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AMARYLLIS

Your amaryllis might arrive closed, but will open into large flowers. Start with a very clean vase. Hold each amaryllis next to your vase to gauge how much stem you'll need to trim. Using a sharp knife, cut stems at a 45-degree angle so they don't sit flat on the bottom of the vase. The stems need to stay full of water. After cutting, turn the flower upside down and pour water into the stem. Plug each stem with a cotton ball, or put your finger over the bottom, until it is in vase, then remove. Protective husks can be left on or gently removed. As new blooms open, carefully pinch off older, wilting blooms.

Amaryllis last longer in shallow water. Add the cut-flower food to the vase; use the extra pack with your first change of water. Amaryllis should be reconditioned every two to three days. This process includes recutting stems, changing the water, and adding nourishment. To nourish flowers after the flower food is used up, refill your vase every day with a solution of one teaspoon of sugar and two drops liquid bleach per gallon of fresh, cold water. Keep flowers in a cool area.