Amaryllis are hard flowers to categorize. They look tropical and exotic; large, lily-like trumpet blooms on tall, straight stems, with a base of strappy leaves. Flower colors go from white to deep red and include some eye-catching stripped varieties. You’ll pay more for the more exotic varieties and larger bulbs. You can expect your Amaryllis to bloom 7 weeks or longer.

Most amaryllis will go dormant naturally and re-bloom sometime during winter. However, many people prefer to force their amaryllis into bloom for the holiday season. Many ‘prepared’ bulbs are sold in the fall, ready to pot up and have in time for Christmas. Here are directions for forcing your Amaryllis for holiday display, as well as general care for your amaryllis plant.

Quick Tips:

    * Planting Period:  October until the end of April.
    * Flowering Period:  Late December until the end of June.
    * Flowering time is 7-10 weeks.
    * Larger bulbs produce more flowers.
    * Always store un-planted bulbs in a cool place between 40-50 deg. F.

Amaryllis-One of a Kind

Of all flowering bulbs, amaryllis are the easiest to bring to bloom.  This can be accomplished indoors or out, and over an extended period of time.  The amaryllis originated in South America's tropical regions and has the botanical name Hippeastrum.  The large flowers and ease with which they can be brought to bloom make amaryllis popular and in demand worldwide.  The amaryllis comes in many beautiful varieties including various shades of red, white, pink, salmon and orange.  There are also many striped and multicolored varieties, usually combining shades of pink or red with white.

Preparation for Planting

The base and roots of the bulb should be placed in lukewarm water for a few hours.  Remember, if you cannot plant the bulbs immediately after receiving them, store them at a cool temperature between 40-50 degrees F.


Plant bulbs in a nutritious potting compost, many are available pre-mixed.  Plant the bulb up to its neck in the potting compost, being careful not to damage the roots.  Press the soil down firmly to set the bulb securely in place after planting.

Placement and Watering

Plant the bulb, or place the potted bulb in a warm place with direct light since heat is necessary for the development of the stems.  The ideal temperature is 68 to 70 degrees F.  Water sparingly until the stem appears, then, as the bud and leaves appear, gradually water more.  At this point, the stem will grow rapidly and flowers will develop after it has reached full growth.

Flowering Period

Bulbs will flower in 7-10 weeks as a general rule.  In winter the flowering time will be longer than in spring.  Set up your planting schedule between October and April with this in mind.  To achieve continuous bloom, plant at intervals of 2 weeks for stunning color in your home or garden.

After-Bloom Care

After-Flowering. After the amaryllis has stopped flowering, it can be made to flower again.  Cut the old flowers from the stem after flowering, and when the stem starts to sag, cut it back to the top of the bulb.
Leaf Growth and Development. Continue to water and fertilize as normal all summer, or for at least 5-6 months, allowing the leaves to fully develop and grow. When the leaves begin to yellow, which normally occurs in the early fall, cut the leaves back to about 2 inches from the top of the bulb and remove the bulb from the soil.
Bulb Storage. Clean the bulb and place it in a cool (40-50 deg. F), dark place such as the crisper of your refrigerator for a minimum of 6 weeks. Caution: Do not store amaryllis bulbs in a refrigerator that contains apples, this will sterilize the bulbs. Store the bulbs for a minimum of 6 weeks.
Plant Again. After 6 weeks you may remove bulbs whenever you would like to plant them. Plant bulbs 8 weeks before you would like them to bloom.

Planting a New Amaryllis Bulb

   1. Choose a bulb(s) that’s plump and still has some roots at the base.

   2. Make sure the pot you chose is just large enough for the bulb. Generally a 5 - 7" pot will work fine. The bulb needs to feel crowded to bloom.

   3. Partially fill the pot with potting mix and place the bulb so that top third of it will be exposed when you fill in potting soil around the sides of the pot.

   4. Place a bamboo stalk along side the bulb. The flowers can get top heavy and inserting the stake now will help you avoid damaging the bulb and roots later.

   5. Water well.

   6. Place the pot in bright, indirect light and keep the soil moist, but not wet.

   7. A thick flower stalk should shoot up within a few weeks. The flat leaves will follow as the flower stalk matures.

   8. Turn the pot every few days, so the flower stalk gets uniform exposure on all sides and grows straight.

   9. You can feed your Amaryllis with a half strength water soluble fertilizer every 2-3 weeks.

  10. When the flowers fade, cut the flower stalk back to just above the bulb. Keep watering the plant until it goes dormant in the fall. You can more or plant the Amaryllis outdoors for the summer, in partial shade.

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