Your amaryllis care guide to help you make the holidays bright
Amaryllis bulbs are some of the easiest bulbs to flower in the winter. Its gorgeous blooms make a dramatic centerpiece or decor item – whether you choose to place the plant on a sofa table, a console, or front and center of your dining table. Fortunately, caring for amaryllis is relatively easy, and this is a forced bloomer that you can also allow to remain dormant and bloom again the following year.
Be careful if you have pets
Amaryllis are toxic to cats and dogs, so you’ll need to keep your amaryllis plants out of areas your pets can access, or re-gift your flowers to a pet-free home.
Are you ready to get the basics of amaryllis care? Here’s how to help it thrive longer and thrive indoors — and how to help it have a second (or tenth) act.
Related: How to Force Bulbs to Brighten for the Winter
What is amaryllis?
Amaryllis plants grow from bulbs, producing large, trumpet-shaped flowers in shades of red and pink, along with prickly leaves. The “real” amaryllis plant came from Africa, but most of what you see in stores is actually Hippeastrum, which comes from South America.
How to care for amaryllis plants
Amaryllis bulbs can be planted in soil, or they can be grown when placed on top of pebbles or marble in a bowl of water – although if you plant the bulb this way, it may not be strong enough to grow back and bloom again (but it will still be great while it’s still growing). ). It lasts!
The pot you choose should be close to the size of the bulb, as amaryllis do not need a lot of room for roots.
Make sure the pot has plenty of drainage. Although amaryllis love water, leaving the bulb in overly saturated soil or water may cause the bulb to rot. You will need to fertilize the plant regularly with a high-phosphorus fertilizer to help the amaryllis plant grow.
You’ll need to place your amaryllis plant in a warm spot in your home, with a bright, sunny windowsill to help it grow.
Once your plant begins to flower, move it out of direct sunlight to help the flowers last a little longer.
Consider transferring your amaryllis to a vase
Amaryllis can last longer as a cut flower, so consider cutting them and displaying them in a vase instead. (You will need to update the water regularly to extend the life of your flowers.)
RELATED: Extend the life of your flowers with these 6 florist-approved secrets
Caring for amaryllis after flowering
If you want your amaryllis to last more than one season, you’ll need to follow a few steps to help the bulb conserve energy for a new round of growth.
Remove wilted flowers. If you don’t, the plant will go to seed and much of its energy will be directed toward seed formation.
Move it back to a sunny location. This allows the plant’s leaves to continue producing energy for the bulb and growth.
Cut the rest of the amaryllis stem back when it turns yellow. While it is green, it still produces energy to store in the bulb.
Follow the amaryllis care program above. Continue to fertilize and water your plant to promote growth.
Place your plant outside during the summer. Extra sun and warmth can help promote growth.
Leave it in a cool, dark place to help you determine the flowering time. Placing your amaryllis plant in a cool, dark place for two to three months in the lead up to December can help promote new flowers. Bring it out of hibernation a month to six weeks before it wants to bloom and start watering and fertilizing it again.
Caring for Waxed Amaryllis Bulbs
One of the coolest new ways to display amaryllis is to coat individual bulbs with wax, and place them on a base or tray. Amaryllis bulbs treated in this way don’t need watering, fertilizing, or any other care, so it’s a great way to send some flowers to family members who appreciate beauty but don’t want to care about flowers.
In most cases, this is a single bulb, as the wax prevents the amaryllis bulb from taking root. But some gardeners have had luck by carefully removing the wax, placing the bulbs on a tray with a wet paper towel, and planting the bulbs in soil once roots begin to form.
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