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Make mine a double.

There’s something deliciously decadent about a double amaryllis in full, glorious bloom. It’s almost too much of a good thing, but completely irresistible. Potting up one of these beauties in a beautiful cache pot or unconventional vessel makes a perfect Christmas present or hostess gift.

Look for “Double Delicious,” with its narrow red double petals, each highlighted by a strip of white. This striking variety’s layered petals have a sheen at the heart of the flower. There’s also “Double Dream,” with reddish pink blooms with white highlights. Each bulb produces at least two stems with each stem producing four flowers. “Marilyn” is a different look for a white amaryllis, with exceptionally large white double flowers. Petals overlap and are washed with pale green that is darker at the heart and across the petal exteriors. All of these varieties are available from Color Blends.

Bulbs potted from November through early January will deliver blooms in eight to 12 weeks, depending on variety. Most varieties will produce two or more stems, and each stem can support four or more flowers. Stagger plantings for successive blooms. Doubles look particularly dramatic when planted solo.

Soak the bulb in tepid water overnight. Fill the pot with a good quality potting soil; plant bulbs cheek-to-jowl with shoulders and neck exposed. Water well. You may not have to water again until a shoot appears, but check pot regularly and keep the soil barely moist until that shoot pops up. Move the pot to a sunny spot, water regularly to keep soil moist and feed lightly. Stake the stems to keep the heavy stems from tipping over.

One of the neatest ways to grow amaryllis is on the rocks in water. Here are five easy steps to follow:

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1. Place polished river stones, pebbles or pretty glass gems in a vase or container. Or skip the stones and use just water. The mouth of the container should be wide enough to accommodate the bulb.

2. Soak the bulb in tepid water overnight, then trim away dried, brown roots, leaving healthy fleshy white roots in place.

3. Place bulb, root side down, on top of stones and fill in around it with more stones. Roughly 1/3 of the bulb’s shoulders and neck should be exposed – same as in soil in a pot.

4. Fill with water up to, but not touching, the bulb base. Otherwise, it will rot if left to sit in water. Check water level daily and refill as needed.

5. Place the display in a sunny location in a warm room (60 F or warmer). Expect a shoot to emerge in 2 to 8 weeks. The warmer the room, the faster the bulb will sprout. Also, rotate the container for even growth and to keep the stems more upright.

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Arts/Special Sections Editor

Special Sections Editor for the Courier

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