The Best Time To Plant Amaryllis Bulbs (Full Guide)
The Best Time To Plant Amaryllis Bulbs (Full Guide)
The Best Time To Plant Amaryllis Bulbs (Full Guide)
Amaryllis belladonna, usually referred to as just Amaryllis, is a flowering plant known for its large, showy, trumpet-shaped flowers that come in various colors, including red, white, and pink. It is commonly grown as a decorative indoor plant during the winter months, especially over the Christmas and holiday season.
In this article, we’ll discuss the best time to plant amaryllis bulbs in different environments, along with tips for forcing blooms and how to care for the bulb after flowering.
When To Plant Amaryllis Bulbs Indoors
To have amaryllis bulbs bloom indoors, you can plant them at different times throughout the year to stagger their flowering. Here are some guidelines:
For Christmas or Holiday Blooms:
If you want your amaryllis to bloom in time for the winter holiday season, like Christmas, it’s best to plant the bulbs in early to mid-October. This gives the bulbs approximately 6-8 weeks to grow and produce flowers, which should align with the desired blooming period. By planting in October, you can enjoy the vibrant blooms indoors during the festive season.
For Spring Blooms:
To have amaryllis flowers in the spring, you should plant the new bulbs indoors in late December to early January. This timing allows for a bloom period that aligns with the arrival of spring. The bulbs will need 6-8 weeks to grow and produce flowers after planting, making late December to early January an appropriate time to initiate the growth process.
For Continuous Blooms:
If you’d like to maintain a continuous display of amaryllis blooms indoors, you can stagger your planting. Here’s how you can do it:
Start by planting a batch of bulbs in early to mid-October for winter blooms (Christmas).
Plant another batch in late November for blooms in late winter or early spring.
Continue planting new batches every 2-4 weeks through the winter season, adjusting the timing based on when you want subsequent blooms.
This approach allows you to enjoy amaryllis flowers at different times, creating a prolonged display of colorful blooms indoors.
Keep in mind that the specific timing for amaryllis bulb planting may vary depending on factors such as the variety of amaryllis, local climate conditions, and the temperature and light conditions in your indoor growing area. Adjust your planting schedule as needed to achieve your desired bloom times, and be sure to follow proper care guidelines to ensure healthy and vigorous growth.
*This articles contains affiliate links to the products we use to grow our own amaryllis bulbs. We receive a small commission from purchases made through these links. Thank you for your support!
When To Plant Amaryllis Bulbs Outdoors
Amaryllis bulbs are typically grown as indoor plants in many regions because they are not cold-hardy and cannot tolerate freezing temperatures. However, if you live in a warm climate with USDA Hardiness Zones 8-11, you may be able to use them as outdoor plants. Here’s when and how to plant amaryllis bulbs outdoors in these regions:
Timing: In USDA Hardiness Zones 8-11, you can plant amaryllis bulbs outdoors in the spring or early summer, after the threat of frost has passed. This can be anywhere from late March to early June, depending on your specific location and climate conditions.
Location: Choose a well-drained location in your garden that receives full to partial sunlight. Amaryllis prefers indirect but bright sunlight.
Planting Depth: Plant the amaryllis bulbs with the top third of the bulb above the soil surface. Space the bulbs at least 12 inches (30 cm) apart to allow for proper growth.
Soil: Amaryllis bulbs prefer well-draining soil with organic matter. You can amend the soil with compost or well-rotted organic matter to improve drainage and fertility.
Watering: Water the newly planted bulbs thoroughly after planting to settle the soil and provide moisture to the roots. Afterward, water when the top inch (2.5 cm) of soil feels dry. Amaryllis bulbs do not like to sit in waterlogged soil.
Fertilizing: Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer or a bulb-specific fertilizer according to the package instructions. Fertilize in the spring as new growth emerges and again after blooming. We recommend using these fertilizer spikes by Jobe’s Organics because they offer a slow-release of fertilizer into the soil.
Mulch: Mulch the soil around the planted bulbs to help retain moisture and regulate soil temperature.
Winter Protection (for Zone 8): In Zone 8, where winter temperatures can occasionally dip below freezing, it is a good idea to add some protection for your outdoor amaryllis during cold spells. Cover the plants with a layer of mulch or straw and use frost cloth or blankets to shield them from the danger of frost.
Remember that amaryllis bulbs planted outdoors in these warm zones may not bloom at the same time as indoor-grown bulbs. They may follow a more natural seasonal cycle, with blooming occurring in the late spring or early summer. Additionally, you can dig up and divide outdoor amaryllis bulbs every few years to maintain healthy growth and encourage more blooms.
How To Force Waxed Amaryllis Bulb To Bloom
To force amaryllis bulbs to bloom indoors, you can follow these steps:
Purchase Healthy Bulbs: Start by obtaining healthy amaryllis bulbs. Look for large bulbs that are firm and free from mold or damage. The size of the bulb matters, as larger bulbs are likely to produce more flower buds.
Choose a Pot: Select a pot that is approximately 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) wider in diameter than the bulb and has drainage holes at the bottom. A heavy, sturdy pot is best to prevent toppling as the amaryllis grows. We recommend a 6″ ceramic or terra cotta planter with a drip tray, like this model by Gepege.
Use Well-Draining Soil: Use a well-draining potting mix specifically formulated for bulbs or houseplants. You can also create your mix by mixing equal parts of potting soil, perlite, and coarse sand.
Plant the Bulb: Place the bulb in the pot, leaving about one-third of the bulb above the soil surface. Gently press it into the soil, and then water thoroughly to settle the soil.
Choose a Suitable Location: Place the potted bulb in a warm location with bright, indirect sunlight. A south or west-facing window with full sun is ideal. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can scorch the leaves.
Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Water sparingly initially and gradually increase the frequency as the bulb begins to grow. Allow excess water to drain from the pot, and empty the saucer to prevent root rot.
Support the Stalk: As the amaryllis grows, its tall stems may become top-heavy with large flowers. To prevent the stem from bending or breaking, provide support with a stake or decorative support. Attach the stem to the support with soft ties or twine.
Fertilize: Once the amaryllis begins to grow and produce leaves, start feeding it with a balanced granular fertilizer. Use a diluted fertilizer every 2-4 weeks, following the package instructions.
Time the Blooms: Amaryllis bulbs typically take 6-8 weeks to bloom after they start growing. You can control the timing of the blooms by adjusting when you start the planting process. If you want blooms for a specific occasion or holiday, work backward from that date.
Enjoy the Blooms: Once the amaryllis bulb starts blooming, it will produce large, trumpet-shaped flowers that can last for several weeks. Enjoy the beautiful display in full bloom.
After Blooming: After the flowering period, cut off the spent flower spikes but allow the leaves to continue growing. Continue to care for the plant as a houseplant by providing water and light. Amaryllis leaves help replenish the bulb’s energy for the next flowering cycle.
Dormancy Period: In late summer or early fall, stop watering and allow the leaves to wither and die back naturally. This dormant period is essential for the bulb to rest and store energy for future blooms.
By following these steps, you can successfully force amaryllis bulbs to bloom indoors, providing a burst of vibrant color and beauty to your home during the winter months.
How Long Do Amaryllis Plants Bloom For?
Amaryllis typically bloom for a duration of approximately 2 to 4 weeks, with the specific length of time varying based on factors such as the amaryllis variety, environmental conditions, age of the bulb, proper care, and the use of stem support. These iconic trumpet-shaped flowers can be enjoyed for several weeks, providing a vibrant burst of color and beauty indoors or in the garden during their blooming period.
Care For Amaryllis Bulbs After Flowering
After your amaryllis has finished flowering, you can follow these care instructions to ensure it remains healthy and potentially blooms again:
Remove the Dead Flowers: Once the flowers have wilted and dried up, snip off the flower stalk (also called the scape) at the base of the plant using clean scissors or pruning shears. This prevents the plant from wasting energy on seed production.
Continue Watering: Keep watering the amaryllis regularly, allowing the soil to stay moderately moist but not waterlogged. Soil should be a lightweight blend with good drainage. Reduce the frequency of watering compared to the blooming period but do not let the soil dry out completely.
Fertilize: Fertilize the amaryllis with a balanced, liquid houseplant fertilizer every 2-4 weeks during the plants active growth cycle. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the proper dilution and application.
Provide Adequate Light: Place the amaryllis in a location with bright, indirect sunlight. A sunny window is ideal. Adequate light is crucial for the plant to rebuild its energy reserves and prepare for its next bloom.
Allow for a Dormant Period: In late summer or early fall (around late September), stop watering and let the foliage gradually die back naturally. This dormant period helps the bulb rest and store energy for future blooms.
Trim the Foliage: Once the leaves have turned yellow and withered, trim them back along with any flower stems to about 2 inches (5 cm) above the bulb. Leave the bulb in its pot or storage location.
Store the Bulb: If you’d like to encourage your amaryllis to bloom again for the holidays, store the bulb in a cool, dark place (around 40-50°F or 5-10°C) for 8-10 weeks. You can do this by placing the pot in a basement or garage, or you can remove the bulb from the pot and store it in a paper bag. Check it occasionally to ensure it doesn’t rot or become too dry.
Restart Growth: After the dormant period, return the amaryllis to a well-lit area and resume regular watering. New growth should appear within a few weeks. You can repot the bulb if needed.
With proper care, your amaryllis should produce another round of beautiful blooms, typically in 6-10 weeks after it emerges from its dormant period.
Grow More Indoor Plants This Winter!
From bulbs to herbs, hydroponics and more – growing indoor plants is a fun and exciting way to add extra color in a sunny location inside your home. If you live in a cold region like we do, you can benefit from the extra mental boost that caring for living plants indoors can offer during the winter season. To learn more about cultivating and caring for indoor plants, check out these related articles:
Anna is one of the owners here at Bright Lane Gardens, and our resident plant and garden expert. Anna started gardening from a young age and has continued to grow her knowledge in the horticulture realm over the years. With a keen interest in sustainable gardening through organic gardening practices and the use of drought tolerant and native plants, Anna is committed to spreading this knowledge through blog posts and Bright Lane Garden's YouTube channel.