Nothing brightens up a cold winter day like a blooming amaryllis bulb (Hippeastrum sp.)! Above the strappy foliage, the flower stalk can stretch over two feet high, topped with a stunning display of huge, trumpet-shaped flowers in shades of pink, red, white, and even orange – with some gorgeous striped varieties available as well.
If you live in planting zones 9 and warmer, you can grow amaryllis outdoors in full sun flower beds, where they will bloom naturally in the spring and summer. For the rest of us, amaryllis are grown in pots and forced to bloom, usually during the gray winter when we most need it most.
Amaryllis are quite easy to grow indoors, here’s how.
You can buy amaryllis as a potted plant, as a bulb kit with pot and soil, or as individual bare bulbs. If you’re new to amaryllis or are buying it as a gift, look for pre-potted bulbs that already have a flower bud sprouting. The flower bud is easy to identify – it’s thick and pointed – whereas the leaves are thin and strappy. The bud sprouts first, so if the plant only has leaves, it isn’t going to bloom this year.
Amaryllis Growing Tips
- Choosing Container: Amaryllis bulbs only need about an inch of space around the bulb. One bulb can usually be planted in a 6” diameter pot, or three bulbs together in a 10”- 12” pot. Be sure the pot has drainage holes in the bottom.
- Planting Bulb: Plant your amaryllis in light, well-draining potting mix, with the top 1/3 of the bulb sticking up out of the soil.
- Water: Water the amaryllis whenever the top inch of soil feels dry. Avoid letting the bulb sit in wet soil, and avoid pouring water down into the crown of the bulb. As your bulb grows larger and has more roots, it may dry out more frequently.
- Fertilizer: While the amaryllis is growing, feed it every couple of weeks with a balanced organic fertilizer, or add a slow-release fertilizer when planting.
- Light: Place the amaryllis in a bright window. Turn the pot regularly, since the flower stalk will lean toward the light.
- Bloom Care: Once your plant blooms, the flowers will last longer if you remove it from direct sunlight and put it in a slightly cooler spot (a good reason to put it on a table where you can enjoy it!). Gently stake the flower stalk if it’s top-heavy, but be careful not to pierce the bulb with the stake.
Year-Round Amaryllis Care
Some people throw away their amaryllis after it blooms, but you can keep it year-round. With a little care, your amaryllis can be encouraged to bloom again and again.
Follow these tips to continue caring for your amaryllis:
- Remove Spent Flowers: After the amaryllis blooms fade, cut them off individually. Then, when the entire flower stalk starts to wilt, cut off the stalk just above where it sprouts from the bulb.
- Encourage Foliage: Put your amaryllis outdoors for the summer, so that the foliage can grow and feed the bulb for next year’s blooms. Simply bury the pot up to its rim in mulch, and it’ll dress up your flower beds. Keep it regularly watered, and continue feeding every couple of weeks.
- Cold Storage: In the early fall, the leaves will naturally turn yellow and die. At that point, gently dig up your amaryllis bulb, cut off the dead leaves, wipe the bulb clean, and store it for 6 weeks in a cold, dark spot (40°-50° F). In cool climates, an unheated shed or garage is perfect. Those in warmer climates can put the bulb in the fridge. Don’t expose the amaryllis bulb to freezing temperatures.
- Container Storage: As an alternative, you can cut off the dead leaves and leave the amaryllis bulb in its pot for cold storage, then simply bring the pot back out and resume watering after 6 weeks. I haven’t had good luck with reblooming with this method, but it’s worth a try if you want a low-maintenance option.
- Replanting Bulb: After at least 6 weeks of cold storage, amaryllis bulbs are ready to plant again. They will take 8-10 weeks to sprout and bloom, so you can time the planting to coincide with the holidays or a special event. If you have multiple bulbs, you can plant one every two weeks, all the way until February, for a parade of blossoms until summer.
- Propagating: As your amaryllis bulb gets older, it may produce little babies, called bulblets, attached to the mother bulb. To propagate the bulblets, use a sharp knife to cut them off the mother bulb right before repotting, then plant them individually. The baby bulbs will take several years to flower, but they need to be kept on the same care schedule as the mother.
- Bloom Failure: It can be tricky to get an amaryllis to rebloom. If yours doesn’t bloom this year, simply repeat the schedule this year, making sure to give it regular balanced fertilizer.
- Growing the Delightful Amaryllis (North Dakota State University)
- Growing Guide: Amaryllis (White Flower Farm)
this is the second year going on and my amaryllis are not giving flowers what should i do.i water them twice in a week, good light and fertilizer but they are producing just leaves.
I have successfully propagated seeds to baby bulbs but now what do I do? They’re the size of grapefruit seeds, so do I transplant now, pull them out and let them go dormant, leave them alone or what? To this point they have been in a moist, covered tray outside but I have just moved them in but think I should do something else. Help, please.
I recently purchased a number of amaryllis grow kits that had been discounted after the holidays because they were nearing the Jan. 15th plant date deadline. A number of them had sprouted bud stalks and I got them planted in time to get flowers.
Many of them had a second bloom stalk peeping up and since the first stalk has bloomed or is nearing the ens of blooming the leaves are growing but the second stalk seems to just sit there. They have turned green, but do not seem to be growing. What can I do to encourage their growth and blooming?
I, too,have most bulbs that did not produce flowers but gave me just leaves. I think I did not let them go dormant the way we are supposed to. I know you have to be careful when watering–do not let water go down inside the leaves into the bulb. I believe I got excellent instructions on care from an article in either Dave’s Garden or else Walter Reeves Master Gardener in Georgia. I’m hoping someone that has had good luck will answer with their secrets of success. Most of them cannot be planted outdoors where I livw (Zone 7b.)
I have a Apple Blossom Amaryllis given as a Xmas present and it has grown from potted bulb to a magnificent flowering plant,it put out 2 wonderful sturdy blooms and then I started feeding with a house plant fertiliser every 5 days but the 2 new flowers that have opened are wilting and look like they are weakend, is it a case of over feeding.
I purchased a discounted amaryllis in a glass container with rocks & water up to roots. It bloomed & had 12 large blooms! How do I encourage it to produce babies? Can’t find any info. Would appreciate any help. Thanks
I live in Florida and received a potted amaryllis. It has 6 blooms as of right now. I am wondering how to take care of it from this point. It is presently on.my lanai and is very healthy. I would like to keep it rather than throw it away after it is done blooming. Most I’d the articles talk about colder climates. Sine we live in Fort Myers, Fl, does anyone have any suggestions?
Hi everyone,just to help with your non flowering amaryllis plants,you will need to give a period of COLD during the dormant period,not freezing but COLD. try to keep the cold temperature at a constant 10/15 celcius for about 6/8 weeks.this should help you flowering.G,G, paul
I planted a bulb around 3 weeks ago and see no growth what so ever on it. It is in bright light, but not direct and I do have a green thumb. Not quite sure where to go from here. Any go help will be appreciated
I planted my amaryllis about 3 weeks ago. Have a very little leaf that started growing and hasn’t changed after a week. HELP!
second year for amaryllis – leaves grow tall no problem. but the bulb has never budded and/or bloomed! suggestions please 😉
I bought my bulbs at a discount from Lowe’s and Walmart. Come home and plant in my flower beds. I have given so many baby bulbs away I can’s count. I have some in morning sun and some in the evening sun they do well in my beds. When they bloom I cut then and bring into the house to look at.They get water when it rains, and do wonderful in my flower beds.Right now I have over 200 bulbs. The only thing I haven’t done yet was to try to cut the bulbs in half and plant each part to see if it grows. But I don’t want to lose any of the bulb. Good luck.
My boss gave us each a box with 2 bulbs. Everyone so far brags about the beautiful flowers their plants have grown. Well, one of my bulbs appears dead, not an inch of green stalk and the other has grown to about 8″, but has multiple green flat leaves, not the usual 1 stalk. What has happened? Am I doing something wrong? I have it on my pool table in front of my patio door and it is also under a fluorescent light. Please advise. I am ready to discard. Thanks.
MY PLANT DIDNT FLOWER ? ALL I HAVE IS 2 FOOT GREEN LEAVES BENT OVER TOWARS THE LIGHT WHAT DO I DO TO GET IT TO FLOWER??????????????????
To force amaryllis to flower you need go let them rest for at least 6-8 months
Thanks for sharing your thoughts with the Today’s Homeowner community!
TH community members helping other TH community members — we love it. 🙂
I have about 10 amaryllis bulbs that are about 5 years old. For the last 2 years I have no flowers just leaves. What do I have to do get blooms?
Gardening questions can be tricky since the rules can change based on the region. You didn’t include the location, so we would suggest contacting your local Master Gardeners association.
Master gardeners train on a range of topics so they can provide advice, at no charge, for people in their area.
Thanks for your question, and good luck!