How to Grow Unusual Amaryllis Bulbs
If you love growing amaryllis bulbs, you are not alone! Amaryllis bulbs are one of the most popular flowering bulbs, especially for decorating indoors around the holidays. If you’re new to bulb gardening in general or amaryllis bulbs in particular, keep reading for our best-growing tips — as well as a highlight of one of our favorite types of unusual amaryllis bulbs. If you've been looking for info about how to grow Cybister Amaryllis, you're in the right spot.
Types of Amaryllis Bulbs
While there are nearly countless varieties of amaryllis, these are the main types of amaryllis bulbs that you will find for sale:
Large flowering: Large flowering Amaryllis is the classic type featuring big blooms in a single layer of petals.
Double flowering: If you love the single layer petals, you’ll go crazy for the double flowering with — you guessed it — a double row of ruffly petals.
Small flowering: As the name implies, these are shorter plants with smaller flowers — a delightful change of pace from the larger but equally dramatic traditional blooms.
Trumpet-shaped: Aptly named, trumpet-shaped amaryllis bulbs have a slightly longer, trumpet-shaped bloom rather than the more typical flat, saucer-shaped bloom.
Cybister: These amaryllis flowers have a more delicate appearance, with dramatic smaller flowers that resemble wildflowers or dragonflies.
Our Favorite Unusual Amaryllis Bulb - How to Grow Cybister Amaryllis
The Cybister Amaryllis is descended from a South American species developed by 18th century plant breeders, and by the early 2000s, just nine varieties were available. Now there are a few more, but they can be hard to find. They're so gorgeous, though, and worth the effort to coax into bloom.
An average-sized bulb produces two stems and 4-6 flowers per stem, with larger bulbs creating 3-4 stems with 5-8 blooms each. What a show! The flowers typically feature smaller, spidery-looking blooms with curving petals for a really exotic presentation.
And the colors? If you love red, lime green, burgundy, deep pink, brownish orange, and creamy white, you’re covered. Then there's the real beauty of these blooms, which is that the petals are usually strikingly two-toned, maximizing the drama in each small package.
And just like any other amaryllis bulb type, they are grown outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zones 8-11, or indoors as houseplants. The market season is from November to May, with interest from the winter holidays to early summer. What could be better than that? Gorgeous flowers when almost everything else is asleep.
If you’re unsure which Cybister Amaryllis is for you, we suggest Quito, with its lively cherry red and lime green coloration, Sumatra for its rich deep salmon tone, and Rosado with a deep pinkish salmon hue. Cybister Amaryllis bulbs can take a bit longer to bloom (up to 12 weeks) than the typical holiday amaryllis, but they are worth the wait.
How to Plant & Care for Amaryllis Bulbs
Planting: Amaryllis grow best when they’re slightly crowded, so plant your bulb in a 5-6” pot with houseplant soil, making sure there’s about 1” in between the side of the bulb and the inside of the pot. Plant it so that 1/3 of the bulb is exposed above the soil.
Fertilizing: While the bulb contains everything it needs to grow, you can fertilize with half-strength houseplant fertilizer every couple of weeks during bloom time.
Watering: Aim for moistness consistent with a wrung-out sponge, never over-watering.
Temperature: Keep in mind that these are tropical plants, so they thrive best in 68 to 75 degrees F.
Bulb Storage: Remove all spent flower stalks, move outside and continue watering as normal throughout the spring and summer. In the fall before the first frost, remove it from the garden and store it in a cool, dry place inside your house, cutting back on water. Let them rest for about 6 weeks, then take them out to a warm, light space when new shoots emerge.
Light: Bright indirect light is best, such as a south-facing window.
Everything You Need to Know about Growing Amaryllis
With so many different flower forms, colors, and sizes, it’s easy to find amaryllis bulbs that are perfect for your garden, whether it’s indoors or out. To read more about how to plant amaryllis bulbs, check out our Planting Guide — it’ll answer all your questions about starting your own blooming Amaryllis garden! And, to get started with some eye candy inspiration, head over to our amaryllis category on Easy to Grow Bulbs, where you’ll find a sampling of the best and most beautiful amaryllis varieties along with some stunning collections (for those of you who simply can’t choose just one).
- Katie Elzer-Peters