Like all plants, amaryllis have specific preferences when it comes to watering, feeding, location and temperature. These factors must be taken into consideration to give her the best possible care. Follow our advice, and you can help your amaryllis grow all year long and even bloom again. Here’s how to care for amaryllis.
How to care for amaryllis
Amaryllis are less fussy than most plants when it comes to watering, but they still require regular care. You should water the soil around the bulb until it reaches the tray or saucer underneath; Leave the soil moist rather than soggy or wet. Then, once drained, squeeze any excess water out of the tray. The soil must be left to dry before watering again. Avoid overwatering the amaryllis or the bulb will rot.
You can tell when an amaryllis plant is thirsty because the top two inches of soil will be dry to the touch, and you can use your finger to check for this. How often your plant needs to be watered depends on the ambient temperature of the room and its location. However, as a general rule, twice a week is the norm.
You can also fertilize amaryllis to help promote growth, by doing so every few weeks with a liquid indoor fertilizer made for houseplants, such as Miracle-Gro Indoor Plant Food ($5.97, Amazon). Follow the instructions for dilution.
Location and temperature
Amaryllis love a bright environment, but do not expose it to direct sunlight for too long or you will risk burning its leaves. Ideally, you need indirect sunlight or early morning sun, so an east-facing window sill would be ideal. They will grow happily in temperatures between 50-55°F, but warmer temperatures of 70-75°F will speed things up. These plants require moderate humidity levels, so don’t worry about misting them.
Of course, amaryllis can also be grown outside when the temperature allows as well. Just make sure it gets indirect sunlight and partial shade during the day. When the temperature drops, you will need to either bring your amaryllis plant back indoors, or take measures to protect it from frost over the coming months. Placing your amaryllis outside during the summer can help promote fresh blooms later in the year.
You will need to keep an eye on pests as well because all types of visitors can make a home for your amaryllis. Mealybugs and spider mites are very common, look for small white beetles and downy webbing for evidence of this. Bulb mites can also burrow their way into bulbs and cause irreparable damage. Obtain the necessary insecticide to deal with it and quarantine your plant away from others until it is clear.
Red spot is also a known problem. This fungal disease leaves red spots on the leaves and the bulb itself, which ultimately weakens growth. Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done if your amaryllis plant shows symptoms.
5. Pruning — Once the amaryllis has finished flowering and the stem begins to turn yellow, you will need to prune it again. Use a pair of your best pruning shears—be sure to use a bypass rather than an anvil—to cut the stem diagonally about an inch above the bulb. It is best to cut diagonally because any water will seep out of the cut in the future.
If you want your amaryllis to bloom again, which is entirely possible, you can help. In general, these plants require between 6 and 10 weeks to bloom, so if you want them to bloom in time for the holidays, you’ll have to start working on them from early fall.
You want your amaryllis plants to be outside during the summer months for the best chance of growing new flowers. Then, from the beginning of September, slowly reduce the amount of water and fertilizer – this tricks it into the dormant phase, which will last several weeks. The leaves will turn brown and die, but don’t be alarmed; Just cut these off when they happen. Then from mid-end of October, you can move the amaryllis indoors and start watering again. This will prompt the amaryllis to bloom again.
If you receive an amaryllis plant as a gift, it will likely come with its own potting soil. However, if you want to replant your amaryllis in the future, which is only required every two years or so, you will need to use a well-drained, specialized potting soil, such as Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix ($12.99, Amazon). This will allow your plant to access the nutrients it needs.
Ideally, you want the soil to be slightly acidic, between 6.0 and 6.5 on the pH scale. Feel free to use a soil testing kit, such as the SONKIR Soil pH Meter ($9.99, Amazon) to confirm this. If you are replanting your amaryllis, it is always a good idea to upgrade from plastic to terra cotta. Terracotta is much more porous than plastic, which means the soil inside has better access to oxygen and it dries more quickly too, preventing root rot. Furthermore, terracotta is generally much heavier than plastic, which will help support your plant as it grows tall and top-heavy. You can also plant a stake or cane in the soil to help keep your plant upright if necessary. Whatever pot you use, make sure it has drainage holes so water can flow through it.
Remember, when you first plant an amaryllis bulb, you don’t want to completely submerge it in the soil – leave the top third of the bulb exposed and make sure it’s pointed straight up for growth. Ideally, you should leave about an inch of soil around the bulb.
For more planting tips, tricks and advice, check out our guides on how to prune hydrangeas, how to care for succulents, and how to plant sunflower seeds.