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How to Grow Amaryllis Indoors (The Perfect Winter Flower)

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.

Red Amaryllis

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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.

Double White Amaryllis

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.

Planting an Amaryllis Bulb

  • 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.

Amaryllis Starting to Grow

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.

Amaryllis Bloom Time Chart

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.

Amaryllis on Summer Vacation in the Vegetable Garden

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.

Amaryllis bulbs

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.

White Amaryllis

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.

Joanna

p.s. Follow Gingham Gardens on Pinterest for lots of great gardening ideas and tons of gardener’s eye candy. Gingham Gardens is also on Facebook – come say “hi.”

Pins to Share:

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How to Grow Amaryllis Indoors

42 Comments

  1. I’ve grown amaryllis for years. I treat them just like any other houseplant. I don’t give them a dormant time and they bloom reliably for me every year, usually sometime in March through May (that is their usual bloom time in areas where they are hardy). I do put them outside in bright indirect sunlight in the Spring and Summer. I’ve even grown them from seed, which is very amazing. All you have to do is float the seeds in water. After a couple weeks you’ll see a tiny root going down into the water and then a tiny leaf pops out at the top. Place them on top of the soil, with just the root in the soil and voila, many more amaryllis. It was fun to watch them grow and mature and then bloom for the first time. Each was a little different from the parent plant and had their own “personality.”

    1. Thanks so much for your very informative comment on growing amaryllis indoors. I especially love how you start your own from seed. Thanks again and happy growing, Joanna

  2. My Amaryllis are all done blooming. I have purchased grow sacks thinking I would plant them until it is nice enough to put outside, which will be a while here in Iowa. We purchased Miracle Grow for indoor plants and starting planting. However, after a week we noticed nats everywhere! My husband took the planted one’s and our them in the garage where they get no light. What should we do?

  3. I received mine for Christmas and did as the instructions said. They’ve grown nice long leaves but no bulb stem at all. It’s been 8 weeks since planting. Would love to have some help on what I did wrong.

    Thank you
    Niki phillips

    1. Hi Niki – unfortunately you didn’t do anything wrong at all. Sometimes you just get a dud bulb. Try sitting it outside this summer and water and fertilize it just like you would your outdoor plants. In the fall take it indoors and store it in a dark place. Then bring it out about 6-8 weeks before you want it to bloom. I’ll be next year you’ll get blooms. Good luck! Joanna

  4. I. have a couple of questions on my Amaryllis. Some did not send up flower pods, just leaves will they flower next year? I am growing them in water, can I put them outside in the spring in dirt, and bring them inside for Christmas? I have one question on forcing tulips too. I have a few bulbs that look like the have some mold, they are not touching water, should I discard them?

    1. Hi Marilyn – Yes, move your Amaryllis outside for the summer and let them soak up some sun. I usually bring mine indoors in fall and put them in a dark place so they go dormant. Then bring them out about 6 – 8 weeks before I want them to bloom. I too have had bulbs that just sent up leaves and didn’t bloom. Sometimes that just happens. If you tulip bulbs are mushy, I would toss them. If you can scrape the mold off and they are otherwise fine, go ahead and give them a try. Thanks for stopping by! Happy gardening, Joanna

  5. OOOOOOOOOO what a perfectly timed post. I received one for Christmas and am anxiously awaiting to see what it does. Can’t wait. Thank you for your information.

  6. This is my first year growing Amaryllis, hyacibtgs, tulips, and appetites indoors. I have an Amary Lois to my DUO in November for her birtgday, it shot up blooms right away. Mine, no blooms just leaves.P so far.

    I purchased several Amaeylkis after Christmas for next yeat. Can they remain in the refrigerator until soring, the plant outside? Or do I need to force them now?

    Thanks for the help

    1. Hi Marilyn – thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens! There’s no need to refrigerate Amaryllis bulbs and you can totally go ahead and get them going now. I will start mine this weekend. It will be so nice to have some cheery Amaryllis blooms in the house when it’s still dreary outdoors. Happy winter gardening, Joanna

  7. Hi Joanna,

    Thanks for the info. My kids gave me an amaryllis for Christmas. I’m definately looking forward to a beautiful journey filled with colour.

    Great tips. Thank you

    1. Hi Belinda – Thanks for stopping by and Merry Christmas! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. You’ll love watching your amaryllis grow. Just beware it can become an addiction and you’ll want another, then another… Happy gardening, Joanna

  8. I gave an amaryllis to my dad when he was very sick. He watched it daily and marked off how much it grew every day. The day the first bloom opened was the day he died. We took the plant to the funeral and set it by the casket. My mom took it home and cared for it. It bloomed every year for her until she was no longer able to care for it.

    Needless to say, these plant have very special meaning for me.

  9. This is my favorite Christmas gift for shut-ins.–Gives them something to look forward to each day–how much their plant has grown almost overnight. I’ve always kept one for home and we all enjoyed watching it grow.–some really good life lessons to discuss can be taken from the Amaryllis growth: with time a grungy-looking bulb produces a beautiful, awesome blossom; sometimes it seems there is nothing but greenery, then surprise, the bulb casing appears–all wonders of creation and God’s plan. In fact, I’ve seem the at the grocery for a week–think I’ll buy one now for my Mother for a Christmas bloom-time! Your information is wonderful!

  10. What a coincidence! My friend just asked me if I would like her four Amarylllis bulbs that she has wintered over for years. She is cutting down on her gardening chores. I plan to get them at quilting this week and will save them to bloom in late January when the winter doldrums set in. Love to see the blooms against the snow in my bay window. Thanks for the great information.

  11. Joanne, My Amaryllis bulbs just arrived yesterday so the I info was right on time. No matter how many years I have grown these I,always forget some part of the process. These I got I want to bloom for Christmas so the timetable was great. I have others going into the dormant stage I will get blooms from in Feb _ April. So much fun to watch them grow. Glad you are enjoying your visit to my state.

    1. Hi Kathy – I’m so happy my Amaryllis article was timely for you. We had a wonderful time in the Carolinas and the weather behaved perfectly! Happy fall, Joanna

  12. I love amaryllis. One year a $5 bulb from WalMart produced bloom after bloom of the brightest red on the kitchen counter, but time got away from me and the bulbs rotted. They say caring people love their plants too much and over water. I have a couple of pots in the yard and they do get tall and floppy. It’s really nice in the south to drive by a yard with them in bloom. They tend to spread, so we share.

    1. Hi Myrna – I would love to be able to grow Amaryllis in my gardens, but I just settle for the big, bright blooms in the winter. Happy fall, Joanna

  13. I love Amaryllis. Someone gave me one when my mother died and I just loved it. I love watching them grow. They are amazing. Thank you for the information. Found you at To Grandma’s House We Go.

    1. Hi Amy, thanks for stopping by. I’m so happy you enjoyed my Amaryllis post. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving.

  14. Have a question—left my 3 bulbs out a little late this this, and the top of the bulb is soft—did I kill them? or can I salvage them yet for the coming spring?

    1. Hi Betty – my guess is your bulbs aren’t any good. However, there’s nothing lost with hanging onto them and trying them again. Good luck and thanks for stopping by.

      1. Joanne, Got my tulips and daffodils in and potted up 4 Christmas blooming Amaryllis before I had to have some surgery this week. Back home and recovering. Pouring rain and thunderstorms here in N.C. for a soggy Halloween. Next week we get cold.

    1. Hello Jayne- thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. Yes, you are so lucky you can grow Amaryllis outdoors. I do love these beauties!

  15. Have been nurturing the same pot of amaryllis for 15+ years. Sunset magazine had an article which I have followed carefully. Big point was to CROWD the bulbs and, yes, leave top 1/3 exposed. I start watering ours in late March after returning from down south. And the pot goes outside onto a dappled shade terrace for the summer with regular water and fert. About five years ago, I dug out some of the dirt and replaced it, but it made no difference in growth or bloom. Interestingly, my bulbs bloom in alternate years. Solid red last year and I expect the red-striped white blooms this coming spring. They are amazing. Our down south neighbors have a ten-foot long window box crowded with red ones that bloom in mid-March.

    1. Pam, that is so awesome that you’ve had one plant for so long. I’ll bet that is one huge bulb. Thanks for stopping by.

  16. My mother in law bought me one last year and I loved it! I put it in the basement after it was done blooming. I’m excited to see if it will come back this year! Do you think I should repot the bulbs with new soil, or is it ok to just pull the whole pot out and place on the windowsill? I’m going to put my pot out after Christmas as well, loved seeing those flowers in February.

    1. Hi Tiffany, I wouldn’t repot the bulb. Just give it a good watering until the soil expands back to the sides of the pot and some fertilizer and then put it in a sunny window. I love seeing the big beautiful flowers in the dead of winter. Thanks for stopping by.

  17. Great post! I have grown an amaryllis for Christmas yearly for a long time but I never save the bulbs. I should give it a try. I hope this new way that I came across goes well although I have learned that the bulbs won’t produce again with that method. I know some people in the south that plant them like we do with lilies and they come back each year but of course up north here it won’t happen! Thanks for the shout-out!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Liz. I stopped by a Home Depot yesterday to see if I could find one of those amaryllis bulbs and they didn’t have them. I’ll look again though, because I really want to try one in a tall cylinder vase like you did. Thanks for the great idea!

      1. I just found them at ACE hardware. I’ve never grown them before. But I planted it Friday before reading this post. I wanted to do water, but it came with a compressed dirt pod, so I ended up with a combination of pebbles in the bottom of my base with the dirt on top. Didn’t know the fertilizer was so crucial. Is Miracle Grow ok?

        1. Hi Alison, fertilizer isn’t all that necessary for new bulbs, but I usually use Miracle Gro Bloom Booster on my bulbs that I’ve had for a few years. Good luck with your Amaryllis and thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens. Joanna

  18. My 1st experience with these were a few years ago as a gift at Xmas 🙂 Loved seeing them bloom later on in the winter

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