Planting and Growing Amaryllis is easy
- Put a layer of heavy potting soil (soil/sand mixes are ideal) in the bottom of the pot, then pop in the bulb, and fill in with soil up to where the bulb’s “shoulders” taper inward. The upper shoulders and neck of the bulb are left exposed. The pot should be watered well and the soil kept barely moist until growth begins.
- Fertilize amaryllis regularly during the growth cycle starting one month after planting (when active growth is underway). Use regular houseplant food such as Miracle Gro or another general plant food applied 1 x per month. Or use a long-lasting, balanced, timed-release fertilizer, applied as needed.
- After the green shoot appears, water regularly to keep soil moist but not soggy, and move the pot to a sunny spot. Access to good sunlight during the growing phase is important to keep the plant from stretching in search of light as this can result in the already tall stems growing even taller.
- As with most bulb flowers, amaryllis will grow toward sources of light, so turn the pot regularly to keep the flower growing upright. Once the blooms open, move the pot away from direct sunlight and sources of heat. This will ensure that your blooms last as long as possible.
- Amaryllis can also be planted without soil, because, as with most bulbs, all of the food the plant needs is in the starchy material inside that makes the bulb so fat. Substitute pebbles or stones for soil, making sure to add enough around the sides to give the bulb sufficient upright support. When you add water, add just enough so that it nearly reaches, but doesn’t touch, the bottom of the bulb. The Dutch like to say, “close enough so the roots can smell the water.” Position the bulb in the pebbles or sand poised above the water level so the roots will grow down to meet the water. Once growth begins, be sure to place the plant where it receives some sun.
- After flowering, cut the old flowers from the stem. Cut off the stems just above the bulb nose.
- Continue to water and fertilize for at least 6 months, allowing the leaves to fully develop and grow. When the leaves turn yellow, cut them back to about 2 inches (5 cm) from the top of the bulb and remove the bulb from the soil.
- Clean the bulb and place it in a cool, dark place (40-50ºF or 4-10ºC) for a minimum of 8-10 weeks.
- After 8-10 weeks you may plant your amaryllis again!
Step-by-Step Amaryllis Re-bloom
To bring Amaryllis back, please find below the optimal conditions to follow. For most people, ideal conditions are not always possible. Don’t worry! Just get as close as you can to the following — the Amaryllis is a trouper and will do its best to accommodate!
- To reflower the bulb, stop watering the plant, and place the bulb (still in pot) in a dry cool place or closet for 8-10 weeks.
- Do not store the plant near ripening fruit (such as apples) which emit ethylene gas.
- After 8-10 weeks, add a little more potting soil to the pot, or, if you like, repot it.
- To repot in fresh soil: Fill the soil under and around the bulb with potting soil. Leave the “shoulders” of the bulb exposed (the top 1/3 of the bulb). Use a pot sized only slightly larger around than the bulb itself. Usually a 6-8 in. pot (15-20 cm) is perfect. For a more dramatic display of flowers, plant three bulbs with flowers of the same color together in a broad-based pot sized just big enough to hold all three bulbs. All pots must have drainage holes.
- To initiate growth, a warm site is best. Cooler sites are fine once growth commences.
- Water thoroughly to “start up.” In subsequent weeks, water sparingly. Once growth emerges, water regularly to keep the soil moist (never soggy) and resume a fertilizing program.
- The Amaryllis will bloom again, about 8 weeks after the first watering.
Zones 7-10: Outdoor Planting
- In warmer areas Amaryllis can be grown outdoors. Bulbs may be planted outside in spring after the threat of frost is past.
- Plant the bulb with the base of the bulb 8 in. deep (20 cm), so the top is about 3 in. deep (7 cm).
- Protect over-winter with 2-3 in. of mulch (5-7 cm).
- Amaryllis fare best in climates with approximately 9 months of temperatures of 70ºF (21ºC) and up and 3 months of less than 60ºF (15ºC). Expect one bloom cycle per year, in late spring.