Amaryllis

Amaryllis means to sparkle in Greek.  Amaryllis bulbs are easy to grow.  They are easy to bloom again from year to year, unlike the Poinsettia. They produce large, colorful bell-shaped flowers that get better with time, the bulbs getting bigger and producing more flower stems. Properly cared for they can live for 75 years.  Amaryllis can be used as cut flowers. They last longer in a vase, up to two weeks.  If you get them as a Christmas gift, they usually come with a pot, soil and bulb and directions.  If you only have the bulb, plant each amaryllis bulb in a 6-8” pot. Heavy pots are preferred because the plant does become top heavy.  Lightweight pots may tip over under the weight of the bloom.  You may also need a support stake to keep the bloom upright. If you have a large bulb, you may get two or three flowering stalks that bloom over a period of several weeks.

Usually you will find bulbs for sale in the autumn and can expect them to  bloom that winter. Make sure you plant the bulb, pointed end up and in potting mix.   Pack the soil gently around the bulb so approximately one-third of the bulb remains above the soil line. Pot needs to be in a location that receives bright, indirect light and indoor temperature in the 60-degree range.  Water sparingly until you see about 2” of new growth and after that water regularly. Turn the pot periodically to encourage the flower stalks to grow straight. Flower buds will appear at the top of each stalk, followed by a dramatic floral display.  To prolong the blooms, keep the pot out of direct sunlight.

After the bloom is gone, cut the flower stem off near the neck of the bulb.  Leaves are needed to replenish the bulb so it can bloom again next year.  Keep the soil moist, and feed it with plant food every 7-14 days. Keep the amaryllis in the sunniest spot you can find in your house. More sun will mean bigger blooms later.  Once the outdoor temperature stays above 50 degrees at night, you can move them outside.

In late summer, bring your amaryllis back inside and place it in a sunny spot. Stop watering and feeding. When the leaves turn yellow, cut them off, move the plant to a cool, dark place with temperatures of 55-60 degrees. I usually put mine in a closed cardboard box and store them in the attic.  The bulb will need at least 8-10 weeks of rest.  After the rest period, move it to a warm, sunny spot and water thoroughly. In 8-10 weeks, it should be in bloom.  From time to time  you may need to repot your amaryllis.

When will it bloom? That depend on the date you plant it and the variety you use. Newly planted bulbs usually take six to eight weeks for the amaryllis to bloom. Some bloom faster, and some bloom slower. You can check out the planting schedule to know when it will bloom at Amaryllis Care.

Some amaryllis sprout leaves first then the flower stalk. Others send up flower stalks first, followed by the  leaves. I have had some amaryllis for several years that sprout the leaves and no flower stalk. I am not sure why.

Resources:

Amaryllis Care https://www.gardeners.com/how-to/amaryllis-care/5410.html

How to Care for Amaryllis  https://www.miraclegro.com/en-us/library/trees-shrubs-landscaping/how-care-amaryllis

Amaryllis & Caladium Bulb Co.  http://www.amaryllis.com/planting-and-care

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