Botanical Name: Hippeastrum spp. and hybrids
Popular for their festive, oversized flowers, amaryllis bulbs are commonly sold as ready-to-plant kits for the holiday season. Growing amaryllis indoors is easy to do by forcing amaryllis bulbs into bloom mid-winter.
These bulbs produce magnificent trumpet-shaped blooms in red, white, yellow, pink, and salmon. In addition to solid-colored petals, there are many varieties with stripes, contrasting edges -- even double blooms. A single stem will produce 4 flowers, and large bulbs may produce 2 stems.
Plant the bulb in a pot that's just big enough to hold it, with the top third of the bulb above the soil line.
Water well and set it in bright light. To prevent rot, water sparingly until the flower stem appears, then increase water. Check it often because flowering plants are thirsty.
You can expect blooms 6-8 weeks after planting. The long, strap-like leaves will appear long after the stems are grown.
What to do after the bloom. After the flowers fade, cut off the stems and let the leaves grow to nourish the bulb. Continue to water and fertilize the plant. Gradually reduce watering so that the leaves die back. Cut off the brown leaves. Allow the bulb to rest by storing it in a paper bag in a cool (50°F/10°C), dry place for at least 2 months. Plant it again in fresh soil 6-8 weeks before you want it to bloom.
Good amaryllis care will ensure that you'll enjoy beautiful blooms year after year.
Height: 12-24 in (30-60 cm). Use Amaryllis Support Stakes to hold up tall stems.
Light: Bright light to full sun during growing season.
Water: Keep soil evenly moist, but not soggy, during growing season.
Humidity: This tropical native will tolerate average room humidity. Keep your plant out of drafts from heating vents and doors and windows.
Temperature: Cool to average room temperatures 55-70°F/13-21°C
Soil: Any good potting mix.
Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks with high potassium liquid fertilizer diluted by half.
Propagation: Offset amaryllis bulbs may grow around the bulb. Leave them attached for 2 seasons before breaking them off and planting them in their own pots.
Make your flowers last longer by keeping the plant in a slightly cooler location. Blooms will last for several weeks if kept at a maximum of 65°F/18°C.
Choose bulbs that are plump and firm. Don't buy shriveled bulbs even if they're a "bargain"...they may not grow well.
Many cultivars are available to choose from. Pink and white 'Appleblossom' is long-time favorite.
Orange-red double blooms make 'Lady Jane' a popular selection.
'Red Lion' is a dependable bloomer in rich, radiant red.