The flowers come in myriad colors, most commonly red or scarlet.
They can also be found in salmon, rose, pink, apricot, white and
cream. Flowers may be bicolored, striped or double. The petals
can be ruffled or spider-like. Strap-like foliage complements
the enormous blooms.
Selecting Amaryllis Bulbs
When selecting bulbs, it is best to choose the largest size
available. Stick to offerings from reliable bulb vendors. Top
quality bulbs will produce multiple stems and have a high bud
count, resulting in a long flowering period. Amaryllis typically
bloom in seven to 10 weeks, although you can purchase varieties
that will flower within four to six weeks for faster
Upon arrival or purchase, be certain that the bulb is firm and
dry and has no signs of mold. Amaryllis prefer a pot that is
deep enough for adequate root development but bloom best in a
somewhat crowded container. The diameter of the pot should be no
wider than 1 inch greater than the diameter of the bulb.
Planting Amaryllis Bulbs
Place it in the planting medium with the bulb one-third to
one-half exposed. Water thoroughly, along the sides of the bulb,
and place in a sunny spot warmer than 60 degrees. Re-water your
plant when the planting medium is dry to the touch. If placed in
front of a window, it is best to turn the plant from time to
time to allow it to grow straight rather than lean into the
bright light. Once flower buds begin to show color, be sure to
keep the pot well watered. Keep the opened flowers out of direct
sunlight to prolong the life of the bloom.
One of the challenges in growing amaryllis is supporting the
enormous flowers perched atop the long stems. If necessary, tie
a string lightly around the plant at several places.
After flowering bulbs have exhausted all of their energy. many
gardeners treat them as annuals and discard them into the
compost pile. However, you can continue to allow the plant to
grow and prepare the bulb for blooms the following year. Cut the
flower stalks to about one-third their original height, but be
sure to retain all of the strap–like leaves. As with all bulbs,
the foliage will be the food source for next year’s flowers.
Keep the plant indoors in bright sunlight and continue to water
when the top of the soil becomes dry to the touch. A diluted
liquid fertilizer should be used once a month at this time.
When all danger of frost is past, place the bulb outdoors in a
partially shaded area. Gradually acclimate it to a sunny part of
the garden and bury the pot in the soil. Another option is to
remove the bulb from its pot and plant it directly in the
ground. Keep the plant growing by watering and fertilizing it.
The idea is to encourage as much green growth as possible,
allowing the plant to store enough food for adequate flowering
Just before the first frost, bring the plant indoors and store
it for eight to 10 weeks in a cool, semi-dark and dry place at a
temperature of 50-55 degrees. Because amaryllis require a dry,
dormant period, do not water at all. To begin the flowering
cycle again, remove the dried foliage, re-pot the bulb, water
and place in a warm bright window for another round of
Many gardeners keep their amaryllis growing for years by
following the above cultural directions. Over time, these bulbs
can become quite large and will become more floriferous. As the
bulbs increase in girth, they may need to be re-potted.
Amaryllis’ amazing blooms can chase the blues from any cold,
dark winter day.