When the days grow short and the mercury drops, growing stately amaryllis indoors can instantly add a festive air to any decor with a welcome splash of color.
For many families, growing an amaryllis every day for the holidays is a tradition. Usually, shortly before Thanksgiving, stores will start to sell amaryllis kits and bulbs to grow in time for Christmas. The tropical flowering plant produces large trumpet-like flowers that have become synonymous with the season. The plants are easy to grow and often given as gifts for young and old alike.
All About Amaryllis Flowers
Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) consists of several species. The plant originated in South Africa and usually produces four to six large, trumpet-like flowers on a single hollow stem.
On occasion, you’ll encounter a smaller, similar plant known as Amaryllis belladonna which boasts six to 12 smaller flowers on a single, solid stem.
The blooms of the amaryllis range in color from white, red, pink, peach, or bicolor the flowers are either singular or double with several sets of petals that create a full, ruffled blossom.
In cold, northern climates, the amaryllis is grown strictly indoors during the winter months but when the weather starts to warm up then it can be moved outdoors.
If you live in U.S. plant hardiness zones 9 to 11 then you can grow amaryllis outdoors year-round. However, when grown outside, they typically bloom in the spring and not around the holidays. If you want to grow amaryllis for Christmas, then you’ll want to follow these steps:
Purchase an amaryllis bulb that appears clean and dry. Ideally, it should have lots of roots sprouting from the base. You can order amaryllis bulbs online or purchase them at popular retailers and department stores.
The best bulbs measure a minimum of 24 centimeters in diameter. Every bulb will produce one to two flower stalks.
The bigger bulbs typically grow two stalks, so you’ll enjoy more flowers with a larger bulb. On occasion, you can find bulbs that measure a whopping 34 centimeters and will produce an outstanding bloom display with four flower stalks.
- Choose a pot that measures about 4 centimeters wider than the bulb. The pot should be heavy because the amaryllis can grow tall and become top-heavy so will tip over a lighter pot. If you are planting more than one bulb in a container, make sure the bulbs are spaced at least two centimeters part.
- Use a sterile potting soil mix. Moisten the soil and place the bulb into the mixture. Add more soil so that about ⅓ of the top of the bulb is exposed.
- It takes four to six weeks for the blooms to appear after planting.
- Keep the soil moist but not overly wet. If the flower stalk becomes too top-heavy with blooms, then tie the flower stalk to a garden stake to provide additional support.
- Snip away flower heads as they start to fade and discard. Removing the flower heads keeps them from going to seed so the bulb does not waste energy on seed production and instead conserves its energy for next year’s flower display.
- Cut back the flower stalk after the flowers are spent. You can keep the plant for its tropical foliage as a house plant until next year when it will again bloom.
In late summer, the amaryllis does require a resting period so clip away the foliage and store the plant in a cool, dark place until late October. Let the soil dry out during the resting period. After the rest, you can bring out the amaryllis and start the cycle all over again to ensure holiday flowers.
If you have questions about plant nutrients, please contact Humboldts Secret Supplies for more information.