Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Amaryllis: The winter symbol of self love

Originally posted here.

As the days grow shorter and the nights longer, the warm days, vibrant colors, and sparkling skies that inspire nature-lovers fades into a dream of the hibernating mind.

Whether winter days are spent indoors at home or in the office, October is a lovely time to harness the energy of the fading season, and invest it into caring for bulbs like paperwhites and amaryllis that can be forced to bloom indoors during the darkest days of the year.  Challenge anyone to not smile or feel inspired when faced with a flush of giant and vibrant amaryllis blooms at their desk.

Garden Guides, an online resource for gardeners, writes that this stately flower symbolized success after a battle or struggle, and that the amaryllis' height symbolized intense pride in Victorian England.  They were often given as gifts of recognition in the arts. It has also been said to symbolize inner beauty--a beautiful message for anyone focusing on growing during the dark days of winter.

Garden Guides notes that in Greek mythology, Amaryllis is the story of the shy nymph who pierced her heart with an arrow to win the heart of the shepherd Alteo.  From the drops of blood that fell, a vibrant flower amaryllis sprung from the ground. Bennett said that amaryllis embodies her name, which is derived from the Greek word amarysso meaning "to sparkle."

Amaryllis bring vibrancy and life to any home, particularly in the process of caring for it and watching a nondescript bulb grow into a magnificent symbol of self-love and life—a lovely gift for anyone with a tendency to cabin fever or the winter blues.
The beauty of these bulbs is that they are fairly easy to grow, and within 5-10 weeks after planting (depending on growing conditions and variety), horticulturist Christian Curless of Colorblends, a third generation wholesale bulb merchant, says they produce multiple flowers on two to three towering stalks that can last for weeks during the dreariest days of winter.

"Recipients unfamiliar with amaryllis don’t have a clue what’s coming," Curless said. "The initiated are immediately thrilled. Prepare to be thanked all winter long."

To care for your amaryllis, Gardener's Supply Company recommends planting the bulb in a heavy six to eight inch pot, pointed side up, leaving approximately one-third of the bulb above the soil line.  Place it in a sunny location, and water it once. Thereafter water it only to keep the soil from drying out. Once a couple inches of new growth appears, water it regularly, turning the pot so the stalk grows straight.  Once it blooms, keep the plant out of direct sunlight to keep the flowers from fading.
To have amaryllis bloom year after year, Garden Supply Company suggests cutting the stalk down to one inch after the flowers fade. Water and feed regularly, allowing a few new leaves to grow.  As summer draws to a close, stop watering as frequently, allow the foliage to die back and then store the pot in a cool dark place until about five to ten weeks before you want the plant to flower, at which time, care for it as above.

Visit to learn more about connecting with and healing through the spirit of nature and plants.

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