You have just purchased your Amaryllis. This article will teach you all you need to know about how to plant them. It’s easy! Amaryllis bulbs actually make a good first gardening project for kids!
When you receive your Amaryllis:
If you cannot plant the bulbs immediately after receiving them, store them in the dark, at a cool temperature (an unheated room, or the garage will do fine). Keep them between 40 to 50 ‘F. This keeps them from blooming before you are ready. When you are ready to plant your bulb, place it in lukewarm water for a few hours, to jump-start emergence. Do NOT leave them in the water overnight, however, or they will rot, and don’t put your bulbs in the fridge! Amaryllises do not like the cold!
When to plant:
Plant your Amaryllis bulbs any time from October until the end of April. At room temperature it usually takes 6-8 weeks for amaryllis to bloom. Plant in November for New Year’s blooms, February for Easter flowers.
If you want to accelerate the growth of the flower stalk and flower, place the pot on a heating pad. If you want to slow it down, move the plant to a cooler room.
If you want to extend the blooming season just keep some of your bulbs in a cool dark space and pot one up every 2 weeks or so. This is called ‘succession planting’. Pot of multiple bulbs, at weekly intervals, for continuous blooms throughout winter. Store the other bubs cool (40-50’F), and dark, in the interim.
How to Plant:
There are two ways to grow your Amaryllis bulbs indoors…
- In pots, with soil, or
- In water
- Planting Amaryllis in soil
Warmth and sunlight will encourage the Amaryllis to break dormancy. Once your Amaryllis has developed a flower stalk, turn the pot a little every week to prevent your plant from leaning toward the light source.
Amaryllises have large flowers and will be top-heavy. Decorative ‘Amaryllis stakes’ are available on-line and a good idea if you plant in soil. Rotating your pot also helps.
2 Growing Amaryllis in Water
Similar to Hyacinths, it is also possible to grow Amaryllis in water. I personally prefer this way!
Unlike hyacinths however, which are planted in glass containers without much of a rim, Amaryllises grown in water should be planted in a tall clear glass container, with pebbles to anchor the bulb. The advantage of this method is that the rim of the tall container will support the flower stem and prevent the bulb from toppling over.
There are 3 steps to growing an Amaryllis in water…
- Step 1: Choose your vase
- Step 2: Choose your pebbles
- Step 3: ‘Plant’ your bulb
STEP 1: Choose your container
Step 2: Choose your pebbles
Fill the Amaryllis glass vase with several inches of clean stones, pebbles or glass marbles. The pebbles provide support so the bulb does not topple over. Glass pebbles are decorative and you can color-coordinate them with your Amaryllis). Have fun with it!
Step 3: Plant your bulb
Nestle the roots around a base of pebbles. Add water to the glass container to an inch or so below the amaryllis bulb, so only the roots of the bulb are just touching the water. (In Holland they say the roots should just be able to ‘smell’ the water.)
What to expect
How will you know when your amaryllis is starting to ‘wake up’? The first sign of growth will be the tip of a bud or a leaf peeking out from the top of the bulb. Once you see growth, water sparingly, no more than 1/4 – 1/2 cup per week. Do not pour water in top the top of the bulb. It will cause the bulb to rot. It is better to under-water than to over-water your Amaryllis!
It will take several weeks for your bulb to start to grow. Don’t worry. Your Amaryllis bulbs already contain their future flowers when you buy them. Yes, there is at least one flower bud inside, ready to pop out! According to Dutch law, Amaryllis bulbs must be inspected before sale to make sure they house a bud or two, or three (depending on the size of the bulb you bought), and to ensure that they are guaranteed to bloom. That’s why they’re so easy to get to bloom the first time around.
Once the bulb has sprouted and is in active growth, you can usually expect to see flowers in 3 – 4 weeks. Do not forget to turn the vase or pot so that the stalk grows straight!
Don’t forget Amaryllis bulbs are somewhat unpredictable and will not sprout until they’re good and ready. Be patient. As long as you don’t overwater your Amaryllis will eventually bloom. Depending on the size of the bulb, you can expect to get between one to three flower stalks. These may emerge all at once, or in succession, over a period of 3 to 4 weeks. Each flower stem lasts around 10 days, and up to 2 weeks.
Check out this video to see a time lapse of what to expect…
Submitted by Jacqueline Emery