Decorating with Amaryllis and Paperwhites
Everyone loves fresh flowers and that’s especially true during the winter months. Cold, grey days and more time indoors makes us really appreciate anything that’s green.
Decorating your home with winter-blooming bulbs such as amaryllis and paperwhites is such an easy way to surround yourself with fresh flowers all winter long. Their value extends well beyond the holiday season!
Amaryllis and paperwhites can be a lifeline for those of us who spend the winter months counting the days to spring. From December through March, these winter-blooming bulbs provide just the sort of gardening satisfaction we crave.
Decorating With Fresh and Fragrant Paperwhites
Paperwhite narcissus are relatives of the daffodil and just as easy to grow. Plant a handful of bulbs every few weeks and you will have fresh flowers coming into bloom from late fall right through early winter.
You can grow paperwhite bulbs in a shallow dish filled with stones and a little water. But planting them in 6″ nursery pots gives you many more decorating options. Fill the pots with about 3″ of moist growing mix and position the bulbs on top so they are almost touching. Cover the bulbs with more soil and water to settle them in. For hostess gifts, consider using smaller pots with just enough room for 3 bulbs.
Once the paperwhites begin to sprout, you can slip the pots into decorative containers (like the one shown above). If you wish, you can cover the soil surface with decorative moss or stones. To keep your paperwhites from getting leggy, give the bulbs lots of bright light as soon as they start to sprout. If they get leggy in spite of your best efforts, simply cut the stems and enjoy them as cut flowers. To learn more about planting and care, read: 6 Tips for Growing Paperwhites.
Decorating With Amaryllis All Winter Long
Today there are dozens of different amaryllis flowers styles and color choices. If you purchase an assortment of varieties in late fall, you can look forward to months of beautiful blooms — and lots of different looks.
As with paperwhites, planting amaryllis in nursery pots gives you a wealth of decorating options. The simplest solution is to nestle pot and all into a decorative container. But don’t be afraid to get more creative. Before the flowers open, you can repot the bulb into a larger container and add some ferns or ivy to keep it company. Another option is to rinse off the soil and display the flower in a vase — with the stem and bulb still attached.
Amaryllis are also long-lasting cut flowers, so don’t be afraid to cut the stems. Wait until the buds get plump and start to show color, then cut the stems to any length. Long stems are lovely on their own in a vase and can also be combined with seasonal greens.
The arrangement above was created by floral designer Alicia Schwede of FlirtyFleurs.com. Alicia grew these amaryllis at home and then used them as cut flowers in this lush, late winter arrangement. The varieties include Magic Green, Evergreen and Pink Nymph. To learn more about using amaryllis for cut flowers, read this blog post: How to Use Amaryllis as Cut Flowers.
You can keep your winter bulb display simple and elegant, or jazz it up with interesting containers, moss, stones, branches and other flowers and greenery. Decorating with amaryllis and paperwhites that you have grown yourself is immensely satisfying and a fun way to be creative while the garden is fast asleep.