Gift ideas: Amaryllis bulbs

Trying to figure out what would be a nice, simple gift for a gardening friend or family member? Nothing could be easier, or more appreciated, than a potted Amaryllis bulb.

I've been seeing them in sales ads lately for just $5, which I think is a bargain. I've also seen the other end of the spectrum ($99 for 3 bulbs) at White Flower Farm. While that's a lot of money, they have such cool varieties and a good reputation for high-quality plants, you might want to take a look at what they have to offer.

No matter where you find your bulbs, Amaryllis are super easy to grow. They usually come planted in a pot and all you have to do is add water and place it in a location where it will get plenty of light. The room temperature should be 60 degrees or above. The plant will take about 2 weeks to start growing.

If you just bought bulbs, you will want to plant them either separately in pots about 6" deep or three bulbs in a pot that is about 10" in diameter. Use good-quality potting soil and place the bulbs so two-thirds will be covered with the potting soil.

Only water the pot when the top inch of the soil is dry. No plant likes to have its roots standing in water as this will essentially "drown" the roots and kill the plant.

The most exciting part about growing Amaryllis is, of course, the huge blooms that will absolutely knock your socks off! The flowers come in red, pink, stripes, orange, white, pink, peach, and some interesting green and red varieties.

Happy holidays!