Amaryllis Plant – Care, Growing, Watering, Flowering, Propagation
The amaryllis plant can be a wonderful outdoor plant in warmer climates, but it’s also an excellent houseplant that can be grown indoors during the winter and moved outside during summer.
Its blooms are available in an exuberance of colors and make splendid holiday centerpieces, or simply a houseplant whose flowers you can admire for as many as 60 days.
Caring for the amaryllis is quite easy, but you may want to make sure you’re up to speed with its keeping requirements before you attempt to cultivate this plant.
Read my amaryllis plant care guide below and learn to successfully grow this plant indoors.
Amaryllis Plant Care Tips
A sun-loving plant that can be grown just as easily inside or out, the amaryllis has a few straightforward requirements that are easy to meet, even by a beginner gardener.
The Amaryllis plant can reach a maximum size of 3 feet. Depending on the variety, the plant usually grows at a size between one and three feet. The blooms can be single or double and range from 4 inches to 10 inches.
Amaryllis blooms are available in a wide range of colors including white, red, salmon, apricot, deep burgundy, purple. Bicolor versions — with the edges of the bloom being a different color than the center — are also available.
When selecting amaryllis bulbs go for the bigger and firmer bulbs. These will produce the most stalks and blooms.
If you’re growing this plant indoors, choose a sunny location. A sunny windowsill is ideal for this plant. The plant prefers bright direct to indirect light.
Full sun is desirable for this plant for around 6 hours a day. This will ensure healthy blooms. To make sure stalks are developing uniformly, rotate the pot periodically, so all sides get the right amount of sun exposure.
The watering requirements of the amaryllis can be described as moderate to low. The soil should be kept moist, without giving the plant an excessive amount of water.
During the growing season in spring and early summer, the bulb requires slightly damp soil. When the foliage wilts, the plant is signaling its transition to a dormancy period.
During this time, you need to cut back on water to help the transition. This is also a way to control blooming in the plant. Keeping the plant in a cool, dark place and cutting back water for 8-12 weeks.
After this period, place the plant in a warm sunny location, resume watering and you can expect it to bloom again.
Therefore, whether you want to induce blooming or just simply control when the amaryllis blooms, this method can help you achieve a controlled blooming.
Water the soil when the top soil starts to feel dry. Let the water drain, so the bulb does not sit too much in water.
Temperature & Humidity
Amaryllis will thrive in average room temperature that’s between 55-70 F. Its humidity requirements are average, so unless your home is extremely dry, there aren’t any special humidity requirements you need to offer.
Amaryllis bulbs do best if they’re slightly crowded. They don’t need all that potting medium and the potting medium that they do need should be draining well.
The soil should not have a high water retaining capacity, otherwise, if the bulbs sit in soil that is overly damp, it could lead to the rotting of the bulbs.
A good potting medium would include perlite, loam, and organic material, or sand, loam, and compost.
Use a liquid houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength to feed the plant during the growing season. If you want to promote blooming, use a fertilizer with a high phosphorus content.
Potting & Repotting
The amaryllis does best if it’s slightly pot bound. You can go as many as 3 to 4 years without repotting. Schedule repotting after a dormancy period and pot in a slightly larger pot.
Amaryllis Plant Propagation
Amaryllis can be propagated from seed, bulbs and cuttage. Since propagation via seeds takes a very long time, especially until the plant blooms, I’m going to discuss the other two methods, which are much easier.
Amaryllis bulblets can be used to propagate the plant. Simply search for firm individual bulb offsets that can be separated from the mother bulb. Make sure the bulblets are at least a third of the mother bulb.
In the second half of summer to fall, you can propagate amaryllis plants from cuttage. The way this works is by vertically cutting amaryllis bulbs that are at least 6 inches, into four pieces. Make sure that each section has at least two scales.
Plant the cuttage with the basal plate facing down, and cover with moist soil. The cuttage should be kept in a shady and moist area until you notice bulblets forming. This can take around 4-8 weeks.
Different Types of Amaryllis Plant
If you’re looking to diversify your amaryllis plant collection or simply add a few different color varieties, here are the different types of amaryllis plant I recommend:
– Red Pearl Amaryllis
Possibly the most recognizable variety, the Red Pearl has an intense red bloom that makes an excellent gift plant or a centerpiece plant during holidays.
– Alfresco Amaryllis
With double blooms that are chalky white with a green centre, the Alfresco is a simple and elegant Amaryllis variety that will look excellent as a houseplant or an outdoor plant.
– Striped Amadeus Amaryllis
With double blooms that are chalk-white and bright red edges that look like they bleed into the center of the bloom, the Striped Amadeus has striped-speckled flowers that contrast beautifully with the green stalks of the plant.
– Picotee Amaryllis
This amaryllis variety looks a lot like the striped Amadeus in that the blooms are white with red edges, except on the Picotee the intense red color is limited to the edges only, without “bleeding into” the center of the blooms.
– Fantasica Amaryllis
With single blooms in salmon red and a white stripe that goes across the middle of each petal, the Fantastic amaryllis variety is another festively colored amaryllis variety.
– Grand Diva Amaryllis
If you’re looking for an amaryllis variety, the grand diva features deep purple blooms. Another variety, the Papilio, combines this deep purple color with white and green to create an elaborately striped bloom.
There are 500 different amaryllis varieties, so you’re bound to find a variety of colors and color combinations to match your specific taste.
Still have some burning questions left about caring for amaryllis plans? See if I covered them in the FAQ section below:
Is Amaryllis Toxic to Pets?
Yes, the amaryllis bulb is toxic to cats and dogs, so make sure to keep it out of reach if you have pets in the house or in the garden. Ingestion can cause vomiting, depression, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and even tremors.
Why is my Amaryllis Leaning Towards one Side?
Your Amaryllis may be leaning to one side either because it has become top heavy and it’s toppling over, or because it’s reaching towards the light.
Move your plant to a sunnier location or rotate the pot so it’s evenly getting light from all sides. If it’s leaning because it’s top heavy, you need to stake it, so it stays upright.
Do Amaryllis Plants Need to go Dormant?
It’s not necessary to let your Amaryllis plant go dormant. If it doesn’t go into a resting period it may simply bloom again. But if it doesn’t, make sure to let it ‘rest’ by moving it to a dark colder location for 8 weeks to stimulate blooming. Make sure to withhold water during the dormancy period.
Why my Amaryllis Has Long Stalks but no Buds in Sight.
Some Amaryllis plants will grow long stalks without any blooms in sight. Don’t worry, this isn’t something out of the ordinary.
Simply continue to care for the plant, make sure it gets plenty of sunshine and it will bloom eventually. Bear in mind that it may take up to 12 weeks from planting for the amaryllis bulbs to bloom.
You can stimulate blooming with a fertilizer high in phosphorus or if you want your Amaryllis to rebloom, make sure you put it through a dormancy period.
Is the Amaryllis Prone to Diseases and Pests?
Pests are not very common if Amaryllis are grown indoors, but there are a few to watch out for including the narcissus bulb fly (Merodon spp.) and fungus gnat.
As for diseases, watch for signs of Red blotch (Stagonospora curtisii). These include red spots of blotches on the base of flower stalks and new leaves.
The Amaryllis needs plenty of sunshine and average room temperature to grow and bloom. While they’re great as outdoors plants too, they’re not resistant to frost, so bring them back inside if temperatures fall close to 50 F.
With 500 different varieties and hybrids, choices of amaryllis plants abound, allowing fans of the plant to pick and choose their preferred variety based on height, bloom type and color.