Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is upon us (wasn’t it just Christmas?). A recent survey from the National Retail Federation projects that Americans will spend about $18.2 billion on their valentines this year, and about $2 billion of that will be on flowers! Rather than paying a fortune for a bouquet of red roses that will wither away in days, how about buying your sweetheart a plant that will bring them joy for years to come?
Amaryllis are a highly prized flowering bulb that do very well in Florida, and you can oftentimes find them in pots around Valentine’s Day. They are low maintenance, tough little plants that come in a variety of beautiful colors from vibrant red, pink and white to striped or multi-colored. They can be kept in a pot or enjoyed in the garden where they’ll provide striking blooms from early spring into early summer. They do best in lightly shaded, well-drained areas and the bulbs do not need to be divided. Your valentine can plant their Amaryllis anytime of the year, but it’s best to plant them in the winter months.
Now, to really impress (or perhaps shock) your valentine, you can also consider a beautiful tree. Red maples are just starting to bloom now and provide a lovely splash of color in a brown winter landscape as their delicate red flowers burst out. Interesting little red-winged fruit can then be seen hanging from the branches in clusters which are fun to see spin to the ground in a light breeze. The color continues when the leaves turn shades of orange to crimson red in the fall. Red maples are fast growing and can grow to be about 60 feet tall and 30 feet wide depending on the variety so provide ample space where it’s planted.