Winter blooms

It’s time to plant your paperwhites and amaryllises, if you haven’t yet. Fifteen minutes with some rocks (or soil, if you prefer), and you’ll have flowers in December, January, February, March.

You can find them at big hardware stores, like Home Depot, some big grocery stores, or via mail order. I usually get my paperwhites from White Flower Farm, because I like the Ziva a little better than the ones I find at a hardware store — they tend to give double-blooms on strong stems, and don’t get quite as leggy and floppy.

I succession plant my paperwhites, planting a few more (usually in odd-number clumps, three or five, for a more natural look) every two weeks, so I have blooms all spring. (They do have a strong scent, which I like, but not everyone does.) Paperwhites don’t generally re-bloom. I absolutely adore the tall green shoots and delicate white flowers; a note of freshness in the midst of a long winter. And they mix beautifully with traditional Christmas festive decor, especially when held upright with bright copper stakes.

 

I also do both South African amaryllis (which blooms in December-January), and Dutch amaryllis (which blooms in February-March). In theory, you can get them to re-bloom year after year if you plant them in soil and follow the right process; this is the first year I’ll be trying that. They usually will need staking too. Glorious on a holiday table; they also make a great gift.

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