Plant of the Week
During the dark days of winter, a blooming amaryllis provides a welcome burst of color. These subtropical bulbs are hardy outdoors in only a small portion of the country, but all gardeners can enjoy these beauties as houseplants. Each amaryllis bulb produces one or two tall flower stalks topped with two or four huge trumpet-shaped flowers. Flower colors include white, pink, rose, salmon, red, and many bicolors. Bright green, straplike leaves emerge from the bulb about the same time as the flower stalk and persist until the dormant period.
Common name: Amaryllis
Botanical name: Hippeastrum hybrids
Plant type: Flowering bulb
Zones: 10 to 11 outdoors; all zones indoors
Height: 12 to 24 inches
• Sun: Full sun or partial shade outdoors; bright or bright filtered light indoors.
• Soil: Well drained. Use soilless potting mix, leaving the top third of the bulb above the soil.
• Moisture: Water evenly during the growing season. Reduce and finally withhold water for a two-month dormant period in the fall.
• Mulch: None in containers; none or 1 to 2 inches of organic mulch outdoors.
• Pruning: Remove faded flowers. Cut off flower stalk when it starts to wither.
• Fertilizer: After flowering, fertilize at least once a month until dormancy.
• Remove small offset bulbs and pot them separately. They’ll bloom after several years of growth.
• Sow seeds in soilless media. Keep temperature at about 60ºF to 65ºF. Plant seedlings individually.
Pests and diseases
• Generally free of insect and disease problems, though fungal and bacterial root rots can occur in poorly drained soils. Leaf spots also occur occasionally.
• To get your amaryllis to rebloom, bring the pot outdoors in spring (after danger of frost has passed) and keep it in a sunny spot during the growing season. Bring pots back inside before frost, place in a cool area, and withhold water for two months. The plant will grow again once you move it to a warm area and water it.
• If tall flower stalks flop over, loosely tie them to thin metal or bamboo stakes.
• Surround potted amaryllis with other flowering and foliage houseplants to create a lovely focal point and make the flower stalks look less lanky.
• Amaryllis make lovely cut flowers in holiday arrangements. They last three to seven days if placed in water with floral food and kept in a cool area.
• ‘Apple Blossom’ has pale pink and white flowers.
• ‘Green Goddess’ is a miniature with green-throated white flowers.
• ‘Lady Jane’ has double apricot and white flowers.
• ‘Lemon & Lime’ has pale greenish yellow flowers.
• ‘Liberty’ has deep red flowers.
• ‘Orange Sovereign’ has orange flowers.
• ‘Picotee’ has white petals with thin red margins.
• ‘Red Peacock’ has double bright red flowers.
• ‘Rilona’ has peach-salmon flowers.
All in the family
• Though amaryllis is used as the common name for the genus Hippeastrum, there is a genus Amaryllis that has just one species, A. belladonna. The flowers of this bulb look quite similar to those of Hippeastrum.
• Other members of the amaryllis family include the flowering houseplant Clivia and the flowering bulbs snowdrops (Galanthus) and daffodils (Narcissus).
Where to buy
• Amaryllis Bulb Company, Lakeland, FL, 888-966-9866, www.amaryllis.com
• American Meadows, Williston, VT, 877-309-7333, www.americanmeadows.com
• Touch of Nature, Inc., Lawrenceville, GA, 770-237-0993, www.touchofnature.com
• Willow Creek Gardens, Oceanside, CA, 760-721-7079, www.willowcreekgardens.com
(Photo of red amaryllis by Tracy Walsh)
Thursday, January 06, 2011 4:54 PM
I have a good question, I think. I was given a lg pot of Apple Blossom Amaryllis some yrs ago. Gave quite a bit away because they needed to be transplanted. Now everyone I gave them to, still blooms every year and mine just grows spiney. Don't know what I'm doing wrong but someone, please help!!! Thanks Patricia
Friday, January 07, 2011 12:04 PM
After June 1st, (or when nights stay above 50) take the plant out so the leaves can soak up sunshine until sometime late Sept. or until the 50 degree night. Allow soil to dry out enough to place the potted plant in a dark location until sometime in Jan. when you would begin warming & watering again. I believe getting the summer sun is the key to my plant (10 yrs.) & her older babies flowering. Hope this helps!
Friday, January 07, 2011 5:07 PM
When bringing the bulb inside in fall, you should let the green leaves die back (turning yellow & brown) to send the energy they gained over the summer to the bulb.
Sunday, January 09, 2011 10:30 AM
Hi, I bought my first amaryllis in a small pot. It flowered beautifully. Now the flowers are gone although the stalks look healthy.
What do I do with it so it will bloom again?? I live in L.A. Frost is rare, summers are very hot.
1. If I put it outside once nights stay above 50 - do I water it when it's outside?
2. How hot is too hot for it to be outside? When do I take it in?
3. When do I stop watering it and for how long?
4. Do I keep it in the very small pot it came in?
Thanks! I'd love to see it bloom again.
Sunday, January 09, 2011 11:11 PM
1. Yes, when it is outside it will need quite a bit of watering.
2. Put it in a fairly shady place when 1st outside for about a week, then you can put it in slightly sunnier spot. Since I very rarely get above 90 degree weather, I'll suggest that it not get too much sun during that.
3. In Oct. start allowing the potting soil to dry so you can start the dormancy (which is no watering & in a dark place for sometime from 2 to 3 months when the leaves naturally die back to give the nourishment to the bulb.
4. I would transplant to a slighter bigger pot in early spring.
Hope this helps.
Saturday, February 05, 2011 1:55 PM
1. I was blessed with them when I moved in this house! I live in zone 8, and have been here 2 years, going on three, I divided them last year and mulched them, they are just starting to emerge now, what if anything should I do to them now? yes... they all bloom!
2. They have spots!!!! reddish,yellow and brown What to do?
3. Is there anything I can plant with them...they are on the side of the house against the wall between two camillias, or should I just leave it alone?
Thank you, ~Tina
Tuesday, February 15, 2011 9:20 AM
I don't know about colored spots. I wouldn't plant anything with them that might be in the way if you'd need to dig & divide, so for now.....sit back & enjoy!
Thursday, March 10, 2011 9:43 AM
I bought an Amaryllis and potted it per growing instructions. Four leaves grew several months ago, but no flower. I've taken care of it, but I don't know if a flower will ever grow. Can anything be done to speed up the sprout a flower?
Sunday, March 13, 2011 1:32 PM
busygrdn, thank you very much for your reply! I am following your advice. I did not know the reply was here.
Sunday, March 20, 2011 9:57 AM
dibble: if you want to start the dormancy now, you can. however, I recommend (due to the time of year we are at) that you be patient & allow the plant to get more bright light during summer, then start the dormancy in Sept. (bring out of dark in Nov. for X-mas bloom)
Sunday, March 20, 2011 10:48 AM
emahoney: u r very welcome. My flower stalk is giving me FOUR flowers this year. Last year there were 3. They are stunning.
Saturday, April 02, 2011 8:18 AM
I live in tampa fla and I moved a few months ago. I dug up my amaryllis bulbs and planted them here at my new home. When they began to blossom I noticed that I have a double red blossom, can anyone tell me if they have heard of this and if so what is the name of the one plant. Thank You shay
Saturday, April 02, 2011 10:20 AM
A double blossom means the amaryllis is healthy & happy. When all their requirements are met, they let you know with multiple flowers.
Saturday, April 02, 2011 11:13 AM
Thank you for your letter, but its not that I have two single blossoms on one stem, I have, one flower that is doubled, if am not stating this clear I don't know what else to say. The flower is like having one inside the other. Thank You shay
Saturday, April 02, 2011 9:08 PM
There are a few of these Hippeastrum ("Amaryllis") that have double flowers. One is white with some red on the petal edges. The other is a beautiful salmon pink and white double flower called "Lady Jane" I think. There are a few more doubles+ Red Peacock and more. not common, but quite beautiful.
Saturday, April 02, 2011 9:12 PM
Now, I live in southern California. I'm wondering if the fungal infection bothering my amaryllis is common "like a cold" nothing to worry about or if I need to do a "Code Blue" on my bulbs
Saturday, April 02, 2011 9:15 PM
I'm using a new iPad and was sent to another page . . . The fungus name is s? curtsii. Red blotches on bulb, scape, leaves. It's spreading to others.
Sunday, April 03, 2011 8:33 PM
shay51: T Y for explanation & oh how lucky are you... sounds really beautiful.
Thursday, April 14, 2011 5:30 PM
CSue : I guess your not getting an answer from somebody that knows if what happening is a bad problem. Did you check the weeds & diseases category listed up top?
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 7:21 AM
I have an amaryllis plant that I have had for several years. The first couple of years it bloomed, then last year didn't bloom at all. The leaves still looked healthy, so I set it outside last summer anyway. This winter it bloomed again, then after the flowers died the stalk remained very strong and green. I left it on the plant. It started developing 2 pods at the top of the stalk. A couple of weeks ago the pods opened up and there are a lot of seeds inside them. Any ideas if I plant the seeds if they will grow into bulbs? How long will that take? Also, when should I expect the original parent bulb to make baby bulbs? Thanks!
Thursday, May 19, 2011 9:09 PM
Lucky you...I've never gotten seeds so I can't help with that. As to the parent having baby bulbs....I don't know what triggers that to happen, mine has made a bulb baby which I transplanted away from mom bulb, and before it has even flowered, it has started 2 baby bulbs which I shall take away from their mom probably next mo. Perhaps you can connect with a professional amaryllis grower about starting seeds (how deep? etc.) if you wish to try. Thank you for writing on here!
Friday, October 14, 2011 11:58 AM
Now is the time to start thinking about those indoor amaryllis again -of course if you live in zone 7 or higher you get to try planting them outside too after the danger of frost has gone and they will bloom in the garden for oyu in subsequent years! check out www.marlborobulb.com to see the wide range of varieties available now
Have you ever tried 'planting' them over water? Use a wide neck vase that willhold the bulb at the top of the vase at least 6 -10 ins from half an inch of water in the bottom of the vase and then leave them alone! Wait for the magic as the bloom bursts into glory!!!
Saturday, October 15, 2011 9:57 AM
My bulbs are in dormancy now...around the 1st day of fall I had sprayed them with Bayer Advanced Insect killer purchased at Walmart and also soaked the pots in tub of this, then brought them into cellar under lights to dry out some before going into dark area.
Thursday, December 29, 2011 10:23 PM
Last week I brought my bulbs out of dark and soaked each pot in a tub with warm water over night for soil to get moistened, then set on tray of pebbles to drain excess water....now they r under lights.
Wednesday, January 04, 2012 5:08 PM
I was lucky enough to pick up some amaryllis kits cheap this season and my Red Lion just opened today! I'm very happy about that. I do have a question though which I'm sure someone can answer. There was a small offspring bulb on the Apple Blossom bulb. I potted it up and the leaves turned green and appears to be doing nicely. Do I let it keep growing or let it go dormant with the parent in the fall? I know it will take a long time to bloom, but that's gardening, right? I paid five dollars for the parent and it will probably cost over one hundred with pots, medium, fertilizer, and lighting to get this to bloom eventually. I still have to try and would like anyone's input. Thanks a lot everyone for the info I've picked up already!
Wednesday, January 04, 2012 11:18 PM
I am treating my babies(bulblets)the same as the mother plant & they are doing well ... leaves are growing again which is a very good sign.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 8:34 AM
I read in one of the forums that the bulblets are left to keep growing until they bloom which answers my question. My "red lion" has 3 fantastic flowers on it with a small bud in the wait. My "apple blossom" opened one flower last night with one to follow shortly. Being my first year with these, I'm really getting into them and the colors sure liven the place up! There's no reason to wait for spring anymore with these things around. Now I've got "paper white" narcissus going too. Just can't stop. Thanks for all the info and great tips everyone!
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 11:05 AM
You can plant these beauties outside after danger of frost in the south to multiply and bloom in the garden Zones 7 and up. The same with paperwhite narcissus -we had paperwhites blooming en masse from November through to early Jan outside in upstate South Carolina. As well as in pots indoors form this years bulbs. Patricia from Marlboro Bulb Company, Greenwood ,SC
Wednesday, October 17, 2012 9:45 AM
I liked all of this information.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012 8:23 PM
Really nice of you to say that in appreciation of all who shared their experience. Thank you!
Friday, January 04, 2013 1:05 PM
Today is the day that I brought my bulbs out of basement dark corner so they are under the flourescent lights. Then tomorrow I shall begin watering.
Thursday, February 07, 2013 9:42 AM
I have had my Amaryllis for 22 years. I made the mistake once of cutting off all the roots before putting the bulbs into a much larger clay pot. It took 4 years before it would bloom again.It has been many years since then.I stop watering it and keep it sheltered from rain in Sept.Store it in a cool dark basement from Oct-Dec( i like it to bloom in late Jan or Feb. i soak the plant and keep it in indirect sunlight in basement for 2 wks. then bring it up to a cool spot in the house to ajust in temp. slowly another 2 wks. Then direct sunlight and plant food in the 6th week. I don't use lights when i pull it out of the dark. Some years the plant will shoot its tubular stalks the flowers are on(i get 4 red flowers on each stalk) at the same time the leaves are growing but occasionally including this year the leaves grow great(they are about 24 inches now, but no stalks. Why is this? It does need to be divided( i know don't cut the roots)Did i leave it in the dark too long? Not enough light? I am patiently waiting for the stalks to still appear. Should i still divide it even though it has long leaves already or wait a year and do it before i water for the first time in January? Thank you for any answers:) Terri C
Friday, February 08, 2013 11:05 AM
You can separate the offsets from the parent plant after flower stalk is withering or if there is no flower by the end of March. DO NOT cut roots, just transplant as is!
Friday, February 08, 2013 12:16 PM
Thank you busygrdn, that's great news! Thought i would have to wait till Fall to transplant. They are going to abolutely gorgeous in the summer:)There is 9 very large bulbs i would like to separate into 3's. Is it ok to pull on the roots? Breaking a few roots seems unavoidable. Unlike when i separate Hosta bulbs i use a shovel or sharp knife when the shoots first appear in Spring.I know i need to be more gentle with the tender white roots of the Amaryllis. Thank you for any answers:) Terri C
Saturday, February 09, 2013 10:20 AM
Yes, you might damage some of the roots but transplanting in the spring gives them plenty of summer time & summer light to recover.
Saturday, February 09, 2013 4:27 PM
Thank you busygrdn