amaryllis Anne of Green Gardens

The festive blossoms of amaryllis (Hippeastrum spp.) make a great addition to any holiday décor. Flower color can be red, white, peach, pink or combinations of these colors. The flowers are 8-10 inches wide on stems over a foot tall, and blooms may last for several weeks!

How to Care for a Blooming Amaryllis Plant

  • Place the pot in a brightly lit space away from direct sunlight. Keep soil slightly moist, but don’t get the bulb wet.
  • After flowering, keep the bulb and “force”it to bloom again indoors, or, if you live in USDA zones 8 or higher, you can plant it outside in fall or spring.For other countries, consult your local cooperative extension.

How to “Force” your Bulb to Bloom Again

Unlike most bulbs which are forced, amaryllis can bloom again the following year, and every year after that if you want. I read recently about a gardener who had a 40 year old amaryllis bulb that was still blooming! The cool thing about amaryllis is that it doesn’t need to be “chilled” to get it to bloom again. Here’s what to do:

  • Once the bulb is done flowering, allow the stalks to die back, and then cut them off near the bulb.
  • Fertilize with a general all-purpose liquid houseplant fertilizer on a regular basis (follow the directions on the bottle).
  • Once the plant develops several leaves, stop watering it and allow the leaves to die. Remove the dead leaves.
  • Keep the bulb (which is now dormant) in a dark, cool, dry place at 40-50 degrees F for at least two months.
  • Follow directions below to plant.

How to Plant an Amaryllis Bulb Indoors

  • Choose a heavy container (to support the bulb/s) with drainage holes that is slightly larger than your bulb, or use a larger container and plant several bulbs together at least one inch apart.
  • Plant the bulbs with the pointed end “up” and fill around with potting mix. Leave 1” of the bulb uncovered so the slender part of the bulb shows.
  • For 2 weeks after planting, keep the potting mix slightly moist. Keep in a place where plant gets indirect light and 50 degrees F. (This helps strengthen stems to support the flowers). Turn the container occasionally to help stems grow straight.
  • When stems appear, move the container to where temperatures are warmer (68-78 degrees F.)
  • Water your amaryllis container when the mix begins to dry out. To water, set the pot in the sink and slowly fill it with water and let it drain several times.
  • Check on the plant daily, especially if you use a heater or have a fireplace. You don’t need to fertilize the bulb at this time. Your plant will grow and bloom after about a month, but may take longer depending upon the variety. Keep the soil moist but not wet.

How to Plant an Amaryllis Bulb Outdoors

In warm climates you can enjoy these bulbs outside. Plant September through April in full sun in an area with good drainage, planting the bulbs in clumps several inches apart for a dazzling effect. Plant bulbs up to their “shoulders” with the pointed end facing “up,” leaving the bulb showing at least 1 inch above the surface of the soil. Water well. Remove dead stalks after the bulbs bloom, and then mulch with several inches of leaves in fall to protect the bulbs from frost. The bulbs should begin growing again in spring and flower again!

Are Amaryllis Toxic?

The bulb of the amaryllis is toxic and should not be ingested. Keep bulbs away from dogs who may want to chew on them, as well as away from children.

Other Holiday Plants

I’ve also written blog posts about Poinsettia Care as well one as Christmas Cactus.

Wait, I was looking for information about Naked Ladies!

If you were looking for information about the “Naked Lady” amaryllis, I’ve written a blog post about that, too.