Cold Weather Craft: Plant a 'Cup of Cocoa' and Cheer!


by Mary Leigh Howell

As the holidays near and colder weather blows in, outdoor activities tend to be curbed.  But there is a lot Mother Nature can teach us, even indoors. So turn your thoughts towards warm and cheery inside holiday projects and let the learning begin.

Planting flower bulbs may seem like an adult activity, but they're actually so simple to plant and grow that kids can receive great satisfaction from working with them. All they need from you is a little water and some sunshine.  The bulb does the rest of the work itself. And they make great holiday décor, as well as gifts for teachers, friends and family.

The large-flowering, dramatic amaryllis is one of the easiest bulbs to grow and it comes in an array of colors including white, pink, coral, red and even striped! You can find amaryllis bulbs in home stores, garden centers or you can purchase them online. Remember the bigger the bulb, the more blooms you will enjoy!  Make sure you plan ahead, as amaryllis take around 8-10 weeks to bloom.

  • 1 amaryllis bulb
  • Extra-large coffee mug (at least 6-inches wide)
  • Soil
  • 2 cotton balls
  • 1 small stick or piece of curled bark

  1. Fill the mug two-thirds full with soil.
  2. Place the amaryllis bulb on soil, pointed end facing up.
  3. Add more soil around bulb, leaving top third of bulb exposed.
  4. Cut cotton balls into small pieces resembling mini marshmallows and place on top of soil.
  5. Place stick beside bulb as if it were stirring the "cocoa".
  6. Water and place the mug in a sunny area.

Make sure to water it periodically to prevent from drying out. In about 4 weeks green stalks will begin to emerge. As it grows, you may want to stake it to keep it from leaning.  Once they bloom, they'll continue blooming for up to 2 months!

Educational Points:
  • Sunshine is the key!  As the stalks emerge and grow, they will always lean towards the sun.  It's a great example of how important light is to plant growth.
  • Big bulb, big bloom.  The size of an amaryllis bulb is related not only to the large size of the bloom it produces, but also to the number of blooms it will produce. Larger bulbs produce more blooms.
  • It packs its own lunch.   A flower bulb is actually a storehouse.  It's a compact container that holds not only a future flower, but also all the nutrients it needs for growth in its first season.

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