Amaryllis adds beauty to every interior! Forcing these wonderful flowers into bloom yourself is not hard to do and it gives you lots of satisfaction. You don’t need much to get started, the effect is fantastic, and you’ll be treated to weeks of breathtakingly beautiful flowers. The amaryllis (Hippeastrum) originally came from tropical South Africa. The most familiar kinds are the large-flowering types in various solid colors: shades of red, salmon, orange and white. But there are also multicolored ones like the pink and white combinations.
Plant them in time.
Planting period: from October to the end of April.
Flowering: starting at Christmas and lasting until the end of May.
If there are reasons for not planting the bulbs immediately after purchase, place them in a location with a temperature of about 48 degrees F.
How to get started
Buy bulbs that feel nice and heavy. The larger the bulb, the more flowers it will produce.
If you have bought several bulbs, plant them at intervals of 14 days. This way you can enjoy a continuous display of lovely amaryllises all through the winter months.
You can buy bulbs in various bulb sizes starting at size 24/26 (the bulb’s circumference measured in centimeters). Larger bulbs generally produce more stems and more flowers.
Before planting the bulb, place it in a container filled with lukewarm water for a couple of hours. This encourages root formation. To plant, choose a pot or container that can easily accommodate the bulb and roots but that’s not too large: you should be able to just barely place your finger between the bulb and the side of the pot. Use pot shards or gravel to cover the drainage hole, placed so that water can still escape. Fill the pot with potting soil and place the bulb on top. Then add just enough potting soil so that at least half of the bulb is exposed above the soil surface. Do this as carefully as possible to avoid damaging the roots. After planting, tamp down the potting soil firmly.
- Bulb should be submerged to about half its height in potting soil.
- Use good quality potting soil.
- Don’t damage the roots.
- If the faded flowers are removed promptly, the bulb will not invest its energy in seed production and the remaining flowers will bloom for a longer time.
Once the amaryllis has finished flowering, you can get it to flower again next year if you provide it with the right care first. After flowering, cut off the faded flowers and let the leaves continue to grow and develop. To encourage this, provide the plant regularly with water and houseplant fertilizer. If you have room in your garden, you can plant the bulb, pot and all, in a sheltered spot in the garden in May. Starting in September, refrain from watering. In October, trim the foliage from the bulb and place the bulb, pot and all, in a dry, cool, but frost-free location. In January, repot the bulb in fresh potting soil after having removed the old roots. You’ll then have a very good chance of enjoying another flowering in March. This display will not be as glorious as the first, however, because newly purchased bulbs have just completed a 3-year schedule of special care. That’s what makes amaryllis bulbs a bit more expensive than other flower bulbs – but that’s also what makes them so worthwhile.
Growing location and care
Warmth is the most important factor for stem development. For this reason, place the pot containing the amaryllis bulb in a warm sunlit place such as a windowsill warmed by a radiator underneath. A normal living room temperature of 68 degrees F is perfect. Don’t water very much until the stem emerges. As soon as the bud and leaves emerge, the amaryllis will require more water every day. Now, the stem will grow quickly. Once this process is complete, flowering begins.
Having flowers in bloom for several months
Their flowering period depends on several factors. During the winter, it will take about 6 to 10 weeks for a bulb to flower after potting it but this length of time is somewhat shorter in the spring. This means you can enjoy flowering amaryllises for several months by potting them up every few weeks.