Let’s find a couple of things anyone can do indoors this week.
The indoor amaryllis bulbs are now in stock at garden centres, and you will see they are cheaper to buy as individual bulbs rather than in boxes complete with pot and compost.
If you look carefully at those in boxes, you will see they have different names and there are several different colours too. You might like one which is a light pink or perhaps a deep red.
If you are choosing one without a box, ensure the bulb is firm. There may be roots at the base, these will be white and brown but don’t pick one with wet slimy roots.
Choose an earthenware fancy pot with a hole in the base allowing the pot to be four inches wider than the bulb. Soak the pot in water for an hour and let it dry. If new clay pots are not soaked the clay quickly dehydrates the compost in the pot.
Choose John Innes compost number 2 or 3 (either will be suitable) and once a piece of crock has been put over the hole in the pot a little amount of compost is placed inside and the bulb lowered so that the roots can then be lightly packed round with compost.
The bulb is now watered and left in a light place and a flower stem will emerge in January or February. Once the flower fades, the seed heads are removed. If the seeds are kept and sown, they will take five years to flower so don’t bother if you are over 100 years old!
Feed the plant once a month with a liquid tomato fertiliser. Keep it in a place with plenty of light and this will help keep the leaves from growing too long.
Stop watering in August, and put the pot on its side to allow the bulb to dry off. The leaves will become brown and the moisture and nutrients will go down into the bulb. This process induces a new flower in the bulb.
By October, all the leaves should be brown. If not, cut them off, take the bulb out of the pot, wash and dry the pot and then replant the bulb.
Don’t water the bulb until you see the fat flower bud in the neck otherwise there will be leaves but no flowers!
Do you remember that anemones can be planted at any month of the year?
Plant five corms, the right way up – look to see where the stem scars are on top of the corms – in a four-and-a-half-inch pot, lightly covering the corm. Water and they will emerge in five weeks or less.
Once the pots are full of roots, plant them outdoors, but don’t disturb the roots and you will have wonderful anemone blooms in early summer.