By Francesca Filanc, for Let's Talk Plants! July 2022.
"Amaryllis is a bulbous plant with white, pink, or red flowers and strap-shaped leaves, of the genus of the amaryllis family, Amaryllidaceae."
Symbolism of the Amaryllis (gardenguides.com) According to GardenGuides.com, "In Greek mythology, it is believed that the flower was a quiet and shy nymph that fell in love with a shepherd, named Alteo. Alteo had the physical beauty of Apollo and the power of Hercules, and he did not return Amaryllis' affection. Amaryllis tried to win the love of Alteo by offering him the most unusual flower on earth. She sought counsel from Delphi and showed up at Alteo's door for thirty nights dressed in white. Every night, Amaryllis would use a golden arrow to pierce her heart. When Alteo finally opened the door, he saw a vibrant red flower that arose from the blood that poured out of Amaryllis' heart. This tale gave the Amaryllis the meaning of determination, pride and dazzling beauty."
I bought several ‘Christmas Amaryllis’ as they are sometimes loosely called at Trader Joe’s market in December for gifts and I decided to keep one for myself. You might have bought one or more Amaryllis for yourself or for someone you love. I love the Greek Mythology of the Amaryllis. These bulbs at Trader Joe’s were wrapped in red and silver colored wax. What a beautiful display for Christmas or Hanukkah in one’s home or as a lovely hostess gift. One can also find them in the markets and nurseries in the springtime around Passover and Easter. The white and pink ones are used in the springtime.
The directions were to put the Amaryllis somewhere in the home where it gets indirect light. This Amaryllis bulb that I bought in December has felt like magic this year. I have been amazed that it has bloomed five times. Several times with two blossoms. At one point I thought how can it live this many months without water and give all these beautiful leaves and blooms?
So, I tried putting water where the stem meets the wax. And then I thought, "Fran, the water might rot the plant." There was no way to get the water down to the roots of the bulb.
So, I turned it over in the sink and tried to dry off the area. Luckily, the plant did not die. I found out that the bulb has enough liquid in it to allow it to put up more leaves, bloom spikes and bloom again. During these difficult and trying times this amazing, magical bulb has brought a smile to my lips and joy to my heart and proven to me repeatedly why amaryllis commonly means determination, beauty, and love.
July 4th is just around the corner and this magical amaryllis is going to bloom again for the sixth time!
Happy Fourth of July! and Happy Gardening!