Amaryllis bulbs are not what I would consider cheap. Some specialty bulbs can sell for up to $50 each, and even a single common bulb can set you back a few bills. So, knowing how to care for and cultivate your amaryllis bulb is essential in getting the most bloom for your dollar. And if you’re lucky enough to be gifted one of these for the holiday season, don’t toss that bulb after the holidays; it’s precious and highly rebloomable! The article below will take you through all the steps of amaryllis care and give you all our expert tips and tricks to have the best-looking amaryllis for years to come.
Understanding Amaryllis Plants
Amaryllis plants, native to South Africa, are treasured for their large, colorful blooms and the variety of types and hybrids available. The performance and beauty of these plants depend on the size and condition of their bulbs and proper care, including knowing how to store amaryllis bulbs.
This segment introduces amaryllis plants’ origin, varieties, and growth cycle, which are fundamental aspects of their care.
Origin and Characteristics
Amaryllis plants hail from the African region and are known for their:
- Strappy leaves
- Large, trumpet-shaped flowers that grow on tall flower stalks
- Captivating blooms that display a range of deep red, pink, white, or even a combination of these colors, creating a dramatic appearance
- An amaryllis bloom typically lasts an impressive seven weeks or longer.
However, please exercise caution as these plants contain toxic elements in their bulbs, leaves, and stems, which can harm both humans and animals.
Related: Trying to get your amaryllis to rebloom? Check out this complete guide!
Popular Types of Amaryllis
Amaryllis plants offer diverse varieties, with blooms in vivid red, pink, white, and even multicolored variations. These flowers, ranging from four to ten inches in size, are known for their prominent, eye-catching appearance. Some of the recommended varieties include:
- Apple Blossom Amaryllis:
- Description: The Apple Blossom Amaryllis is a specific variety of amaryllis (Hippeastrum) known for its large, trumpet-shaped flowers. These flowers typically have white or pale pink petals with a prominent green or pinkish-red central stripe. The combination of colors resembles the delicate appearance of apple blossoms.
- Red Lion Amaryllis:
- Description: The Red Lion Amaryllis is one of the most popular and recognizable varieties. It features large, bright red, trumpet-shaped flowers with a striking and bold appearance.
- White Christmas Amaryllis:
- Description: The White Christmas Amaryllis, also known as the Christmas Star Amaryllis, typically produces stunning white trumpet-shaped flowers with green markings.
- Picotee Amaryllis:
- Description: The Picotee Amaryllis is a specific variety known for its unique and striking coloration. The flowers have a white or light base color with a distinct, contrasting edge or border of red, pink, or another color.
The diverse range of captivating varieties ensures you can always find an amaryllis plant that aligns with your taste and enhances your living space or garden.
Growth Cycle and Blooming Process
Amaryllis plants have a growth cycle that includes a dormant period in the fall, followed by a blooming process that takes 8-10 weeks. Most varieties of plants start blooming 6 to 8 weeks after planting. In some cases, it can take up to 10 weeks. Understanding the growth cycle and blooming process is vital, as proper care can result in more flowers and an extended blooming period.
For those who wish to have their amaryllis in full bloom for Christmas, here is a step-by-step guide:
- Start the rest period in early September by bringing the plant inside and ceasing watering and feeding.
- Cut off the leaves, flowers, and stems once they have yellowed.
- Move the plant to a cool, dark place with temperatures ranging between 55-60 degrees for at least 8-10 weeks.
By following these steps, you can ensure that your amaryllis will fully bloom for Christmas.
After the rest period, place the plant with flower buds in a warm spot with direct sunlight and water to initiate the blooming process.
Purchasing and Planting Amaryllis Bulbs – Tips For Choosing Healthy Bulbs
Choosing healthy, large amaryllis bulbs and planting them in suitable containers and mediums is crucial to ensure your amaryllis plants’ successful growth and blooming.
This segment will guide you on selecting quality plant bulbs and using the proper planting techniques, which are fundamental for nurturing thriving amaryllis plants.
Selecting Quality Bulbs
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To select quality amaryllis bulbs, look for those that are:
- Large and firm
- Devoid of any mold, spots, bruising, or other indications of damage
- Look for the largest bulbs, as they will produce sturdy green, leafless stems.
With proper care, an amaryllis bulb can grow, bloom, and rebloom for extended periods. Some bulbs have been reported to bloom annually for up to 75 years! Selecting quality bulbs is an investment in the long-lasting beauty of your amaryllis plants.
Brecks.com has a beautiful assortment of bulbs, and we’ve successfully purchased them from their Canadian site over the years. You can also find bulbs at most garden centers during the fall, and of course, all big box stores will have them, but the quality could be questionable. Be sure to check the bulbs before you buy them.
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Planting Medium and Container
Choosing a well-draining potting mix and a container with drainage holes is crucial when planting amaryllis bulbs to prevent root rot. A potted bulb requires a container that is approximately one inch wider and twice as tall as the bulb, with heavy pots being preferable as lightweight pots may not support the weight of the blooms.
The potting mix should facilitate drainage, allowing the amaryllis bulb to access the nutrients it requires without becoming waterlogged. Avoid using soil from the garden, as it may not provide adequate drainage for your amaryllis plant and could carry pathogens and pests.
When planting your amaryllis bulb, follow these steps:
- Place the bulb pointed-end-up in the potting mix.
- Pack the soil gently around the bulb so that approximately one-third of the bulb remains above the soil line.
- Ensure that the soil is moist but not overly waterlogged.
It is recommended to plant amaryllis bulbs at an interval of two weeks to create a continuous display of blossoms.
Water your amaryllis sparingly until approximately 2 inches of new growth is observed, then water regularly to support the development and blooming process. With proper planting techniques, your amaryllis plants will be well on their way to producing stunning blooms.
Caring for Amaryllis Throughout the Year
Proper care for amaryllis plants varies depending on the season and whether they are grown indoors or outdoors. This segment will guide you through seasonal maintenance and the differences between indoor and outdoor amaryllis care, essential in ensuring your plants thrive all year round.
Spring and Summer Care
During spring and summer, provide your amaryllis plants with ample sunlight, water, and fertilizer to encourage healthy growth and more blooms. Taking your amaryllis plants outside is safe when temperatures remain above 50 degrees during the evening. To acclimate your amaryllis plants to the outdoors, place them in a shady area for three days and then gradually expose them to increasing amounts of sunlight.
Amaryllis plants require at minimum 6 hours of sun exposure daily when placed outdoors. Remember to water and feed your plants regularly with a balanced houseplant fertilizer to support their growth during the spring and summer.
Fall and Winter Care
In fall and winter, reduce watering and allow the amaryllis plants to enter dormancy before initiating the blooming process again. At the end of August, bring your amaryllis plant inside and cease watering and feeding to induce dormancy. During winter, place the amaryllis in an cool location (mid-60 degrees) with bright, indirect light to ensure proper care.
Begin the rest period for your amaryllis in early September to ensure blossoming by Christmas. In late October, move the plant to a warm, sunny location.
By following these seasonal care tips, you can enjoy the beauty of amaryllis blooms even during the cold winter months.
Outdoor Amaryllis Care ( USDA zones 8-10)
Caring for outdoor amaryllis plants involves:
- Planting them in well-drained soil.
- Feeding regularly.
- Protecting the plants from frost.
When cultivating amaryllis outdoors, warm temperatures and bright shade are preferred. Plant the bulbs five to six inches deep beneath the soil.
Apply a layer of winter mulch to protect your outdoor amaryllis plant. By following these outdoor care tips, your amaryllis plants will grow strong and produce dazzling blooms in your garden.
Preventing Pests and Diseases
Keeping your amaryllis plants free from pests and diseases is vital for their health. This segment will introduce common pests that can affect amaryllis plants and prevention methods, as well as plant diseases that can impact your amaryllis plants and how to mitigate these issues.
Common Pests That Can Impact Amaryllis Flowers
Pests that can affect amaryllis plants include:
- Spider mites: infestations can cause yellow leaf stippling and discoloration of leaves
- Mealybugs: soft-bodied, white, waxy pests, can be found on amaryllis plants in sizes ranging from 1/50 to 1/3 inch in length.
- Slugs and snails can damage amaryllis plants’ leaves, stems, and blossoms.
- Aphids: Small flying insects that can damage leaves and stems.
To prevent pests from affecting your amaryllis plants, follow these steps:
- Maintain a clean environment.
- Avoid overcrowding.
- Inspect the plants regularly for signs of infestation.
- Use manual control methods or pesticides as a last resort to control these pests and protect your plants.
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Plant diseases that can impact amaryllis plants include red blotch and mosaic virus. Red blotch causes reddish-purple or brown lesions on the leaves and stems, while mosaic virus leads to mottled foliage featuring white or pale yellow patches, which can be detrimental to affected plants.
To prevent diseases in amaryllis plants, provide adequate sunlight, water, and nutrients while regularly inspecting the plants for any signs of disease. By taking these preventative measures, you can ensure the health and longevity of your amaryllis plants.
Amaryllis plants are known for their beautiful, vibrant blooms that can brighten up any space. To take care of these plants properly, it’s essential to understand the origin, growth cycle, and blooming process and use the proper planting and care techniques.
By pruning, propagating, and preventing pests and diseases, your amaryllis plants will thrive and continue to impress everyone who sees them. Now that you know how to grow and care for amaryllis plants, it’s time to enjoy them in your home this holiday season.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What do you do with an amaryllis bulb after it has bloomed?
Once the flowers are spent, cut off the flower stalks without damaging the leaves. Keep the bulb planted in its container, continue to water regularly, and provide bright light, even if it feels soggy or the bulb has rotted or dried out.
How do you take care of a potted amaryllis?
Water regularly to keep the soil moist and feed with Promix liquid fertilizer 10-10-10 every 1-2 weeks. Feed your amaryllis every 7-14 days with Promix indoor plant food to promote reblooming. Please place it in a sunny spot for bigger blooms.
How do you keep an amaryllis for next year?
To keep an amaryllis for next year, trim the stalks to 1-1.5 inches above the bulb, moisten the soil, feed it fertilizer, trim wilted leaves, and store it in a cool, dry, dark location.
How long does it take for an amaryllis plant to bloom after planting?
It usually takes 8-10 weeks for an amaryllis plant to bloom after planting.
What type of soil is best for outdoor amaryllis growth?
For optimal outdoor amaryllis growth, use a well-draining soil high in organic matter, such as a mixture of soil, peat, and perlite, or a potting mix designed for cacti and succulents. Avoid using pine bark due to poor drainage.