How to grow Amaryllis

START by finding the right pot. Most important: the pot must have a drainage hole. Second, it needs to accommodate the bulb. Choose one that's an inch or two wider than the diameter of the bulb. Check the depth, too. Ideally, you have room for an inch or two of soil below the bulb once it's been planted. Keep in mind that your amaryllis will be a bit top-heavy when it blooms, so a heavier pot is better.

 

Use fresh potting soil and moisten it before planting the bulb. This makes it easier to work with. If the soil goes in dry, it's hard to get the bulb situated. Do not use regular garden soil; it will not drain properly and your bulb might rot.

 

Position the bulb so the top third will remain above the soil surface. Leave an inch or so between the soil surface and the rim of the pot. This will make it easier to water the bulb thoroughly. Be sure to pack the soil around the bulb, giving the plant a good foundation for when it's in flower.

 When will it bloom? It depends. In general, it takes five to eight weeks for amaryllis to bloom, but check the label on the variety you have — some bloom faster.

Preparation

  • Plant bulb without undue delay - before sprouting takes place.

  • If you must delay planting, store in a cool place, +5°C to +10°C (40°F to 50°F). Your refrigerator's vegetable drawer is ideal, but do not place the bulb alongside food.

  • If sprouts are visible, plant immediately.

  • Pot bulb into any size container into which it will fit - provided it has a drainage hole.

  • Choose a brand name potting soil which drains well (pH 6.0 to 6.8). Light, yet nutritious, it should contain no tree bark or fresh manure.


Planting

  • Hold bulb so that its roots hang down into the pot, then fill in around bulb with chosen potting medium. Firm down so that no air pockets remain among roots.

  • The nose of the bulb should be above the pot's rim, with its shoulders protruding above the the soil surface.

  • After planting, water well and firm down medium again. Roots and bulb should be seated firmly - but do not damage.

  • If you use a saucer below the pot; ensure no water stands in it.


Position

  • Place your potted amaryllis in a light, constantly warm position. This will encourage an immediate growth response.

  • Any room in which a normal home temperature of around 20°C (68°F) is maintained, is ideal.

  • As the first floral stalk lengthens, rotate pot through a half turn every day or so. This keeps it from bending towards the strongest light source (window).

  • Never expose bulb to temperatures below freezing (0°C or 32°F).

Watering

  • After initial watering, do not water again during the first week.

  • For the following two weeks, the soil should be kept only slightly moist - by adding tepid water around the bulb if necessary.

  • Over- watering will inhibit root formation - and any water found standing in the saucer should be emptied out. A slightly dry medium will stimulate regrowth of the root system.

  • Once flower stalk is well out of the bulb, water more frequently                                                                                                           

Further Care

  • After your Amaryllis has produced its flowers for this season, it will concentrate on developing its foliage.

  • Faded blooms may be snipped off at the pedicels ("small stems") from the top of the (main) stem; leave the main stem uninjured for photosynthesis to continue.

  • An Amaryllis bulb produces flowers once per year - in Spring.  Amaryllis purchased in the Northern Hemisphere will flower their first season in Autumn/ Fall as they have had their previous growing season in the Southern Hemisphere. If grown on in the Northern Hemisphere, they will adapt to Spring flowering after one season.

  • Should you wish to maintain the plant after flowering - for re- growth and blooming next year - keep the bulb in a warm and sunny place (indoors if it is winter). Soil should be kept just moist by watering every three days.

  • Feed with a bulb or household plant fertiliser every two weeks. If necessary, stake foliage and stems.

  • Keep the bulb growing through summer, preferably outdoors with maximum light.

  • At the onset of the next Autumn/ Fall, place the bulb - in its pot - on its side in a dry, dark and cool place. A temperature of 6°C to 13°C (46°F to 55°F) is ideal. Not below freezing at any time.

  • Allow the bulb to enjoy a well- earned rest - without food or water - for between two and six months; it will remain dormant so long as it is kept cool.

  • Bring the bulb out of dormancy when the ambient temperatures are warming up or about six weeks before you would like it to flower.

  • After this period, cut off the old (browned) foliage. Remove the bulb from its pot and wash the bulb and roots carefully in water. Now repeat the planting process as before. With proper care it will flower again as temperatures warm.

  • If sprouting occurs during dormancy, the bulb is responding to warmth and should be allowed to continue its growth as per the very top section above   preparation       

  • Alternative treatment: transferring the Amaryllis to your garden bed:

  • This procedure is only possible in warm climates with winters that do not have any frost.

  • After the bulb has flowered continue its treatment as above until you have summer conditions outside.

  • Select a position in your garden that receives maximum sunlight.

  • Then slide the plant with the soil and roots intact away from the pot and transfer to a prepared hold in the garden bed.

  • Provide compost and fertilisers to ensure vigorous growth and generation of new flowers.

  • Ensure the soil remains moist at root level. In the absence of rainfall this generally comprises a deep watering every four days.

Amaryllis bloom chart
Planting date Bloom time-frame
Dec. 1 Jan. 7-28
Dec. 15 Jan. 19-Feb. 9
Jan. 1 Feb. 6-26
Jan. 15 Feb. 19-March 12
Feb. 1 March 8-29
Feb. 15 April 5-26

 

Place the pot in a relatively cool, bright location. Direct sunlight is not essential. Water sparingly until you see about 2″ of new growth. In some cases, the flower stalk appears first; sometimes it's the strappy leaves. Either way is fine. Once the plant is in active growth, water regularly and turn the pot periodically to encourage the stalk to grow straight. Buds will appear and blooms will begin to open within five to eight weeks. To prolong the blooms, keep the pot away from heat and direct sunlight. Sometimes the long flower stems benefit from a little extra support. An amaryllis support stake does the job nicely.


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