Find answers to your burning amaryllis questions
In This Article
Find answers to commonly asked questions about how to plant and maintain amaryllis, as well as how to get them to rebloom.
Are amaryllis easy to grow?
Yes, for all their spectacular beauty, amaryllis are one of the easiest plants to grow. Pot up the bulb, give it a little water, and watch one of nature's miracles! No green thumb needed!
Is amaryllis a perennial or annual?
They are perennial in their native tropical and subtropical regions. In cold climates the bulbs are brought indoors and coaxed into winter bloom.
Is an amaryllis the same as a hippeastrum?
The plant we commonly call amaryllis goes more properly by the genus name Hippeastrum. There are dozens of species and hundreds, if not thousands, of named varieties. Most people still call these winter-flower bulbs amaryllis.
How many years will an amaryllis bulb bloom?
With proper care, an amaryllis bulb will grow and bloom for decades. One grower claims his bulb has bloomed every year for 75 years!
How often does an amaryllis bloom?
The plant generally blooms once a year. There may be several flower stalks that bloom in succession, so the show may last for many weeks.
Does the size of an amaryllis bulb matter?
The larger the bulb (for any given variety), the bigger and better the flower display. Some varieties have naturally larger bulbs than others so compare specific varieties. For example, an inexpensive convenience store bulb will produce much smaller and fewer blooms than a large, premium bulb of the same variety.
Can I start amaryllis from seed?
Yes, you can, but the result many not closely resemble the parent due to the plant's complex history of hybridization. And the plant will take about six years to grow large enough to flower. That said, if you're patient (and lucky) you might get a sensational bloom that would be coveted by growers!
What kind of soil do amaryllis like?
Lightweight, well-drained potting mix. The main ingredient should be peat or coir. Be sure the pot has a drainage hole so excess water can drain.
What kind of pot should I use?
Choose a pot that's 1" to 2" wider than the diameter of the widest part of the bulb. It should have drainage holes and a saucer to protect surfaces. Or, plant the bulb in a plastic nursery pot, and then place the pot in a decorative outer pot (called a cachepot) that doesn't have drainage holes. A heavy pot (or cachepot) will minimize the chance of toppling.
How do I plant the bulb?
Moisten the planting mix so it's slightly damp. Place an inch or two of potting mix in the pot and place the bulb on top of it, roots side down, pointy end up. You want to end up with about 1/3 of the bulb exposed above the soil line, so add or remove potting mix underneath the bulb, if necessary. Place more mix around the bulb, firming it as you go, until it's within an inch of the pot rim.
How much sun does an amaryllis need?
Place the newly planted bulb in a cool spot with bright light. As the leaves and shoots emerge, the plant can go in front of a sunny window. Once the flowers open, place the plant out of direct sun to prolong bloom and prevent flower color from fading.
How often should you water an amaryllis plant?
Until the bulb has sprouted leaves and/or flower shoots, keep the planting mix just slightly moist. When the plant is actively growing leaves and flowers, water when the top inch of soil is dry. Apply enough water to moisten the whole root ball, and allow excess to drain off. Drain excess water from the saucer or cachepot every time you water.
Should I stake my amaryllis?
Large-flowered amaryllis can get top-heavy and topple, so using a amaryllis stake is helpful. Placing them in a heavyweight pot (such as clay or ceramic) helps stabilize the plant, too.
Should I fertilizer my amaryllis?
There's no need for fertilizer as the bulb is growing. The bulb contains all the nutrients the plant needs to produce the current season's leaves and flower stalks.
What should I do with the amaryllis after it blooms?
It depends. You can simply toss it in a compost bin, or take the simple but somewhat exacting steps to get it to rebloom the following winter.
Should I cut the leaves off my amaryllis?
If you want to save your amaryllis for reblooming, cut off the spent flower stalks but allow the leaves to continue growing all summer.
How do I get my amaryllis to bloom again?
Once the blooming is over, treat the plant as you would any tropical houseplant, watering as needed and fertilizing monthly.
Can I plant my amaryllis outdoors?
Once all danger of frost is past, you can move the pot outdoors. Amaryllis are tropical and can't survive cold weather. You can even take it out of its pot and plant it in the garden — wherever it will get bright sun and you'll be able to water and fertilize it. The healthier the leaves, the better able they'll be to replenish the nutrients in the bulb — and the bigger the flowers next winter.
When should I put amaryllis in the dark?
In mid-August, begin withholding water and let the foliage die back naturally as the pot dries out completely. Then place the bulb in a cool, dark and dry place where it's safe from insects and rodents.
How long does my amaryllis bulb need to be dormant?
At least eight weeks. Longer is fine.
When do I take my amaryllis out of storage so it will grow again?
Six to eight weeks before you want new blooms, repot the bulb in fresh potting soil and place it in bright, indirect light. Treat the bulb as described under How to Care for Amaryllis, above.
What if I don't let my amaryllis go dormant?
Sometime the plant will bloom again, and sometimes it won't. It's best to allow it to rest.
Why is my amaryllis only growing leaves?
Sometimes amaryllis produce leaves first, followed by the flower stalk. Other times they produce the flower stalk first. Either way is normal. Make sure your plant is in a bright spot and you should see a flower stalk soon.
Why are the leaves and flower stalk leaning in one direction?
They are probably reaching toward the light. Rotate the pot every few days, and use an amaryllis stake to hold the plant upright.
My bulb didn't grow at all? Why?
It's possible the bulb rotted, perhaps from the planting mix being too wet. Remove the bulb from the pot and see if it has healthy white roots. If it does, replant it and give it a little more time.
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