Monday, April 4, 2016

In a Vase on Monday: Amaryllis As a Cut Flower

I recently posted a photo of my 'Ambiance' amaryllis (Hippeastrum) on Facebook and happened to mention the fact that amaryllis as a cut flower lasts longer than if it remains attached to its bulb. A few people were surprised to hear that.

There may be a couple of good reasons why this comes as a surprise to some. (It surprised me the first time I heard it, too.) For one thing, most people who buy amaryllis bulbs do so just prior to the holiday season, they follow the planting instructions on the box or tag, and then dispose of it all once it's done blooming. I think more people throw them away than keep the bulbs from year to year.
All my amaryllis bulbs spend the summer in two galvanized
fire ring raised beds, where they gather nutrients and energy
from the sun to form next year's flowers. I dig them back up
in late September.

There's really nothing wrong with throwing the bulb out, I guess, other than it seems a shame to do that when they can give you so many more years of enjoyment than just a few weeks at Christmastime . . . for one year.

The other thing is that you almost never see amaryllis sold as a cut flower, so it probably just doesn't occur to people to cut them and put them in a vase.

If you don't cut them, the blooms will normally last about a week. If you cut them, you can often get two weeks out of them, sometimes more.

Here's how to make your amaryllis blooms last longer:

  • Prepare your vase ahead of time by filling it with water. You can add a floral preserving powder to the water if you want, but I usually don't.

  • Take cotton balls and make smaller balls that will fit inside the cut flower stalk. 
  • Cut the flower stalk at the base, taking care to not cut any emerging foliage. It's best to cut them when the buds are just beginning to open. Immediately turn it upside down and fill the hollow stalk with water.

  • Take the cotton and wet it, then stuff it into the bottom of the flower stalk.

  • Place the flower stalk in the vase of water. Replace the water every 2-3 days, both inside the flower stalks and in the vase.

  • As with everything, your mileage may vary.



    Hippeastrum 'Ambiance'


    Jane Rutkowski said...

    This past year I went Amaryllis Crazy! I had 12 plants with flowers blooming from mid-December through early March. Some bulbs were from the previous year and I had bought a few new ones, too. Currently, a corner of my living room is filled with pots of just green-leaved amaryllis plants just waiting until it's warm enough to move them outdoors. I intend to plant them all in a contained garden area for the summer and then dig them up in August to let them begin their dormant phase.
    I never considered cutting them and placing them in a vase. And the fact that the flowers last longer is great! Love the neat trick with the cotton balls!

    Lisa Greenbow said...

    I accidently broke off a stem once and just stuck it in water. It lasted a long time too. I might try that cotton trick to see if it helps.

    Terra Hangen said...

    Your bouquet is gorgeous; I have two amaryllis in bloom on our kitchen table right now, and have never cut them to make a bouquet. I might try that, following your directions. I always keep my amaryllis for years, letting them go dormant in an out of the way room.

    Kylee Baumle said...

    Jane ~ It's so easy to go crazy on these things! They help get me through the gardenless days of winter and they're just plain beautiful. There are worse obsessions!

    Lisa ~ I'm not sure it helps and I'm not sure where I heard to do that. It's been too long ago. It makes sense to me in that you don't have air in the tube this way. I don't think so, anyway. LOL. I suppose after a while, the water will seek its own level once the cotton ball gets soaked. But it can't hurt, right?

    PlantPostings said...

    Fabulous! I'll have to try that someday. I didn't have any Amaryllis this year, but next time I do, I'll take your advice. :)

    Donna@Gardens Eye View said...

    I love using amaryllis as a cut flower and did so last year all was amazing how long they live in the vase. I used rubber bands around the base to keep the stalks from breaking down but had not heard about the cotton balls...will have to try that next year. Thanks Kylee!

    Sue Chanay said...


    I do save my bulbs to use the next year. However, this year after cutting them I now have these huge straps taking up room on my sunporch. Do you think it would be okay if I cut them off once again and replanted for the coming summer? I put them outside in very large pots when the weather permits.

    Sue Chanay

    Kylee Baumle said...

    Beth ~ What? No amaryllis? I'm sure you won't allow that to happen next year. ;-)

    Sue ~ It won't be to your bulb's advantage for you to cut the leaves off. After flowering, it gathers energy through its foliage for the next year's blooms. It's like other bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. You might get away with doing that a time or two, but eventually, it will take its toll and you may not get any blooms.

    Kylee Baumle said...

    Donna ~ Rubber bands! I can see how that could help, since over time, the ends tend to split and curl. Thanks for sharing that tip, Donna!

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