How to force amaryllis bulbs for Christmas

Do it:

Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb

Takes just:

30 minutes

At its best:

Mar, Apr, May, Dec, Jan, Feb

The flamboyant blooms of amaryllis (Hippeastrum) are a stunning sight that's all the more welcome in the depths of winter and early spring. They're easy to grow, and take between six to eight weeks to flower. Planted in mid- to late September, they should be in flower for Christmas.

Like many bulbs, including lilies, all parts of amaryllis are poisonous to cats and dogs, so it's a good idea to grow them in areas they can't reach.

For a particularly spectacular show, try 'White Dazzler' (white), 'Red Lion' (red) and 'Apple Blossom' (pink).

You will need

Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) bulb

Pot

Container for soaking

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Soak the amaryllis bulbs for a few hours to help reydrate roots and speed up the growth process.

Fill a pot with compost and sit the bulb on top. Don't use a pot that's too big: amaryllis like being pot bound.

Top up with compost and water in. Leave in a warm, dark place for a couple of weeks and don't water further.

When a shoot emerges, bring inside to a warm, light spot and water regularly. Expect flowers in six to eight weeks.

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