Your poinsettia may be "droopy" by this time of the holidays. Never fear — there might be an amaryllis waiting in the wings.
This flower, a native of South Africa, has a romantic heritage.
A love-struck maiden longed for the handsome, cold-hearted Alteo. Desperate to win his love, she pierced her heart with a golden arrow, then visited his cottage daily, shedding drops of blood along the path.
On the 30th day, beautiful scarlet flowers bloomed along her lovesick path. Alteo was enamored — Amaryllis' heart was healed. And now, this flower is one of winter's favorite blooms.
That is a story from the 1800s, when the amaryllis was called a "hippeastrum." Thank heavens for a contemporary name change.
Today, there are dozens of species from the offspring of this beautiful flower. I once staged a delightful Christmas luncheon for a dozen friends using several of the red amaryllis for the centerpiece on the dining table. The other entertaining areas featured the yellow and lilac amaryllis. This is a versatile and colorful flower.
Fortunately, this is one of winter's easiest flowers to grow.
Pick a pot — clay or ceramic is best. It should be one to two inches wider than the largest part of the bulb. Make sure it has drainage holes.
Add a saucer for protection. You can also add an outer pot that doesn't have a drainage hole. Because the amaryllis may have many blooms, this keeps the pot from toppling over.
What is so special about the amaryllis is it's so easy to grow and it re-blooms if you care for it properly. No green thumb needed, according to Google sources.
Google's experts note, "Put it in a pot, give it a little water and watch one of nature's miracles grow. No green thumb needed."
To make it re-bloom, cut off the spent flowers but leave the leaves — they will continue growing. Let the foliage die out. Place the bulb in a cool, dark, dry place. Let it rest there eight weeks or more. Then put it in a bright place with indirect light.
Voila! Last year's amaryllis is ready for a new season of holiday blooms. And if your amaryllis is drooping, it may be searching for light.
Gary Horton, owner of Muskogee's Lakeland Florist, says, "The amaryllis is a large bulb and we are only able to get them during the holidays. It's a perennial worth protecting."