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How to Grow and Care for Amaryllis

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Amaryllis bulbs have beautiful flowers.  Out of all the flowering bulbs you could plant in your garden, amaryllis flowers are one of the easier to take care of.

Amaryllis can be planted indoors or outdoors, and over an extended period of time. The large flowers that bloom from amaryllis makes this flower a popular and in demand flower to plant around the world. It produces beautiful, large, and colorful bell shaped flowers that get better with time.

Pink Amaryllis flower in bloom

While most people are treating their amaryllis bulbs as a “one-and-done” flowers, the truth is, the more it reflowers, the better, bigger, and more colorful flowers it can produce. The bulbs can also produce more flower stems, as well. The key is to successfully reflower them with proper care.

If you want to take care of your amaryllis bulbs all year round or you are planning to plant them, here are some steps for how you grow and care for these beautiful trumpet shaped flowers.

How to Grow and Care for Amaryllis

Amaryllis bulbs in basket

Where Can You Plant Amaryllis Bulbs?

Amaryllis does well as an indoor plant or outdoors: The choice is yours.

But for you to enjoy your amaryllis for the maximum length of time possible, you should place them in an indoor location with cool temperatures within the 60 degree range and with diffused lighting.

You also need to keep them barely moist. Once you water the bulbs, you need to be careful not to wet the portion of the bulbs that is above the ground.

How To Grow Amaryllis Outdoors?

Amaryllis bulbs can be planted directly into the soil in zones 8-10 and generally live outdoors all year long.

Choose a spot in your garden where the flowers can get full sun or at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight every day. The soil should also be well-draining to avoid allowing the roots to rot.

If you live in a frost-free area, plant so about 1/3 of the bulb is above the soil level. If you live in an area where frost may occur, the bulbs should be planted at least five to six inches below the soil and apply four to five inches of fine mulch, preferably made with organic materials.

After planting the flower bulbs, water the area thoroughly.

How To Grow Amaryllis Indoors?

Amaryllis growing

You can plant amaryllis bulbs indoors in containers.  You can also use pre-potted bulbs.

If you’d like to move the bulbs outdoors, you can acclimate them to the weather when it warms up and let them live outside in the spring and summer and then move them back indoors before the cold comes.

Pre-potted bulbs will need a thorough watering with lukewarm water for the bulbs to begin growing.

Select a pot that is at least six to seven inches in size, if you are planting individually, and ten to twelve inches, if you are planting a group of three bulbs. They prefer a narrow container to grow.

Prepare the soil by placing a well-draining potting soil mix in a plastic container. Add warm water slowly to the mix and stir it with your hand until the soil is moist, but not soggy.

Fill the pot about halfway full with the potting mix. Set the flower bulb on top of the mix then add in the additional mix with the remaining soil, until only the top 1/3 of the bulb is exposed.

Is Temperature Important for Amaryllis Care?

Yes, temperature is important when planting and caring for amaryllis.

The warmer the temperature is, the faster the bulb will sprout, grow, and bloom. The temperature should be between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit during its growth and blooming season.

To stimulate growth, you can provide bottom heat to the plants. You can set the pot on top of a refrigerator or you can place it on top of a heat mat.

When Is The Best Time To Plant These Flowers?

The best time to plant these flower buds is between late May to early June. In warmer areas you can plant in April after the threat of frost has passed.

How Often Do You Need To Water Amaryllis Plants?

When watering your flower bulbs, water only once the top inch of the potting mix is dry to the touch.

Watering your plants frequently, especially after potting and planting, can cause the bulbs and roots to rot.

If you apply mulch on top of the plants, lift the mulch then water directly into the potting mix.

How Long Is The Flowering Period?

The bulbs will start to flower in seven to ten weeks. However, in the winter months, the flowering time may take longer.

As soon as you see the bulbs starting to sprout, provide ample sunshine to the plant. If you are planting in pots or containers, place them near a south facing window or in a sunroom where they can get bright light. Rotate the pot frequently to avoid having the flowers leaning toward the light.

Do Amaryllis Need Support?

Different stages of growing amaryllis bulbs

Yes, as your amaryllis starts to grow, the stalks may require support to keep them from toppling. You can use an Amaryllis stake or a simple trellis system.

Does Amaryllis Need Fertilizer?

Proper bulb fertilization is the key to maintain a healthy plant.

You can start applying fertilizer to your plants once the foliage begins to show above the soil surface. Remember not to over-fertilize your flower bulbs as that can delay blooming.

There is no special fertilizer necessary in the care of these plants. You can use a slow-release or a liquid soluble fertilizer with a 10-10-10 ratio.

If you choose a slow-release fertilizer, you can apply it every three to four months. But if you use a liquid soluble fertilizer, you need to feed the plants two to four times a month. You can do it every week or bi-weekly.

Can I Apply Mulch To My Flower Bulbs?

Yes, you can apply mulch to your flower bulbs. Mulching is great for combating weeds. It also maintains the moisture in the soil.

Apply four to six inches of mulch to completely discourage weeds. The ideal mulches to use are organic ones like straw, leaves, grass clippings, wood chips, sawdust, compost, and even newspaper. These organic materials can improve the soil as they decompose.

How To Take Care Of Your Amaryllis After The Blooms Are Done

Amaryllis Care After Blooming

1. Snip off the flower stems about half an inch away from the bulb. Do not cut off the leaves. If the bulbs are too big, they will develop a second or third flower stalk. Once the flowers fade, you can snip them off the stalks and wait for another flower to bloom.

2. Place the plants in a sunny spot indoors, like a windowsill, to allow the leaves to gather light to photosynthesize, and to provide nourishment to the bulbs. This will allow the plants to make and store sugar, which is essential for them to bloom again.

3. Water the soil as needed. Keep them lightly moist, but not too soggy.

4. Move the plants outdoors too. You can move the pots outside during night time when the temperature is above 50 degrees. You can also leave the bulbs in the pots and set them in the middle of your garden to blend in with your other plants.

How To Cut The Stems For Bouquets

You will know that it is the best time to cut the flower stems once you see that the first bud has color and is starting to open. This means that the rest of the buds on the same stem can form sufficiently and will open fully.

To cut the stems, make a straight cut across the bottom of the stem. This will allow the stem to rest evenly inside the vase.

To keep the flowers fully open, add a flower preservative to the water and change the water regularly. This will also prevent the stems from rolling and will prolong the life of the bouquet.

How To Rebuild The Bulbs

After flowering, the amaryllis bulbs will be exhausted. If you want them to flower next year, you will need to rebuild the bulbs yourself.

Once the last bloom fades, cut off the flower stalks three to five inches above the bulb, but do not cut off the leaves. The leaves will produce the food for the bulb.

Place the plant in a sunny window, preferably south-facing.

If the top inch of the soil feels dry to the touch, water the bulb. Apply a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer once a month.

Continue to water and fertilize regularly as it will continue to grow smooth leaves and store energy for its next blooming season.

Are There Other Ways To Plant Amaryllis?

Other than planting in pots and containers, you can also plant the bulbs in stones and water.

To plant your bulb, you need to prepare the following:

Amaryllis bulb
River stones or pebbles
Vase or any glass container
Scissors
Water

1. Carefully place the river stones or pebbles to a depth of two to four inches in the vase.
2. Trim off the roots off the bulb that have already dried and browned.
3. Place the bulb, roots down, on top of the stones. Place more stones around the bulb, until the top third of the bulb is exposed.
4. Add water until it reaches one inch below the base of the bulb. Avoid allowing the water to reach the base of the bulb as it will rot.
5. Place the container near a sunny windowsill. The warmer the temperature is, the faster the plant will grow.
6. Always check the water level. Add water if needed.

Amaryllis makes a beautiful plant in an outdoor garden as well as indoors. This gorgeous plant that is native to South America and Peru can form double or single blooms that can range from 4 to 10 inches in size.

Have you grown these flowers before? Do you have any tips to share?

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How to Grow and Care for Amaryllis flower bulbs.

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6 Comments

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  1. Hello, is it possible to grow amarylis from seeds? Thank you very much. The article is interesting and has excellent information

    • Yes, you can definitely grow amaryllis from seed. As a warning that it does take a long time – about 3-5 years until flowering.

  2. When planting an already bloomed bulb into your garden, do you plant it with the leaves in tact? Is there anytime after that you would need to cut the leaves back?

    • I would plant it with the leaves intact. After the flowers are done blooming and you notice the stem starting to sag, then you can cut the leaves back.

  3. My amaryllis has several new bulbs coming from the sides. Do I leave them or can i separate them and pot them up? I haven’t seen any information on this.

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