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Amaryllis Growing Instructions

Foolproof Amaryllis, Indoors and Out

Everyone loves amaryllis, and if you've grown them, you know how quickly and beautifully they bloom, almost like magic.  Any bulb with an eight to twelve-inch bloom that flowers in just a few weeks in a small pot has to be special.  That's why amaryllis has been the top "Indoor Bulb" forever.  It does just fine in very mild zones out in the yard, but in most of North America, amaryllis is a house plant, and one of the few that is happy to bloom indoors while the snow flies outside. Best of all, growing them beautifully takes absolutely no gardening talent or experience, and that's why they're so popular in "Gift Kits" for the holidays.  If you've never planted a seed or grown a bulb, you can be an amaryllis expert in minutes. Simply plant your bulb and add water. It's really that simple.

Growing Amaryllis Indoors. (For Outdoor instructions, see below.)

Most amaryllis are imported from Holland, and arrive in the United States during the fall season.  Then, they're sold in garden centers and online for bloom as houseplants during the holidays and into the winter. First, let's cover the basic "How-To" for indoor growing:

When Growth Appears
In Flower
Minimum 60°
Water
Minimum 60°
Water
Water
Heater
Sparingly
Bright Light
Keep Moist
Don't Overwater
Keep Cool


Pot, Soil and Watering:

Amaryllis samba
If your amaryllis doesn't come in a "kit" with soil and pot, you'll need to find a proper pot.  Amaryllis bulbs are the size of a very large onion (or larger), but they like to be somewhat crowded in their pots.  Choose a pot that allows about one inch all around and one or two inches below your bulb.  For soil, Martha Stewart simply suggests "potting soil" but another expert suggest 1 part loam, one part peat moss, and one part sand.  When you pot the bulb, be sure to leave its "shoulders" sticking up out of the soil.

Once your bulb is planted, water sparingly until the sprout is well out of the bulb. (It won't take long.) Then water regularly and your amaryllis will produce its spectacular huge flowers. Remember to keep turning the pot regularly to make the stalk grow straight as they have a tendency to grow towards the light.

Aftercare:

After winter bloom, if you want to rebloom your amaryllis, it's quite simple.  When blooms fade, cut off the tubular flower stems near the top of the bulb, leaving the foliage to continue growing.

Water as usual and apply water-soluble fertilizer every four weeks. Once spring arrives and frost is past, sink the Amaryllis pot in the garden in a sunny place. Continue to fertilize. At the end of the summer when frost threatens, simply pull the pot out of the ground, wash it out, and take it inside, and allow it to dry out completely in a warm dry place like a utility room.  Once the leaves are dead and the bulb dry (usually 5 to 6 weeks), the bulb is ready for repotting.  Simply cut off the dry leaves, and repot your bulb in fresh potting soil and start the growing cycle again.

Amaryllis Outdoors (Zones 9 - 11)

Outdoor Amaryllis
Photo courtesy of Floridata.com
Since these bulbs are tropical (native to South America), they can be grown beautifully outdoors in very warm and frost-free zones.  This means from southern Georgia down through Florida, south Texas, and much of the Pacific coast.  Planting time in these areas is usually September or October, and if the bed is well-cared for, the bulbs will stay in the ground and flower for years. If you'd like to propagate your amaryllis, our friends at Floridata.com have good Instructions.

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