They belong to a species of tropical and subtropical bulbs that grow surprisingly quickly. Although they only sprout a pair of stems, each stem blooms lavishly with anywhere between 2 to 12 huge, trumpet-like blossoms.
However, when you’re ready to start growing amaryllis, there are various things you’ll need to keep in mind. Most flowers need attentive care, and amaryllis care is no different.
Finding a sunny, warm, indoor spot for your amaryllis is just the first step. They’ll also need regular watering.
Learn the essentials in this ultimate amaryllis care guide.
Fun Facts About Amaryllis
Before delving into all critical aspects of amaryllis care, let’s first learn the fun facts of having amaryllis in your garden.
Over the years, these velvety beauties have transformed ordinary gardens into paradises, finding love and loyalty among many gardeners. Their huge flowers are pretty breathtaking and unmistakably their unique selling point.
The 4 -10-inch flowers are noticeable from a distance and pleasant to look at and cultivate.
Their delicate-looking petals also come in a myriad of warm and dazzling colors. They bloom in vibrant shades of crimson, white, salmon, apricot, burgundy, peach, rose, and even blue. In essence, they put on a pretty spectacular display.
For me, the most exciting thing about these funnel-shaped flowers is their ability to thrive in freezing weather. Imagine a flower that can brighten up your bleak winter months with its huge, colorful blooms.
Amaryllis will certainly change the aesthetics during chilly months by giving you an early spring with their lush, exuberant blooms.
No wonder they’ve become such popular holiday gifts, especially during Christmas. Of course, if you desire a plant that symbolizes love, resilience, and ethereal beauty, Amaryllis should be on your gift list.
How To Grow Amaryllis
Growing amaryllis isn’t that complicated, and neither is amaryllis care.
Following some simple steps gets you the garden blooms that you want. You have two choices–either grow them indoors or cultivate these magnificent blooms outdoors.
Most gardeners prefer their indoor amaryllis.
Here are the tips for growing amaryllis:
1. Acquire Amaryllis Bulbs
If you aren’t lucky to be gifted with amaryllis bulbs from a friend or neighbor, they are readily available for purchase. They are usually sold as amaryllis kits, so purchasing one is the first step.
Buy your amaryllis bulbs in a kit as they are easy to grow. The kits also have the shortest time in which these plants bloom.
2. The Right Container
When planting time starts, ensure that you don’t use container pots that are too large. Amaryllis tend to grow well in tight spaces. However, planting the amaryllis bulbs in huge pots decreases their growth cycle.
Experts suggest that the maximum space between the sides of the container and the amaryllis bulb should be at least an inch or two.
The same 1–2-inch space should be between the bulb and the bottom of the container. The tight containment of amaryllis bulbs improves their growth cycles.
Choosing the correct container makes a huge difference. There are several things you should check out. First, the right container must have drainage holes at the bottom for better water circulation and to improve aeration around these plants.
Besides, ensure that the container has sufficient weight to support the amaryllis when it starts to bloom. Weak containers can tip over once the plant blooms and become top-heavy.
You can use a cylindrical vase to grow indoor amaryllis. Having small pebbles at the bottom of the vase improves water circulation for these flowers and aids amaryllis care.
The first step is to soak the bulb with its roots in tepid water for about 2 hours. After soaking, you can then put it in the right container.
Ensure that you fill the container with peat-free and organic compost to the halfway mark. Then, while setting the bulb in the container, ensure that you surround it with compost.
A third of the amaryllis bulb should always stick out above the soil’s surface for better results. Planting your bulb too deep in the soil hinders its growth. As a result, you’ll experience stunted growth and possibly prolong the time until the flower blooms.
4. Find The Perfect Spot
Choose the right spot.
If you’re planting them indoors, ensure that you locate them strategically where they will receive sufficient and indirect sunlight. For example, south, east, or west-facing windows provide optimal positions for natural sunlight.
If you’re planting amaryllis indoors, ensure that you situate them in an area that does not receive direct sunlight.
5. Use Potting Mix
Whether you’re planting your amaryllis bulbs indoors or outdoors, use the right potting mix to support robust growth.
A potting mix has much-needed nutrients for healthy growth and adequate amaryllis care.
When Does It Bloom?
Every amaryllis plant owner wishes to see their plant blooming right on time for Thanksgiving or that Christmas dinner.
What is the expected flowering time for your amaryllis plants? The response depends on three considerations:
The type of amaryllis you choose to plant.
The location you select for cultivating–either indoors or outdoors.
The time you plant the bulbs
It’s essential to consider these issues before planting amaryllis bulbs.
To help you out, there are two main categories of amaryllis: holiday amaryllis and exotic amaryllis.
These bulbs are traditional Christmas holiday amaryllis, also known as the heated amaryllis.
They are characterized by big lush and rounded petals when they bloom. I particularly enjoy their over-the-top beautiful flowers because they are so visually appealing.
Generally, most holiday amaryllis plants are the fastest bloomers, and they start flowering about 35-60 days after you plant them–although the growing conditions also affect flowering times.
If you’re into holiday amaryllis, check out either the Minerva or Apple blossom amaryllis. They have the shortest blooming time making them a good choice when you want them to flower during the holiday.
Exotic amaryllis has the most gorgeous, butterfly-like flowers. This variety is an excellent choice if you’re not in a rush to see your amaryllis flowering. Native in South America, these plants tend to bloom 10 to 12 weeks after planting.
Once exotic amaryllis starts growing, they are relatively easy to care for and flower more than once.
Their magnificent, beautiful petals are definitely worth the long wait if you have patience. However, if you want your plants to flower by Thanksgiving, consider planting them around 11 weeks before this time.
Light Or Shade?
As mentioned earlier, finding the perfect spot for growing your amaryllis plants makes a whole lot of difference. So, light or shade – which is better?
Well, there’s no direct answer, but we can narrow it down to a few considerations.
Amaryllis plants do well in either light or shade, but their sweet spot is somewhere in between – not too light, not too shady.
Excess light causes leaf burns, while excess shade inhibits flowering. Finding the right conditions for amaryllis care is part of the experience of cultivating these gorgeous flowers.
How Much Water Do Amaryllis Need?
The puzzle that bothers many amaryllis owners is the amount of water they should give to these flowers. Any seasoned gardener knows the risk of overwatering or underwatering their plants.
This risk is especially critical when dealing with these tropical bulbs. The thing is, you should approach amaryllis care with a bit of finesse, as their water needs keep changing during their growth phases.
The first watering stage occurs after planting through to when the bulb starts sprouting. At this stage, you’ll want to water sparingly until the first set of leaves appear. Too much water at this point may cause the bulb to rot. Instead, water once every three days to keep the soil moist.
Regular watering is necessary after the leaves have grown as amaryllis love their soil to be moist.
So, a vital part of amaryllis care is maintaining regular watering at the base of the plant. It is important not to water the flowers directly to avoid drowning the plant. You do not want to leave the soil dry.
At the same time, avoid excess water collecting in the container. Instead, use irrigation systems designed for deep soil penetration, such as a sprinkler or drip system, to ensure the bulb receives adequate water.
These systems ensure that you reach the water target, the bulb, without the risk of waterlogging your plant.
The next stage of growth is known as the dormant or rest period. During this time, your amaryllis is getting ready to flower.
At this time, you should store the plant needs in a dark location and leave them there for about eight weeks. After that, start cutting back on watering gradually and stop entirely during the resting period.
For most amaryllis, the resting period starts in late summer. After eight weeks of dormancy, the plant is ready to flower by late October. Fetch the bulb and find a sunny, warm spot for it once more, and repeat the watering routine as suggested for optimum amaryllis care.
You should notice the shoots, foliage, and flowers by this stage and avoid dousing the plant with excess water. Instead, concentrate on moistening the soil, especially around the bulbous root.
No matter which species you choose to grow, all amaryllis have almost the same water needs. Start watering sparingly, then regularly, then sparingly before dormancy, and repeat the cycle of amaryllis care to ensure the best blooms year after year.
Will Amaryllis Die in Cold Weather?
A point that has been stressed throughout this reading is that amaryllis requires warm, sunny conditions to thrive.
After all, they are tropical plants. However, we have also mentioned that they bloom even in the winter. Quite paradoxical, isn’t it?
This leads to the next question in this amaryllis care guide.
The best answer to whether amaryllis will die in cold weather is “Yes” and “No.” If you’re planting your amaryllis outdoors, how well they handle the cold depends on the species and how cold it becomes in your region.
Most amaryllis species adapt to grow in tropical and subtropical climates and don’t do so well in the cold.
However, some species are considered cold-tolerant, withstand chilly conditions, and are recommended for spring planting. So the simple option, and maybe most preferable, is to go for a cold-resistant species, especially if you experience harsh winters.
None of this is cause for great concern, though. You can grow any species of your favorite amaryllis in winter without worrying if your plants will die off.
Simply grow your amaryllis indoors, where you can control the temperature and watch them blossom in winter. But you can do any gardening indoors in the contemporary age, so there is no need to worry about your amaryllis dying in the cold months.
Today, there are various ways to heat your home and ensure optimal temperatures for your plants. Houses are also naturally much warmer than the outdoors during the winter months.
All you’ll need is a sound heating system and a bright source of light. If the light at the windowpane is bright enough, then you’ve got your spot. However, ensure the leaves of your plants do not touch the windowpane, which can attract frost in the winter.
A good alternative would be to use artificial lights. Grow lights are specially designed for indoor plants as they mimic sun rays.
However, a quality fluorescent bulb will do just fine. Conveniently, you do not need an overly bright light for your winter blooms. Instead, you can enjoy your flowers from a location with diffused light at temperatures of about sixty degrees or so.
Amaryllis are lush flowers, and their Christmas blooms will give your home the warmth it needs. You can even gift a few flowers to anyone who will appreciate these plants.
Is Repotting Needed?
As mentioned earlier, amaryllis thrives well when you cultivate them in containers.
Pot-bound amaryllis typically sports bigger and better blooms than growing them in garden beds. However, amaryllis plants do require repotting. The best time to repot is between 3 to 4 years after the dormant period for the best amaryllis care.
Now that you have the necessary knowledge about amaryllis care, it’s the right time to take a chance on these beautiful flowers.
When you do your job right, you’ll experience multiple bloom cycles for your amaryllis plants.
Always ensure that you strictly follow a schedule for adequate watering and exposing the plants to sufficient light.
Enjoy a fantastic experience of colorful amaryllis blossoms in your home for every occasion. Remember the blooming times and grow varieties that will flower during Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Planting amaryllis is one of the most rewarding endeavors for your indoor garden. With the proper care, planting, and timing, you’ll certainly enjoy the magnificent display of these plants indoors or outdoors.
Tyler C Rich is the founder and chief editor at TopsyGardening.com. An experienced gardener and a professionally trained agriculture development expert, Rich has worked in the gardening and landscaping industry for more than a few decades. Although he has retired, his spark for developing the best urban and indoor gardens has not faded a bit. He uses TopsyGardening.com as a platform to come across enthusiastic gardeners and share the unique insights he has acquired through years of experience. Rich is interested in aquaponics and technology apart from conventional gardening techniques.