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Winter arrives with a vengeance, so pot up amaryllis

These giant bulbs from Longfield Gardens yield beautiful amaryllis. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

These giant bulbs from Longfield Gardens yield beautiful amaryllis. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

Over night, winter arrived in Indiana.

Despite my efforts and an assist from a nephew, not everything got planted before the deep freeze. Tulips, daffodils, alliums and about two dozen perennials await their fate.

What to do.

I heeled in some perennials and covered them with finely chopped leaves, appropriated from a neighbor. Other pots of perennials got moved to the unheated garage.

I left several inches of leaves in one bed where most of the 100 alliums will be planted, so I’m hoping the soil has not frozen there. I did get the 100 blue crocus planted in the lawn, so at least I don’t have to worry about that.

In a few other areas where leaves are still on the beds, I’m going to plant some of the tulips and daffodils. I can always move them after they bloom next year, but I know I probably won’t.

Some of these bulbs will also be planted in a couple of big, all-weather pots that held summer annuals. I will plant the tulips and daffodils about 6 inches deep. That way, I can arrange winter greenery in the pots without stabbing the bulbs.

If you plan a winter arrangement for your containers, move them to a garage to keep them from freezing until ready to do the job. Last year, winter came on fast, too, and I had to drag six pots home from my clients’ porches to thaw in my kitchen before I could pot them up with winter greenery.

(C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

(C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll plant up some amaryllis (Hippeastrum) from Longfield Gardens. The amaryllis will be potted in a soilless potting mix. Keep amaryllis bulbs moist, but not sopping wet. They can go a bit on the dry side. The long-blooming amaryllis flowers last even longer when cut and put in a vase.

Next, I’ll put the first of two batches of paper white Narcissus from an area garden center in a vase with an inch-deep bed of pebbles covered in water. Last year, once the paper white roots started to develop and growth emerged about 2 inches from the bulb, I replaced the water with a solution of one part alcohol, such as vodka or gin, and seven-parts water. The mix really worked to stunt the growth of paper whites, which can get too tall and fall over.

Keep the bulbs in a bright, cool place for the longest show. No need to fertilizer.

In cold zones, many gardeners force paperwhites to bloom for the holidays and early spring. Photo courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center

In cold zones, many gardeners force paperwhites to bloom for the holidays and early spring. Photo courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center

The blooms of these tender bulbs over the holidays and into the New Year warm the spirit on cold winter days.

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