An iconic holiday gift, amaryllis which comes in an endless variety of large blooms and colors such as red, peach, pink, white and various dual-toned shades. You can purchase these plants as bare bulbs or pre-potted, with each bulb producing between one and three stalks, each with beautiful blooms on top that can grow up to 10 inches in size, depending on the variety. It can take four to eight weeks from the time you plant the bulbs to the time they begin to grow. These plants make excellent Christmas gifts, as they grow so quickly you can almost watch them once they get started. If you are interested in keeping this plant for yourself or in gifting it to family or friends, this is a helpful guide for keeping your amaryllis healthy through their growing season and beyond.
Selecting Your Amaryllis
There are endless varieties of amaryllis to choose from, and really no way to go wrong. However, there are a few things to look for when selecting your plants. If you are shopping for a bare bulb, look for the largest bulb possible for the biggest show of flowers. Select a pot for the bulb that is just slightly larger than the bulb in diameter. Use well-draining potting soil and leave about a quarter inch of the bulb visible above the potting medium. The larger the bulb, the better the performance and the more flower stalks you’ll get out of it. If you’re buying a pre-potted amaryllis, look for a plant that is stable in its pot. Most pre-planted amaryllis are medium in size, which will generally produce two flower stalks.
Ideal Locations for Amaryllis
Dormant bulbs should keep in a slightly cool room with minimal sun exposure. When you start to see growth, move your bulb into brighter light. As these plants are native to rocky terrain, they are well adjusted to sun exposure and perform well in bright, direct light. They perform best with at least several hours of direct sun. Keep your amaryllis away from drafty areas. They prefer temperatures to be around 70 degrees fahrenheit.
Water and Fertilize Adequately
Water your amaryllis bulbs sparingly until signs of growth appear. After that, water it thoroughly, then let the soil dry to about an inch depth before watering again. During it’s growing season, feed your amaryllis every two to three weeks with Osmocote slow release, which we carry here at Merrifield.
After the amaryllis completes its bloom cycle, you can trim the flower stalk. The bulb will then be left with just its green foliage. Leave the foliage on the plant, as it is vital for the bulb’s collection of nutrients, and move your potted bulb into the garden during the summertime to enjoy the warmer temperatures and sunlight. When September arrives, it is time to start the bulb’s dormancy period if you wish to have blooms again during the holidays. Cut back on watering and the foliage will start to dry up and die off. You can then cut off the brown parts of the foliage and only water once or twice over the next four to six week period. To induce flowering during the holidays, bring your amaryllis back inside approximately 4-6 weeks before you want it to bloom. Resume watering when you see new growth, and look forward to enjoying more blooms between Thanksgiving and Christmas!