When grown indoors, Amaryllis can brighten up any room with their striking flowers that come in a variety of colors and are sweetly fragrant. The trumpet-like flowers are large on tall upright stems.
The plants originate from southern and central America and are actually bulbs. They are easy to grow as long as you have a bright windowsill to put them on. Although Amaryllis are normally spring flowering, if you plant them in October, you’ll have lovely flowers in time for Christmas.
Quickstart Guide To Growing Amaryllis
- Plant each bulb in a pot that is only slightly wider than the bulb
- The top third of the bulb should sit above the soil level
- Put the potted bulb on a bright windowsill
- Keep the soil moist once the bulb starts to shoot
- Turn the pot regularly to ensure that the flowering stem will grow straight
What Temperature Range Does Amaryllis Prefer?
Amaryllis are tropical plants, so they prefer a warm temperature. The ideal temperature range for these plants is between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 27 degrees Celsius).
One of the best places to put your plants is on a bright windowsill in the kitchen, where they’ll get plenty of indirect sunlight.
What Soil Is Best For Amaryllis?
All you need is a good quality potting mix that has some slow-release fertilizer added. Make sure that the mix you use is free-draining, as soil that is constantly wet will cause the bulb to rot.
When planting your bulb, make sure that you plant it pointy end up. Also, ensure that around one-third of the top of the bulb is above the level of the soil in the pot. Make sure that you press the soil down firmly around the bulb.
Light Requirements For Amaryllis
To ensure that your Amaryllis will flower well, you need to place the plant where it gets plenty of bright, indirect sunlight. Because the flower stalk will grow up in search of the most sunlight, it’s a good idea to turn the pot frequently. This will ensure that the stalk grows straight.
Once the Amaryllis starts to flower, make sure that you keep it out of direct sunlight. This will prolong the period of time that the flowers will bloom.
Pot Size For Amaryllis
The pot that you choose to plant your Amaryllis bulb into should only be slightly larger than the bulb itself. Try to choose a heavy pot, such as one made from terracotta. This is because the plant will become quite top-heavy when it starts to flower. A lighter pot may easily tip over from the extra weight.
If you’re going to be using a lighter pot, you can place some stones or pebbles in the bottom to give it a little extra weight. You can also use a larger pot and plant more than one bulb into the same pot. Just make sure that there’s a little room between the individual bulbs so that they can expand.
How Much Water Does Amaryllis Require?
After you plant your Amaryllis bulb, you should keep the soil fairly dry until you start to see about 2 inches (5 cm) of new green growth.
Once new growth has appeared, it’s important to water your plant regularly to keep the soil moist.
Should You Fertilize Amaryllis?
Amaryllis does best if it’s fertilized during its growth and flowering stage. The best way to do this is to apply some organic liquid fertilizer around once a month. What this does is allow the bulb to store up enough food reserves so that it can flower again the following year.
The bulb stores enough food to allow the plant to grow and flower one time. Then, the bulb needs to replenish those food stores so that it can supply enough food to the plant to grow and flower again the following year.
How Long Does It Take For Amaryllis To Bloom?
Most Amaryllis varieties should bloom around 6 to 8 weeks after new growth has started. However, this depends entirely on the variety. Some will bloom sooner, while others will take a little longer.
Amaryllis also make excellent cut flowers. In fact, the blooms should last in a vase for around two weeks.
Can You Grow Additional Plants From Amaryllis Seeds?
It is possible to grow Amaryllis from seed, but these resultant plants may not grow true-to-form of the parent plant. Plus, it could take around 2 to 5 years for these new plants to start producing flowers.
However, if this is something you might like to try, here’s what you should do:
- If your existing Amaryllis is growing indoors, you’ll need to pollinate the flowers by hand. If you have more than one variety, you can even try cross-pollination and see what you end up with. You could end up creating an entirely new cultivar or hybrid.
- To pollinate, take a small paintbrush and collect the pollen from the anther of one flower.
- Using the brush, gently transfer the pollen onto the stigma of either the same or another flower. The stigma is on the tip of the style that protrudes from the center of the flower.
- Repeat this process once a day for a number of days to ensure that pollination occurs.
- If your pollination has been successful, you’ll see a small green seed pod forming as the flower fades.
- Let this seed pod develop fully, turn brown and eventually break open to reveal the small black seeds within.
- Once you’ve removed the seeds from the pod, allow them to dry out for a few days.
- These seeds don’t store well, so you should sow them as soon as they are dry.
- Just use a good seed-raising mix to plant them into and water well.
- It should take around 3 to 5 weeks for the seeds to germinate. Make sure you keep them moist during this time.
- Once germinated, the tiny plants will look like fine blades of grass.
- Keep your seedlings fertilized by applying a liquid fertilizer at quarter-strength every two weeks.
- As the seedlings continue to grow slowly, the plant will start to produce a bulb, but this could take 2 to 3 years. During this time, the plants won’t go dormant.
- Once the plant goes into dormancy for the first time, you can expect to see a flower the following year.
You Can Also Propagate New Plants From Bulb Offsets
Bulb offsets are smaller bulbs that will start to grow alongside the parent plant. Of course, this may only happen if there is space in the pot for these to grow.
Once the plant has gone dormant, you can take the bulb out of the pot for storage during winter. If you see tiny bulbs attached to the main bulb, you can break these off and replant them when you repot the original bulb.
Be prepared, though, because these offsets make take around 2 to 5 years to bloom.
Is Amaryllis An Annual Or A Perennial?
Amaryllis is a perennial bulb. This means that the plant will come back again year after year. Here’s what to do to ensure that your plant flowers again:
- Once the flower has finished, cut the flower stem back to the bulb, leaving around 1 inch (2 cm) of the stem.
- Continue to water and fertilize the bulb while the leaves are still green.
- When the leaves go brown, cut them back and stop watering and fertilizing.
- Store the dormant bulb in a cool, dark spot for around 8 weeks.
- In spring, replant the bulb into fresh potting mix.
- Start watering the bulb again, but sparingly, as this will encourage it to start growing.
- Once you see new growth, increase the amount of water to ensure that the soil is kept moist but not too wet.
You Can Also Plant Your Bulbs Outdoors
If you’ve encouraged your bulb to bloom early so that you can have the lovely flowers available to add some Christmas cheer, you can also plant them outdoors once the frosts have passed.
This is an alternative to storing your bulbs to grow again the following year. Or worse still, tossing them out altogether.
If you live in a temperate zone, plant your bulbs in the garden in the spring after the last frost has gone. You can even leave the bulb in the pot and just bury the entire pot in the garden.
Make sure that you choose a spot that gets full sun, although a little afternoon shade is fine. If your plant still has some green leaves, continue to fertilize it until the leaves have died down. This will ensure that the bulb can store enough nutrients for next year’s flowering.
Common Problems With Amaryllis
Amaryllis are generally very easy to grow and don’t have too many problems. However, there are three plant diseases that you may come across.
1. Mosaic Virus
This virus causes the leaves of infected plants to exhibit light yellow streaking. The plant will also lose its vigor and may stop producing flowers. This viral disease cannot be treated effectively, so you’ll have to discard the plant.
2. Bulb or Root Rot
This mainly happens when the soil has been kept too wet. Once your bulbs are infected with rot, it’s best just to discard them.
3. Red Blotch
This is a fungal disease and can be identified by the reddish-brown spots that are visible on the bulb, leaves, and flower stem of the plant. Because this disease can spread quickly, it’s best to discard any affected plants.
4. Scale, Mites, Mealybugs, and Thrips
These small insects are common to most houseplants. They can be easily eliminated by wiping the leaves with a damp cloth that has been soaked in insecticidal soap, neem oil, or a mixture of dish soap and water.
5. Fungus Gnats
The larvae of this insect live in the soil and feed on the bulb. They can cause deformities in the foliage. Drench the soil with some neem oil to get rid of them.
Most of these diseases can be avoided by purchasing good quality bulbs, to begin with, and ensuring that you’re not overwatering your plants or letting them sit in water.
Some Common Cultivars You Might Like To Consider
There are many different Amaryllis cultivars and hybrids. Here’s a selection of the most popular ones.
This is a striking hybrid that has deep red blooms with touches of cream around the edges and washing further down onto the petals. The center is pale green. If you get a large bulb, it should produce around 2 stems, each with 4 to 5 blooms.
This Amaryllis has large blooms with petals that have ruffled edges. The blooms are bright red with white around the edges and streaking down to the center.
This variety has lovely blooms in delicate shades of pink and white with pale green throats.
Perfect for the holidays, this Amaryllis has dark red blooms with white stamens.
This variety features delicate blooms in shades of pink, salmon, and white. The blooms on this plant are more open and less tubular shaped.
This is another red variety with rounded petals and a white and pale green throat.
The blooms on this hybrid measure 7 inches in diameter. The petal colors are watermelon pink with white accents. The flowers also have a deeper green throat.
This variety features candy-striped petals in red and white. Although the flower are smaller than other varieties, each stem will produce around 5 or 6 flowers.
A white Amaryllis with large, showy flowers that are pure white with lime green throats.
The petals on this variety are narrower and curl outwards. They are white with deep green throats.