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How to Plant Amaryllis Bulbs

Flowering amaryllis

Everyone loves amaryllis, and if you’ve grown them, you know how quickly and beautifully they bloom, almost like magic. Best of all, growing them takes no gardening experience, and that’s why they’re so popular in Gift Kits for the holidays.

Even if you’ve never planted a seed or grown a bulb, you can be an amaryllis expert in minutes. Simply plant your bulb and add water. It’s really that simple.

Choose a Pot

If your amaryllis bulb didn’t come in a kit with soil and pot, you’ll need to find a proper pot. Amaryllis bulbs are the size of a very large onion (or larger), but they like to be somewhat crowded in their pots. Choose a pot that allows about one inch all around and about two inches below your bulb. Be sure it has drainage holes so excess water can drain, and add saucer to catch the runoff.

Plant the Bulb

Place one to two inches of moist potting soil in the bottom of the pot. Set the bulb in the pot pointy end up, roots down. The “shoulders” of the bulb should stick up out of the soil (see illustration above) so adjust the amount of soil if necessary. Fill in around the bulb with potting soil, firming it gently. Water just enough to fully moisten and settle the soil.

Caring for Your Amaryllis

Place your planted amaryllis in a warm spot

Place the pot in a warm spot. It doesn’t have to be sunny — on the top of your refrigerator or near a heater is fine.

Water your amaryllis lightly

Water lightly to keep the soil slightly moist but not wet.

Place your amaryllis in a sunny window when the shoot appears

Once the new shoot emerges, place the pot in a sunny window.

Water regularly to keep the soil moist

Water your amaryllis as needed to keep the soil moist. Now that the pot’s in the sun and the plant is growing, you’ll need to water more often than you did before. Be sure to empty the saucer to remove excess water. Turn the pot regularly to make the stalk grow straight; otherwise, it will bend and grow towards the light.

Display your amaryllis with pride

Once the plant begins blooming, display it proudly!

Did you know you can keep your amaryllis all year and coax it back into bloom next holiday season? For more more information, read Foolproof Amaryllis, Indoors and Out.

Amaryllis Outdoors (Zones 9 – 11)

Since these bulbs are tropical (native to South America), they can be grown beautifully outdoors in very warm and frost-free zones. This means from southern Georgia down through Florida, south Texas, and much of the Pacific coast. Planting time in these areas is usually September or October, and if the bed is well-cared for, the bulbs will stay in the ground and flower for years.

How to Make Sure You’ll Have Blooms When You Want Them

We are frequently asked, “What can I do to ensure my amaryllis are in bloom for the holidays?” The answer: Most amaryllis will bloom 6 to 10 weeks after planting. If you want to ensure blooms at holiday time, here are a few things you can do:

Plant Multiple Varieties

The time between planting and bloom varies for different amaryllis varieties, so plant several varieties for a long season of bloom. While you’re waiting to plant, store your amaryllis bulbs in a cool (40-50F), dry, dark place. (Not the refrigerator; it’s too cold.) Don’t worry if the bulbs begin to sprout a little; just take care not to damage the emerging shoots.

Stagger Planting Times

Starting in mid to late October, plant one amaryllis bulb every week for three or four weeks. That way, bulbs will be in different stages of growth and one or more will be in bloom for the holidays.

Modify the Growing Environment

Although it’s best to grow amaryllis at room temperature, you can vary the growth rate by modifying the temperature slightly. Once the flower stalk is formed, you can slow its growth by placing the plant in a room that’s a bit cooler (55 to 60F) or speed its growth with warmer temperatures (75 to 80 F).

Prolong the Life of the Blooms

Once your amaryllis is in full bloom, you can keep it looking its best by keeping it at cool room temperature and out of direct sunlight. If it’s on display in a warm room, just put it in a cool (55 to 60F) place at night. And watch for additional flower shoots, which sometimes appear as the first flowers fade.

Tip: Blooming amaryllis make welcome gifts! Consider potting up some of our amaryllis kits so they’re at or near bloom in time for holiday gift-giving.

October 14, 2010 В· Suzanne DeJohn В· 3 Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  В· Posted in: Flower Bulbs, Gardening in the Winter, How-Tos

3 Responses

  1. Lisa Bischoff - October 16, 2010

    How do I take a bulb from last year that I had set out for the summer and make it bloom again this year? It still has stalks on it. Can I just cut them off and bring it in?

  2. Linda Laglenne - October 17, 2010

    I have just lifted my amaryllis bulbswhich were planted in the ground outside this summer. They have very long leaves and I potted each one in an individual pot according to your instructions. The soil is still wet from the ground. What do I do next.? They have never bloomed since I first received them as a gift at Christmas 3 years ago. Thanks for your help

  3. Suzanne DeJohn - October 18, 2010

    Amaryllis bulbs need a rest period before they’ll bloom again. So you’ll need to place the plant in a warm, dry place, stop watering and allow the soil, foliage and bulb to dry out completely. After about 6 weeks, once the leaves are dead and the bulb is dry, trim off the dry leaves and repot the bulb in fresh potting soil. (Don’t cut off the foliage until it’s completely dried out.) Then start the process over, as though it’s a bulb you just purchased, following the instructions above. You won’t get blooms in time for the holidays, but you should get flowers in early spring. Next year, start the rest period at the end of the summer, then repot in October for holiday blooms. Good luck!