Amaryllis Planting Guide
Are the holidays complete without amaryllis? Definitely not. Good thing they are among the easiest bulbs to grow! Amaryllis make fantastic holiday centerpieces and wonderful long-term houseplants. You can grow them indoors everywhere during the winter and move them outside for a summer vacation. In warm climates, amaryllis are happy outdoors year-round and bloom in stunning, vibrant displays of color in the spring. Love cut flowers? Amaryllis are long-lasting in vases, as well. If you have a bright, sunny windowsill and enjoy having beautiful blooms indoors during the winter, treat yourself to some amaryllis bulbs.
Top 1 inch of bulb exposed above soil line
Moderate during active growth
Full sun to light shade, bright shade indoors
1” in Containers, 4 inches outdoors
Growing Amaryllis Indoors
While amaryllis grow outdoors in warm climates, they really shine indoors during the holidays as centerpieces, flowering gifts, and living décor. During the winter, when everything outside is gray, amaryllis are a bright splash of color. Choose a bright, sunny spot to grow amaryllis indoors. If your dining room is dark, keep flowers by a bright windowsill and move them onto the table before your guests arrive. That way, you’ll get the best-looking blooms.
Most amaryllis bulbs will flower within 4-8 weeks of initial planting indoors when purchased and planted in the fall. Exotic amaryllis take longer to bloom, but they are well worth the wait and make excellent long-term houseplants. Wondering when your amaryllis will bloom? Click here to read more.
Growing Amaryllis Outdoors
In zones 8-10 you can grow amaryllis outdoors all year long. They’ll naturally bloom in the spring and create quite a spectacular show. Amaryllis thrive in well-drained soil and will rot if left their feet stay wet. Amend heavy soils with peat moss, coco coir, compost, ground bark, or composted manure.
Choose a planting spot that gets bright light (though they will tolerate some light shade). Plant in groups of 5-7 with the top inch of the bulb exposed. Mulch with pine straw during the winter in zone 8 to protect bulbs from freeze/thaw cycles, and remove the mulch in the spring. If you have several amaryllis blooming at one time, clip a few stems to bring indoors for a spring bouquet.
How to Plant Amaryllis
Whether you're growing amaryllis indoors or outside, the way you plant doesn't change. Indoors, though, you'll be growing in containers, while outdoors you'll be planting in a flowerbed with good drainage. Here's how to plant amaryllis.
- Select a container that is just one to two inches wider and a few inches taller than the amaryllis bulb. Amaryllis like to be snug in their containers. If you're planting multiple amaryllis in one container, the same rule applies. Make sure there's room for the bulbs to sit in the container with an inch between each bulb and an inch between the bulb and the side of the container. (Amaryllis blooms are heavy, so look for pottery containers or sturdy containers with a wide or square base.)
If you're planting outdoors, select a sunny spot with well-drained soil where there's room for four inches between each amaryllis bulb in the grouping.
- Plant the bulb in the container or in the ground, top side up (The top looks like the pointy end of an onion, and the bottom is flatter.) with the top inch of the bulb (the shoulder) exposed, or not covered with soil.
- Water the soil until it is about as damp as a wrung-out sponge.
- Set the pot in a bright, sunny location. (When growing indoors.)
- Keep an eye on the bulb and water again only when you start seeing new, green growth emerge from the top of the bulb. From that point forward, keep the soil about as moist as a wrung-out sponge.
Tips for Growing Amaryllis
- Water sparingly until the bulbs begin to grow. If your amaryllis bulb isn’t growing, cut back on water until you start to see new green shoots.
- Rotate pots every couple of days to keep the stems growing straight.
- Snip off the flower stems at the base of the stem when all blooms on the stem have opened and faded. (Indoors and outside.)
- Leave the leaves on the bulb when the plant finishes blooming so that it can replenish itself for the next season’s blooms and keep the soil slightly moist.
How to Get Amaryllis to Rebloom for the Holidays
To get your amaryllis to rebloom during the holidays you’ll need to follow a specific set of steps. Click here to read all about how to get your amaryllis to rebloom.