserve the bulb well. They also found that when placed in a warm, brightly lit room, the bulb would still grow and flower, even without soil and a pot. You can purchase bulbs with colorful, and even glittery, wax on them.

These waxed amaryllis bulbs have become very popular for those “black thumbs” in the family. Literally, all you have to do is place the bulb in a bright, warm room and it will start growing and eventually flower. The bulbs come with a metal pedestal embedded in the wax, so the plant doesn't fall over.

After flowering, simply compost the bulb, wax and all. It's a great way to introduce flowers to a novice grower and keep the house neat and tidy over the holidays.

If you want to try to save the bulb and grow it out, after flowering remove the wax and pot the bulb in a small container filled with moisten potting soil. It should grow some roots and maybe flower again for you next year.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.
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