Amaryllis plants produce the most amazing flowers. Some of my readers from warmer climates can grow these beauties outdoors, but in non-tropical climates, Amaryllis are grown indoors. Amaryllis are grown from very large bulbs and are a popular Christmas flower. Often they are packaged in pretty boxes and make great gifts. Follow along today as I share how to grow amaryllis bulbs indoors.
Although amaryllis bulbs are marketed as Christmas flowers, I don’t plant mine until after the holiday season. I don’t have room to get bulbs going with all the Christmas décor. Plus, I love picking up the bulbs on clearance and then having them bloom during the late winter months when I’m sick of winter gloom. There’s nothing more cheery to me than the big, bright blooms of amaryllis flowers in the dead of winter. If you have more than one bulb, it’s fun to stagger out the plantings, so you have several weeks of Amaryllis blooms.
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Supplies for Growing Amaryllis as an Indoor Plant
- Amaryllis Bulb – the size of the bulb matters. Big bulbs = big flowers! So purchase the biggest bulbs you can get.
- Potting Mix – I’m going to try these this year.
- Container with drainage holes and a saucer – use a heavy pot, so it doesn’t tip as the amaryllis grows and becomes top heavy
- Water and Fertilizer
This is my favorite amaryllis ever. Such a showy display of gorgeous blooms! The best part… I purchased this bulb on clearance at Walmart after Christmas for $5. This one was top-heavy and hard to keep upright.
How to Plant Amaryllis Bulbs
According to the internet, there are about 155 different ways to get your Amaryllis bulbs growing (said in jest), but I will just stick with what works for me.
- Fill your container with new potting mix only about a third to half full. For best results, use a quality potting soil.
- Set your bulb in the pot on top of the potting mix like the picture below.
- Add more soil and tamp it down a bit until about 1/3 of the top of the bulb is still showing above the top of the potting mix.
- Sit the pot in the sink and thoroughly water with lukewarm water (add fertilizer at this time). Allow the water to drain completely.
- As the soil settles in around the roots after watering, you may need to add a little more soil. Remember to leave 1/3 to 1/2 of the bulb above the soil.
- Set your pot on a saucer to catch water runoff. If the saucer catches lots of water, be sure to empty it.
- Place the potted bulb in a sunny window.
It’s so exciting to see the new growth emerging from the bulb. In my experience, it usually takes 6-8 weeks before the flower buds start.
My Amazon Amaryllis Bulb Picks (Pssst… they make wonderful gifts)
How to Care For Your Amaryllis
- Water the plant when the soil surface is dry.
- Each time you water allow the plant to drain completely and then empty the saucer.
- Don’t forget to turn your pot, so the flower stalk grows straight.
- To lengthen the bloom time, once your Amaryllis starts blooming, move it away from the sunny window into a location with indirect light. By doing this, I find that the blooms last longer.
- The tall stems and large flowers of amaryllis can get very top-heavy, especially those with double blooms, so they will need to be staked. These stakes are made especially for Amaryllis and don’t detract from the beauty of the plant. I recommend adding the stakes when you plant the bulb, so you don’t puncture the bulb with the stake.
Determining the Bloom Time of Amaryllis
There’s no guaranteed way to determine the bloom time of Amaryllis. In my experience, it usually takes anywhere from six to eight weeks (sometimes less, sometimes more) from the time the bulb is planted until it blooms. Here is a handy chart I put together to make estimating the time easier. So, if you want your Amaryllis to bloom in time for Christmas, the bulb should be planted somewhere around November 1st.
Pick up your free printable Amaryllis Bloom Chart, along with the instructions for growing Amaryllis indoors, in the Gardening Resources Library. Complete the form below for immediate access, as well as access to all of Gingham Gardens’ Gardening Printables.
How to Grow Amaryllis Indoors in Water
- Fill a Glass, Cylinder Vase (the Amaryllis can get quite top heavy as it grows, so the vase needs to be at least 10-12 inches tall) with 2 – 3 inches of pea gravel
- Place the Amaryllis bulb (root side down) on top of the gravel.
- Add some more gravel to help support the bulb, but don’t bury it.
- Add water to the vase so the roots are touching it, but the bulb is not submerged at all. If the bulb sits in water it will rot.
- Watch the water level carefully and add just a little at a time.
What to Do With Your Amaryllis Bulb After It’s Bloomed
Amaryllis bulbs can be expensive, but with proper care, you will be able to grow Amaryllis flowers for years from the same bulb. So now that you know how to grow Amaryllis indoors, what do you do after they’ve finished blooming?
- When the old flowers have faded, cut them off, using a sharp knife or scissors, so they don’t form seeds that will zap energy from the bulb.
- Leave the hollow stem until it turns yellow.
- The green stems will continue to supply energy to the bulb, so don’t cut those off.
- Move the plant back to a sunny location and allow it to continue to grow.
- Continue to water and fertilize.
- In the Spring, when all danger of frost has passed, you can move your Amaryllis plant outdoors.
- Acclimate it to the outdoors just like you would any other plant- starting off in shade and then gradually moving it to full sun.
- Again continue to water and fertilize your Amaryllis plant all summer.
- Bring the plant back inside in early fall before the first frost. This year, my amaryllis got a summer vacation in one of my flower beds. They’re so happy as outdoor plants.
I’m amazed at how big the bulbs grew on their summer vacation. This was the first time I actually planted the bulbs in the ground. It will be exciting to see how many blooms these big babies produce.
Forcing Amaryllis Into a Dormancy Period
Amaryllis flower bulbs don’t really have to have a period of dormancy in order to bloom. But, if you want them to bloom at a certain time, a dormant period is necessary to force them to bloom when you want them to. The flower bulbs should be placed in a cool dark place. It needs to be a dry place too so that the bulbs don’t rot or grow mold. Leave the bulb foliage intact to continue to feed the bulb. Place the entire plant (bulb and leaves) in a paper bag or cardboard box, where they will receive no light. I put my plants or bulbs in the dark basement (the creepy part of the basement) and leave them to go dormant with no light or water for about 2 – 3 months. Then, I bring each dormant bulb out, clip off the dead leaves and plant it about 8 weeks before I want it to bloom. So for me, that’s somewhere between January 1st and January 15th. And, the process starts all over again.
Do You Grow Amaryllis Indoors?
Have you grown Amaryllis indoors? Do you grow them as a Christmas flower, or do you wait and start them later like I do? Leave a comment and let me know. I recently read an article on the Amaryllis Legends and Fun Facts. Check it out, if you’d like to learn more about Amaryllis.
Thanks so much for stopping by Gingham Gardens today. Consider hanging out for awhile. I have a really great Gift Guide for Gardeners for that special gardener in your life… even if it’s you. Oh, and if you like the idea of making DIY gifts, be sure to check out the post DIY Candle Making, it’s easier than you think. There are lots and lots of gardening posts that include Flower Garden makeovers and Flower Garden tours. If you love flowers and gardening, Gingham Gardens is the place for you.
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