Amaryllis Planting and Care
Of all flowering bulbs, amaryllis are the easiest to bring to bloom. This can be accomplished indoors or out, and over an extended period of time. The amaryllis originated in South America’s tropical regions and has the botanical name Hippeastrum. The large flowers and ease with which they can be brought to bloom make amaryllis popular and in demand worldwide. The amaryllis comes in many beautiful varieties including various shades of red, white, pink, salmon and orange. There are also many striped and multicolored varieties, usually combining shades of pink or red with white.
• Planting Period: October until the end of April.
• Flowering Period: Late December until the end of June.
• Flowering time is 7-10 weeks.
• Larger bulbs produce more flowers.
• Always store bulbs in a cool place between 40-50 deg. F.
Preparation for Planting
The base and roots of the bulb should be placed in lukewarm water for a few hours. Remember, if you cannot plant the bulbs immediately after receiving them, store them at a cool temperature between 40-50 degrees F.
When you buy an unpotted bulb, select a container that is no more than two inches wider than the bulb. The Amaryllis prefers tight quarters. If the pot is too large, leaves will develop at the expense of flowers. It’s a good idea to weight the bottom of the pot since Amaryllis grow quite tall and can get top heavy. Plant bulbs in a nutritious potting mix. Plant the bulb up to its neck in the potting mix, being careful not to damage the roots. Press the soil down firmly to set the bulb securely in place after planting.
Placement and Watering
Plant the bulb, or place the potted bulb in a warm place with direct light since heat is necessary for the development of the stems. The ideal temperature is 68 to 70 degrees F. Water sparingly until the stem appears, then, as the bud and leaves appear, gradually water more. At this point, the stem will grow rapidly and flowers will develop after it has reached full growth.
Bulbs will flower in 7-10 weeks as a general rule. In winter the flowering time will be longer than in spring. Set up your planting schedule between October and April with this in mind. To achieve continuous bloom, plant at intervals of 2 weeks for stunning color in your home or garden.
After-Flowering do not discard. Your amaryllis bulb may rebloom year after year with a little care. Cut the old flowers from the stem after flowering, and when the stem starts to sag, cut it back to the top of the bulb.
Leaf Growth and Development
Continue to water and fertilize as normal all summer, or for at least 5-6 months, allowing the leaves to fully develop and grow. When the leaves begin to yellow, which normally occurs in the early fall, cut the leaves back to about 2 inches from the top of the bulb and remove the bulb from the soil.
Clean the bulb and place it in a cool (40-50 deg. F), dark place such as the crisper of your refrigerator for a minimum of 6 weeks. Caution: Do not store amaryllis bulbs in a refrigerator that contains apples, this will sterilize the bulbs. Store the bulbs for a minimum of 6 weeks. Plant Again. After 6 weeks you may remove bulbs whenever you would like to plant them. Plant bulbs 8 weeks before you would like them to bloom.