Hello! In years past I've often purchased an amaryllis bulb from a local nursery to enjoy as a Christmas time bloom. Well, I don't know what happened this past December, but I never received the nursery's usual email letting customers know the bulbs were in. I'm guessing they had them for sale but the email list got messed up. But without the reminder, I never stopped in to buy one.
However, I spotted a display of amaryllis bulb growing kits (bulb, soil disk and plastic pot, all boxed up)at a Chicago-area Trader Joe's December 18th. I knew, of course, that it wouldn't bloom in time for Christmas, but thought it'd still be nice to have "fresh flowers" during the winter.
I didn't even look to see what amaryllis varieties were available, I just grabbed one of the boxes from the display. I studied the box more closely when we returned home later that day, and learned I had purchased the bi-color variety called Minerva.
I've been burned in the past by dud amaryllis bulbs from chain stores, but took a chance on this one. It was about 1/3 the cost of the nursery's amaryllis bulbs, so I'd see if it was only 1/3 as nice.
The box indicated the amaryllis would bloom in 6-10 weeks. Naturally we were hoping for the earlier time range, especially when winter turned so cold and snowy this month, but the waiting period was longer. Exactly nine weeks after I potted the bulb up, it began to flower:
Above, two of the four flowers on the stalk have opened, and there's another flower stalk that will bloom later.
A close-up of one of the blooms. Isn't it pretty? So nice to have such color this time of year! Indeed, it was worth the wait.
So, is it as least 1/3 as nice as the much more expensive amaryllis bulbs from the local nursery? Yes, I'd definitely say so - this amaryllis bulb kit from Trader Joe's was a bargain!
Now, I do prefer to buy local, and I'll visit that local nursery as usual this spring to buy annuals and perennials. But if I happen to be at a Trader Joe's again when they're selling amaryllis bulb kits, I wouldn't hesitate to buy one.