Amaryllis are a popular blooming plant to give in the winter because of the color they add to a home during the harsh cold months. They can produce flowers in mid-winter in bright, vibrant colors. Most popularly, they come in red (given during Christmas), but are also seen in pink, white, salmon and some bi-color varieties. The amaryllis’ trumpet-shaped flowers bloom 6 to 10 inches on 1 to 2 foot stalks. They’re the perfect size for an office desk or end table in a home.
Caring for Amaryllis Indoors
When purchased as an indoor plant, Amaryllis can be planted in any heavy pot (lighter pots may tip over, as the flowers are top heavy), with any good potting soil. The soil should be high in organic matter, but also drain well. They require regular watering and bright, indirect sunlight to prolong the life of the flowers.
When growing amaryllis from bulbs, carefully select the largest bulbs available – they will produce more stalks and blooms in the first yer. The bulbs should also be firm and dry, with no signs of mold, decay or injury.
The container you choose should be heavy and deep enough to allow room for root development and drainage. The pot should be about one inch larger than that of the bulb – which may seem small, but is what the amaryllis prefers. One-third to one-half of the bulb should be placed above the soil, and surrounding soil should be firmed and watered thoroughly. When growing the bulbs, they should be placed in a warm, sunny spot and should not be fertilized until they begin to grow. Fertilize regularly, and move to indirect sunlight as blooms begin to show color.
If you’d like to prepare your Amaryllis to bloom in the next year, the secret is to keep the plants actively growing after they have finished blooming. First, after the trumpet blooms have faded, cut them to prevent seed formation. Do not remove the flower stalk until it has turned yellow – this will help create food that is stored in the bulb. If the bulb doesn’t produce a flowering stalk in the next blooming period, it has not stored enough nutrients during the post-blooming period. Place the bulb in direct sunlight, preferably the brightest spot possible indoors. You should water the plant thoroughly whenever the top two inches of soil is dry to the touch, and continue to fertilize regularly. Empty any excess water that drains from the pot – wet soil can create root and bulb rot.
When all danger of frost is past, it’s time to acclimate the plant to the outdoors. First, place the plant in shade or indirect light and gradually move it to a bright garden or bed where it will receive full sun for at least 6 hours daily. Sink the pot into the soil and fertilize with a houseplant fertilizer monthly to build up nutrients for flower production. Be sure to bring the plants back indoors before the first frost of the fall. They do not require a resting period, as they will bloom if kept evergreen.
Blooming time can be controlled, however, if you allow the bulb to go through a resting period. After bringing the potted plants indoors, store them in a dark place (like a basement or closet) and do not water. DO NOT remove the foliage until it has become completely dry and shriveled. The bulbs can be forced into bloom again after resting for eight to twelve weeks, and then watered thoroughly. You should inspect the bulbs regularly and bring them into light if new growth appears. Flowers usually develop in approximately four to 6 weeks, and can be timed to flower at Christmas or Valentine’s Day.
“Amaryllis: How to Grow Indoor Blooms | Gardeners.com.” Gardeners Supply. Gardener’s Supply Co., n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2015.
Hoffman, Carl, and Mary Meyer. “Growing and Caring for Amaryllis.” University of Minnesota: Extension. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2015.