by OCMGA Master Gardener Rich Fischer
I honestly don’t know much about amaryllis and I only have one plant, but it is an interesting plant with an interesting story.
This plant I got from my mother-in-law in, Gertrude Lenore Armbruster Taipale, when she moved from her apartment in Superior, Wisconsin, into an assisted living home about 8 years ago. Gramma Gertie as I lovingly called her died two years ago but I think of her often.
When I got this plant I didn’t quite know what to do with it so I planted it in the vegetable garden where it grew for the summer and it seemed to like it there. Then Gertie told me to put it in a small pot with some potting soil and store it in the basement for the winter. The next spring I brought it up from the basement and found a nice place by a window in the house for it.
This year I brought this plant up from the basement two weeks before Memorial Day and watered it. The plant had one little sprig poking out of the pot at that time. Then when I had a house full of Fischers over for a cookout on Memorial Day it was in full bloom. What dumb luck! Not only did it make a nice table setting, but also made me think of Pat’s mom on the very day when we’re supposed to remember the dead.
The amaryllis shoots up 1 or 2 very tall scapes with a large red flower on each scape. They are beautiful, but only last about a week. When the flowers start to shrivel I cut off the scapes. Then about 4 to 6 large iris like leaves shoot up and grow all summer. I no longer put the plant in the garden, but leave it in the smallish pot and water it just like all the other house plants. Around October the leaves start to whither and I put the pot on a shelf in the basement until next spring.
That is my one and only amaryllis story. Never read a word about amaryllis care except what Gertie told me. She’s gone now but her memory and her beautiful amaryllis live on.