Amaryllis plants produce spectacular, regal looking flowers that are perfect for Christmas and New Year’s. Huge blossoms in reds, pinks, whites, and pale greens atop long stalks make for a dramatic plant. Amaryllis bulbs bloom seven to ten weeks after planting. Plant soon for full bloom right at Christmastime. Wait a little while if you want to give as a gift at Christmas with the intent of letting it bloom after the holiday. And don’t forget, amaryllis make great gifts for New Year’s and Valentine’s Day, too!
Amaryllis bulbs can be grown in water, but many people prefer to plant them in soil. You will want to choose good quality potting soil, high in organic matter. Select a container that is deep enough to allow adequate room for good root development and has provisions for drainage. Amaryllis bulbs prefer a small container, so the diameter of the pot should be only about one inch larger than that of the bulb. Make sure that your container is heavy enough to support the weight of the plant – its height and the size of its flowers give it a tendency to be top heavy.
Just prior to planting, soak the base and roots of the bulb in lukewarm water for an hour or two. Plant the bulb, pointed end up, leaving approximately one-third of the bulb above the soil line, and packing the potting soil gently around the bulb to keep it securely in place, being careful not to damage the roots.
Water thoroughly and place the pot in a warm, sunny spot. Continue to water sparingly until you have an inch or two of growth, then gradually water more as the stem lengthens and the stalk and leaves appear. Once the plant starts to grow, feed regularly with a fertilizer that has a high phosphorus content. The stalk will grow rapidly and flowers will develop after it has reached full growth. As the plant grows, turn the pot regularly to encourage the stalk to grow straight. Once blooming, to prolong the flowers, move the pot out of direct sunlight.
Unlike paperwhites, which will typically not flower again, amaryllis plants will bloom year after year with the correct care. To learn more click here.