In this amaryllis care article, you will learn some important background facts about the amaryllis plant, how to care for amaryllis plants indoors, some of the best species to buy and some trouble shooting tips.
Amaryllis [ pronounced a·mr·i·luhs ] is a genus of the sub-tribe Amaryllidinae. This small genus is characterized by flowering bulbs.
One of its species, the Amaryllis belladonna, originates from the Western Cape area in South Africa. Others are native to Peru.
This elegant bulbous plant has bulbs that grow between 2 and 4 inches in diameter. Its foliage is consisted of strap-shaped green leaves that can grow between 12 and 20 inches in length and 1 and 2 inches in width.
The amaryllis bulb has leafless stems that bear clusters of 2 to 12 flowers at the top-they’re shaped like funnels. Each of them has 6 tepals and their usual color is white with crimson red veins; however, purple or pink can also occur.
It’s not too demanding to take care of and the amaryllis flowers are really beautiful and rewarding, so it’s not uncommon to see it growing indoors. It needs good soil, proper watering, and sufficient bright, but indirect light to thrive.
A good choice is a support stake so that the blooms go upright. It’s one of the holiday favorites thanks to its fragrant and stunning bloom.
It blooms in winter around Christmas or Valentine’s Day. They’re really amazing when they blossom in the colder, greyer months.
You can find them in November and December in grocery stores, flower shops, gift shops, etc. either bare or planted.
In many stores, they’re sold with pot, bulb, and soil, making them an ideal gift idea too. In addition to good looks, the amaryllis also has some air-purifying properties to offer.
The word amarysso is Greek and it means ‘to sparkle’. The bulbs were brought in Europe back in the 1700s. Today, most amaryllis plants are hybrids.
Important to know:
Make sure you put them away from the reach of children and pets such as cats and dogs-the plant’s leaves and flowers are toxic!
How to Care for Amaryllis Plants
An amaryllis plant can tolerate sun and shade well; however, they usually do better in a between atmosphere.
For example- a partial shade. On the other hand, excessive sunlight can burn the foliage whereas too much shade will reduce the flowering.
To ensure the bulb establishes roots quickly, place it in an area of your home with warm and nice temperature, 68 degrees F or higher.
The plant tends to bloom even better afterwards. Although it can do in lower temperatures than this, it won’t thrive as much.
Once the buds and leaves have sprouted and the plant is growing faster, you can move it in an area where there’s a lower temperature.
This is good for its overall sustainability and in this way, you can enjoy its blooming a little longer.
Water & Humidity
After planting the bulbs, water it thoroughly and place the plant in a bright and warm area.
Until new growth appears, water it sparingly. After new growth appears, make sure to water it more regularly.
The plant will do well in most indoor areas with normal humidity; still, in case of too dry air in your home, pebbles and a tray with water may be a smart choice.
This bulb loves to grow in a soil that drains well. One way to boost the drainage is to create raised beds or add some organic matter such as compost or peat.
Amended soil is also nutritious and will give amaryllis the nutrients they need to grow healthy and happy.
Fertilize your amaryllis every month with a liquid houseplant balanced fertilizer. Do it according to the instructions on the label for best outcome.
This plant will do the best when it’s slightly root-bound. So, you should only repot it when the bulb is too close to the container’s edge. It’s best to do it before the bloom season, i.e. in early fall.
Choose a pot which will give the bulbs about an inch of space to each side.
When it’s repotting time, take out the bulb and cut off roots if necessary. Set the bulbs in water, up to the roots and leave it for 12 hours to speed up the process of blooming.
Then, plant it in the new amaryllis pot and leave 1/3 of the bulb free of soil. Keep on watering it and tending to it as it grows and soon enough, you’ll spot winter blooms.
Amaryllis can be propagated in 4 ways, that is, through seeds, offsets and bulb cuts, and tissue culture.
Propagating them through seeds is doable, but expect between 3 and 5 years before you see flowers.
The offsets should be dug out and divided when the foliage dies in autumn. Divide the bulbs and choose firmer and at least one third-size of the mother bulb. Replant the offsets as soon as you can.
If you choose to do it through cuts, do it in midsummer and fall. Go with bulbs that are at least 6 inches in diameter. Cut them vertically into several pieces and ensure each section has at least 2 scales.
The last method, although it’s common on a commercial scale, at home, there’s little chance to make it as you need experience and proper equipment.
Best Amaryllis Species
This is a beautiful and pleasant variety with candy-striped flowers and orange-red markings.
This is one of the most impressive amaryllis-it has large, red flowers adorned with a white star shape and a light green throat.
Red Nymph Amaryllis
This exclusive hybrid boasts big red double bloom flowers-they’ll make a statement in winter with their dark red color against the white snow outside.
Other Amaryllis Indoor Care Tips
To encourage blooming indoors during winter, move the bulb to a sunny window with at least 4 hours of direct sun exposure.
Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. When the buds begin to form and show color, move them away from the window to a shadier location.
Amaryllis is a sub-tropical plant and does enjoy warmth- this is why it’s never a bad idea to place it close or above your heater, especially in the first weeks after you plant the bulb.
When growth is established, you can move it away to a less warm temperature. After its flowers fade, cut off the stems.
Keep on watering and feeding the plant, but reduce the watering. Leave the bulb to rest and store it in paper bag in a dry area for at least 60 days before you plant it in fresh soil, around 6 weeks before you want it to bloom.
Trouble Shooting- Common Issues
Problem: reddish or brown spots on the bulb
Cause: Fungal disease.
Solution: The best treatment is prevention to lower the incidence-use sterile potting soil and avoid wetting the foliage when watering the plant.
You can also use an appropriate fungicide.
Problem: poor flower growth
Cause: Too much watering before top growth begins, a soil low in nutrients, inadequate area or underwatering.
Solution: Try to resolve the problem through a process of elimination- reduce the watering, use a soil that’s nutrient-rich, place it in the right area or water it on a regular schedule.
Problem: wilted or deformed foliage after being kept outside
Cause: Outdoor insects, probably the narcissus bulb fly went into the soil and then into the bulb.
Solution: It’s best to destroy and take out that bulb from your collection.
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