Tired of Poinsettias?
Out they come every Christmas with their red foliage, force fed under glass by the mega growers and nearly as ubiquitous as over-tired children.
This is a plant, indigenous to Mexico, that in the UK at least, is just as famous as Hugo Sanchez, Frida Kahlo and Carlos Santana rolled into one but lacks the eloquence of any of them.
Is there a good alternative?
Well yes, there is actually and it’s called AMARYLLIS
If you want to stay with the colour of Rudolph’s nose and it doesn’t have to keep flying into the New Year, why not go with the fabulous, flashy, lipstick-red Amaryllis? (Amaryllideae)
Legend has it that Amaryllis began as a shy, timid nymph. She then fell deeply in love with Alteo, a shepherd with Hercules’ strength and Apollo’s beauty, (can’t blame her for that) but the hapless darling’s affections were unrequited. Hoping that she could win him over by bestowing upon him the thing he desired most – a flower so unique it had never existed in the world before – Amaryllis sought advice from the oracle of Delphi.
Following instructions, Amaryllis dressed in maiden’s white and appeared at Alteo’s door for 30 nights, each time piercing her heart with a golden arrow. When at last Alteo opened his door, there before him was a striking crimson flower, sprung from the blood of Amaryllis’s heart. With this romantic – albeit tragic – tale as its beginning, it’s not surprising that today the amaryllis has come to symbolise pride, determination and radiant beauty.
What’s this got to do with Christmas?
Well, it’s the colour of Santa’s coat, it’s happy to flower at Christmas if container-grown and if you have an abundance of them you will be the talk of the town, even if you just have a few then you will be gladiolus you did. Here’s another trick Amaryllis have up their sleeves, they come in a variety of other colours
including snowy white.
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know.
Where amaryllis glisten and children listen
To the flowers as they gently grow.
(nearly Irving Berlin)
Amaryllis will bloom indoors about six to eight weeks after potting or make it easy on your self and have them delivered oven ready around the third week of December. They will normally stay in bloom for approximately three weeks.
Keep them in a warm and bright spot. Speed up bloom time by watering with warm water