It is very common to see Amaryllis kits and bulbs coming out in stores around Halloween. That’s because these flowers can be started indoors and result in astounding flower displays just in time for the holidays. I have used kits before and tried to save my bulb for the following year with mixed results. I now have a sure fire way to ensure I have flowers just in time for Christmas.
Growing Amaryllis Bubs
Fall usually sees me starting Amaryllis bulbs in small glass containers with colorful rocks at the bottom. All I do is place the bulb on top of the rocks and put in enough water to cover the bottom. I keep the water level even and place the container in a warm location. In a short time the bulb sprouts big leaves, soon to be followed by enormous scarlet blooms. The flowers last for weeks and often produce some more after I cut the spent stalks off the plant. Generally, I wait until last bloom and then pot up the bulb. It goes outdoors in spring through summer.
Fertilizer is key to growing Amaryllis. They need plenty of food to store energy for the next season’s flowering. Amaryllis flowers are not hard to grow, but they do need a cooling off period, so it goes inside when temperatures get cool. This is when I stop watering and let the leaves wither.
How I Did It Before
Around September, I would pull the bulb, wash it off, let it dry for a few days, and wrap it in sphagnum moss stored in a paper bag. I would bring the bulb out the following fall.
Sometimes I got flowers, and sometimes I didn’t and would have to purchase a new bulb. But I now have a fool proof way of starting Amaryllis. I read up on it and growers suggested growing Amaryllis year around in a container with potting soil. So that is what I do now to ensure Amaryllis flowers by winter.
How I Do It Now
The process is simple. You can start the bulb the same way, and transfer to a container with soil after flowering. Water and feed it and give it plenty of light. Then in fall, I just move the whole container upstairs (which is unheated but insulated) and leave it alone. Eventually the leaves yellow and wither and I cut those off. Then after 6-8weeks, I bring it down to the warmth and start to water again. Soon the leaves appear, and within weeks I have flowers. This method has resulted in a much bigger plant and many more Amaryllis flowers.
I love this plant. When not in flower it has tropical, long, strappy leaves. It actually a bit resembles several other tropical plants I have around the house. But its real super powers aren’t revealed until after I practically kill it. It very forgivingly sends me some blaze-red love in the form of blooms as a reward for all my neglect over those dormant weeks. Isn’t that nice?