Amaryllis is a bright-colored exotic houseplant commonly sold at flower shops. Amaryllis bulbs bloom for a long time and do not require much space. Its inflorescences of the most romantic shades have long bewitched the hearts of experienced gardeners.
Amaryllis, a flower with curious history and deep symbolism
Amaryllis flowers were discovered not far from South African shores. After appearing in Europe in the 17th century, it quickly became gardeners’ most favorite exotic plant. Originally, the flower’s name derived from the Greek word “amarysso”, meaning “to shine.” Amaryllis was first described in Virgil’s poem about a shepherdess turned into a beautiful flower by Olympic gods.
Nowadays, this plant symbolizes natural charm, tenderness combined with inner strength and resilience. A wish made during the bulb planting process is believed to always come true.
The difference between Amaryllis and Hippeastrum
Beginner gardeners often confuse Amaryllis with Hippeastrum, sometimes mentioning the two names as synonyms. In fact, both species belong to the same family with only a few botanical differences. For instance, the Amaryllis family includes about 70 genera and more than 1000 species of flowers, common all over the world. Additionally, Amaryllis possesses a sweet and mellow scent, while Hippeastrum has none.
Amaryllis Growth And Lifespan
There is a common misconception that an Amaryllis lifespan lasts for four to six weeks and that it wilts after flowering. Proper maintenance that consists of recreating the natural growth conditions allows the flower to blossom 2-3 times. After a dormancy stage, Amaryllis produces new roots.
The natural period for forced indoor bulbs is from December to April. During this stage, the bulbs are less prone to depletion, and the spring to summer period is a dormant time most suited for restoration. Amaryllis is often grown from the bulb or the seed in the following stages:
Planting Amaryllis Bulbs
Gardeners suggest planting Amaryllis as a bulb, but cultivating it from a store-bought seed is faster.
The blossoming stage lasts for 15-20 days. During this period, it is crucial to frequently fertilize and sparingly moisten the plant (except for its bulbs) because Amaryllis prepares to produce flowers at this time.
By the beginning of spring, the stem proceeds to sag, and the flower buds fade. Dormancy should last at least three months, giving Amaryllis time to regrow and recuperate.
Bulbs that wake up after dormancy require sunlight or artificial light, along with regular watering. After this period, the bulb will produce leaves, leading to stalks, and then blooming again.
Guide of Amaryllis Bulbs Planting
Amaryllis can comfortably develop indoors. To plant it inside, you have to prepare the container and scrub the bulb from dirt. A small plastic pot will fall eventually because of a long stem and a heavy root system, so buying a sturdy container is a must.
- Select the container according to the bulb size. There has to be less than 2 cm left between the bulb and the pot wall.
- Place rocks for drainage, and then add the soil.
- Plant the bulb in the enriched and thoroughly fertilized soil.
- Water the soil and let it drain down.
- Ensure sunlight access.
Flowers And Seed Pots
The first seeds appear after 4-6 weeks. The usual period between bloom and formation of seeds is 60 days. Amaryllis can self-pollinate, along with propagating by floating. The seed pod commonly contains 50 – 80 small seeds. Nonetheless, the production of pods requires colossal energy from the stalk, so except that you have to propagate your Amaryllis and sow the seeds, it is desirable to snip off its flowers at the green fleshy knobs.
Planting Amaryllis Bulbs In The Pot
The container should be deep enough for the flower to develop adequately. Since the bulb grows a very long root system, and moisture stagnation is inevitable for a wide flowerpot, opt for a deep pot instead of a wide one. A standard container diameter for an averagely-sized bulb should not be less than 15 cm or 2 liters.
You may place gravel or rocks on the bottom of the container to prevent water stagnation, but this step is not mandatory. Select store-bought nutritious potting compost or mix peat, leaf, and humus, enriched with carbon.
Put 2/3 of the bulb into compost up to its neck, leaving 1/3 above the surface. Note that ignoring this rule might lead to a dead flower. Water the flower immediately after transplanting to moisten the soil. Then, place the container in a sunny area and moisten occasionally till the budding stage. As soon as you see the sprouts, water more regularly.
Forced Indoor Amaryllis Care
Remember that regular grooming and following recommendations might allow your Amaryllis to blossom up to three times.
Amaryllis needs diffused sunlight. The ideal disposition for your Amaryllis would be southeast and southwest. Considering that the Amaryllis originates from South Africa, the flower is not afraid of generous natural sunlight.
Wipe the leaves occasionally to prevent parasitic diseases, but not at its flowering period. Although humidity is not crucial for the flower, spray the buds occasionally if the air is too dry. Again, dormant bulbs shouldn’t be disturbed.
Temperature And Watering
During the active growth phase, provide your Amaryllis with enough heat and light. The perfect temperature is 18-25 ° C. Water generously only when you see at least 10 cm sprouting.
The bulb can grow 2-3 times a year. The best result is seeing Amaryllis throwing out one or two peduncles. If it grows out more than three peduncles a year, trimming is mandatory. Under other conditions, it might not bloom again.
Taking Care of Waxed Amaryllis Bulbs
Waxed bulbs are the uncomplicated way to present Amaryllis as a holiday decoration, avoiding the fuss of watering or planting it. A coil stand prevents the plant from falling while the bulb can still blossom for six weeks. Preserving the bulb at 20-22°C will keep it alive. The process is reversible because you can peel off the wax, cut down the stalk, and transplant Amaryllis into the new container.
How To Make Amaryllis Bulbs Blossom Right Before Christmas
Since Amaryllis is often called a Christmas Plant, most gardeners try to forcefully make it bloom. To do it, regulate the growth cycle by getting the plant in the dormancy and forcing it to grow in a natural blooming phase.
The most efficient way to forcefully grow a plant before Christmas would be planting a bulb in September, three months before the holidays. To confirm you are going it correctly, grow two more bulbs in October and November. Provided that every plant has a different blooming stage, a three-month difference will still be enough to make each bulb bloom. Even after one planting, you will soon learn about your Amaryllis’s unique growth time and will be able to forcefully grow it yearly.
Planting Amaryllis Outside
The ideal timing for transplanting Amaryllis outside is late spring and early summer. Thus, the bulb will gain enough strength from sunlight and rich soil. Soon enough, you will witness a big green stalk that ensures delicate lush flowers. Amaryllis implanted outside lives longer than forced inside plants and produces more offsets for propagation.
Amaryllis should be planted in a sunlit area where it will receive enough light. The soil must be enriched with enough organic fertilizer before planting the bulb. There has to be no water stagnation in the soil; otherwise, the bulb will not grow roots. Thus a lowland area where the water collects will not do. Ideally, you should plant the bulb on elevated terrain.
The bulbs are placed at a 30 cm distance neck-deep, keeping the top above the ground. Again, water the bulbs to moisten the ground.
Amaryllis Bulbs Care
Grooming starts with cleaning the mature bulb from dead tissue and peeling brown layers to reveal a healthy bulb. Additionally, proper watering ensures full growth, so only moist 5 cm of dry soil, and never let the container soak in water. Otherwise, the bulb might rot, attracting pests.
When bulbs open at the budding stage, remove the container from direct sunlight to prevent gentle buds from burning in direct sun.
When Is The Ideal Time For Amaryllis to Bloom?
Guessing the flowering phase is straightforward with the appropriate care and regular moistening. Similar to every ornamental bulbous plant, Amaryllis has its stages. Provided that you don’t skip any important steps, the flowering phase will happen yearly at the same time.
How Long Does It Take Amaryllis to Flower?
With neat maintenance, Amaryllis should flower from six weeks to three months after its transplantation. Commonly, it doesn’t take more than 8 weeks for your Amaryllis to flower.
How Often Does Amaryllis Bloom?
Amaryllis generally blossoms not more than once a year. With neat maintenance and a regular phase-appropriate alternation resting/growth period, your plant will do so for many years.
Why Won’t the Amaryllis Bloom?
To force Amaryllis to bloom yearly, you need to properly maintain the dormant period, as it is crucial for the plant. At this point, the bulb uses all the nutrients to sprout. It is essential not to disturb your Amaryllis and gradually revive it after deep sleep. Boost the fertilizer, bring the flower back to sunlight, and water more regularly. Soon enough, the bulb will throw out new stalks, and bloom again. If the plant still won’t bloom, follow these steps:
- Place the container in a warm place (22-25 °C) while avoiding direct sunlight;
- Do not water the plant until you see new stalks;
- After seeing a stalk, place the pot into more light and water gradually;
- Keep watering sparingly because excessive moisture will lead to leaves growing, not a stem;
- Only after seeing a 10-15 cm peduncle, proceed to moisten and fertilize like you normally would.
Amaryllis After-Bloom Maintenance
A key to a healthy flower consists in letting it grow after the blossoming period. Snipping the stem will prevent the plant from seed pot formation, preserving energy for further development. The stalk is not usually cut until it turns yellow, while the green stem will continue to photosynthesize. After the blooming period, put your Amaryllis in a sunlit area and fertilize occasionally to promote long, strong leaves.
Amaryllis After-Bloom Trimming
Old perennials should be removed from the stem after the blossoming period is over. If the stem sags, the straightforward approach to quickly restore Amaryllis is it with a sharp knife. After trimming the stem, moisten and compost the plant for at least 6 weeks to help it restore.
Amaryllis Bulbs Storage
You can store Amaryllis bulbs continuously if you keep them in a cool, arid, shady place. After the flowering period is over, store the container in a mildly warm room with enough sunlight.
If the bulb was removed at a sleeping period, then It must be cleaned and trimmed before replanting, restoring healthy tissue.
Where To Store The Bulbs?
Storing the bulbs in a fridge crisper at 4-10 °C will be sufficient to preserve the roots for further replanting and propagation.
Amaryllis is a beautiful and relatively trouble-free flower. With proper care, its blossom, and healthy stems will please the gardeners’ eye all year round.