If you are ready for a welcome splash of colour amidst the dreariness of winter, look no further than amaryllis flowers. These cheerful, bold-hued plants are the perfect thing to grow indoors this winter.
Houseplants of any kind are a welcome sight in the winter. They add some life to the indoors and to the long, cold season. Indoor plants that flower are one of the best ways to add some cheer during a drab winter due to their bright colours and fragrance.
Amaryllis flowers are big, beautiful, and certainly work as a stunning centerpiece. In addition to their bright flowers, the dark and narrow leaves and light thick stems make a wonderful contrast of colours. The amaryllis blooms in the middle of the coldest season, feeling like a little slice of springtime when you need it most—in the dead of winter.
Sponsored Content: This article on forcing spring bulbs is proudly sponsored by Flowerbulbs.com (who also provided some of the gorgeous photos in this post). We partnered on this article to help remind you that fall is the best time of year to get your amaryllis bulbs. There are a ton of great varieties available at online retailers and in garden centers, so you certainly will have plenty of options in your area. The most beautiful and unique varieties sell out early, so be sure to get your perfect amaryllis early this fall!
The naming of amaryllis can get a little complicated. The botanical name for amaryllis is Hippeastrum, which has several different species. Originally from South Africa, is has around 4 to 6 large flowers on a hollow stem. It is known throughout the world by its common name, ‘amaryllis’.
However, there is also another bulbous plant, Amaryllis belladonna, from South Africa which has 6 to 12 smaller sized flowers on a solid stem. Unlike the Hippeastrum, it is the only species in the genus, Amaryllis. While they have a different background, both species are commonly referred to as “amaryllis”. If you are a plant nerd like me, you will find more details on this and all sorts of interesting amaryllis tidbits on Flowerbulbs.com.
How to Grow Amaryllis Indoors
To grow amaryllis successfully indoors, follow these steps.
If you haven’t forced bulbs before, don’t fret. Amaryllis bulbs are frequently grown indoors during the winter and it is rather simple to do.
It is absolutely worth it to have a showy display of gorgeous blooms greeting you on an otherwise dreary day. Better yet, you can use the same bulb again and again for beautiful flowers year after year. I’ll show you how to force the Amaryllis bulbs below, but you can learn about forcing other bulbs here.
Before You Begin Planting
The first step is to choose the right bulb for your home. In addition to the Netherlands, most bulbs you purchase still come from their place of origin: South Africa. There are many different types of amaryllis that come in different colors, fragrances, and flower types (check out Amaryllis exotica, Ferrari red, and papilio butterfly).
If you want really big flowers, choose the biggest bulbs you can find—with amaryllis, the size of the bulb is indicative of the size of blooms it will produce. It also may produce more flowers on its stems.
One bulb will typically grow two stems and there can be anywhere from two to five flowers per stem.
A stem measures 16 to 24 inches, so they are certainly a tall grower!
For most varieties, the amaryllis flower measures 10 inches in diameter. Those classified as miniature varieties will have flowers that are about 5 inches across. Still a decent-sized flower!
The second flower stem will develop later than the first, meaning it will bloom later. The blooms will all not open at the same time, so you will have a fairly long flowering period.
If you need to store your bulbs before you plant them, keep them somewhere dark and cool (40-50 degrees Fahrenheit). A fridge is a great place to store them, just be sure not to keep them in there with apples because apples produce ethylene gasses which will sterilize the bulbs and prevent them from blooming.
When Should I Plant Amaryllis?
You can plant an amaryllis anytime between October and April, and it will bloom six to ten weeks later.
Consider this timing if you would like your amaryllis to bloom for a special occasion or holiday—if you count six to ten weeks back from your ideal blooming time, that is when you should plant.
Six to ten weeks is the general range for all amaryllis, but individual varieties often have a more specific time period from planting to blooming. Check the instructions that come with the bulbs for this information.
If you want to have lots of amaryllis blooming throughout the winter, simply plant every two weeks starting in October or later. This will keep a constant pop of colour in your home to last you until springtime.
The Best Container for Amaryllis
Amaryllis work well in a variety of containers. The main thing that you have to remember when picking a container is that it must have enough weight to hold up a fairly heavy stem and large flowers without tipping over. I especially like to use glass vases and Mason jars, but have also been happy with decorative ceramic pots as amaryllis containers. Like any container, make sure it has proper drainage at the bottom of the pot!
As for the size of the container, it depends on how many bulbs you would like to place. They only need about an inch of space surrounding the bulb. I would recommend a 6 inch in diameter pot for one bulb or a 10 to 12 inch pot for three bulbs together. Because of their size, one amaryllis bulb per pot is typical for indoor use.
Before you plant your bulb, soak it in lukewarm water for two to four hours.
Using a compost-rich soil mix, plant the bulb into your chosen container, being careful not to damage any roots. Amaryllis bulbs should have fairly long roots upon purchase and you are going to want to keep those intact while planting.
Cover the bulb in soil halfway to 3/4 of the way up to its neck and pack the soil down gently.
At first, only water when the top inch of the soil feels dry.
Once a stem begins to grow you should start watering more frequently.
Amaryllis are content being at room temperature, but still like to be in a lighted location. Keep the amaryllis in a warm, bright spot with lots of direct sunlight.
Sit back and watch it bloom!
Re-Growing a Bulb
You can re-grow your amaryllis year after year. Remove old flowers from the plant as they fade and when the leaves of the amaryllis turn yellow, it is time to cut the whole plant down to about two inches tall. Then, remove the entire plant—bulb and stem—from the potting mix. Gently clean off the bulb and store it until it is time to plant it again for next winter.
Flowerbulbs.com is giving away 3 Amaryllis Red Lion bulbs to TWO lucky Garden Therapy readers. This contest is now closed. Congratulations to Lynn and Christine! Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to get updates.
Here are some more posts you might like:
- How to Get Your Christmas Cactus to Bloom
- Growing Amaryllis in a Jar
- These Aren’t Your Grandma’s Houseplants! Indoor Plant Projects for Modern Day Decor
- The Top Plants for Winter Garden Interest
- Playing with Houseplants for Indoor Garden Therapy
- Find the Best Indoor Herb Garden for Any Space