Care of the Amaryllis after Flowering

Amaryllis bulbs are forced indoors for their large, spectacular flowers. Some individuals discard the amaryllis after flowering. However, it is possible to save the amaryllis and force it to flower on an annual basis. The key to successful reflowering is proper care.

After the flowers fade, cut off the flower stalk with a sharp knife. Make the cut 1 to 2 inches above the bulb. Don’t damage the foliage. In order for the bulb to bloom again next season, the plant must replenish its depleted food reserves. The strap-like leaves manufacture food for the plant. Place the plant in a sunny window and water when the soil surface is nearly dry. Fertilize every 2 to 4 weeks with a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer.

The amaryllis can be moved outdoors in late May or early June. Harden or acclimate the plant to the outdoors by initially placing it in a shady, protected area. After 2 or 3 days, gradually expose the amaryllis to longer periods of direct sun. Once hardened, select a site in partial to full sun. Dig a hole and set the pot into the ground. Outdoors, continue to water the plant during dry weather. Also, continue to fertilize the amaryllis once or twice a month through July. Bring the plant indoors in mid-September. Plants left indoors should be kept in a sunny window.

In order to bloom, amaryllis bulbs must be exposed to temperatures of 50 to 55 degree F for a minimum of 8 to 10 weeks. This can be accomplished by inducing the plant to go dormant and then storing the dormant bulb at a temperature of 50 to 55 degree F. To induce dormancy, place the plant in cool, semi-dark location in late September and withhold water. Cut off the foliage when the leaves turn brown. Then place the dormant bulb in a 50 to 55 degree F location for at least 8 to 10 weeks. After the cool requirement has been met, start the growth cycle again by watering the bulb and placing it in a well-lighted, 70 to 75 degree F location. Keep the potting soil moist, but not wet, until growth appears. The other option is to place the plant in a well-lighted, 50 to 55 degree F location in fall. Maintain the amaryllis as a green plant from fall to early to mid-winter. After the cool requirement has been met, move the plant to a warmer (70 to 75 degree F) location.

Amaryllis Flower. Photo by Cindy Haynes, ISU Department of Horticulture

Amaryllis, with its beautiful clusters of fragrant blossoms, is a holiday favorite. A South African-native, it delivers its trumpet-shaped blossoms in the winter, often just in time for the holidays. That can mean Christmas but can also include Valentine’s Day. There’s nothing like the lift the bright red, white or pink blossoms can give your spirit during the coldest part of winter.

Amaryllis is easy to grow and care for. It’s bare bulbs are planted to time flowering for end-of the-year gifts or for producing pleasing flowers through the short dark days of winter.

In November and December, the unfussy plants, well on their way to blossoming, are sold by grocery stores, gift shops, department stores and other places that cater to gift buyers or those who just want some color around the house. They’re also sold as kits complete with pot, bulb and soil. These do-it-yourself packages make wonderful gifts for your favorite gardener.

A BESTSELLER!

You and your plants are gonna’ love the Scheurich Sprayman — it’s a watering can and spray bottle in one! Made out of high quality, transparent plastic, the award-winning design of this super-chic watering tool makes plant care easy and fun.

If you receive one of these gifts or bought one or more for yourself, you can enjoy them next year at this time and for years to come with the proper care. Here’s how.

Gifts of potted amaryllis are usually in blossom or well on their way. If your gift plant has only sprouts and no blossoms, put it in a warm, sunny place. Water it only when the soil is completely dry to a depth of at least an inch or more.

When blossoms appear, enjoy them as long as you can by keeping the plants in a cool place. They’ll hold their blooms for weeks if kept from direct sunlight.

Once the flowers start to fade, cut them off but leave the stalks which will continues to produce the nutrients the plants will need to blossom the following year. This after-bloom growth is critical to future production. Once the flowers have been trimmed, move the plant into a sunny spot to help facilitate photosynthesis. Fertilize the plants regularly with a balanced organic plant food.

Eventually the stalks will yellow and wither. Trim them back to the bulb and put their container in a cool, dark place. Do not water or fertilize during this period. In 8 to 10 weeks, the bulbs will again show new sprouts.

Once sprouts appear and you’re ready for more blossoms, move the pot into a warm sunny place. Resume watering and feed with an organic fertilizer that’s high in phosphorous. During this time, potted bulbs can be moved outside once low temperatures stay above 50 degrees. Take time to acclimatize plants to the outdoors gradually.

After the summer bloom, it’s time to repeat the steps above, trimming the blossoms, allowing the stalks to grow until they dry and wither. Trim back the stalks and keep your bulb dormant until it’s time to begin the process again.

Timing during the late summer and early fall dormant period is crucial to producing flowers when you want them. Once stalks appear from the bulbs, it takes four to eight weeks before the flowers appear, depending on the conditions you provide it. Halloween is a good time to coax bulbs from their dormant period if you want blossoms for the holidays. Holding bulbs dormant well into December yields flowers in February.

The least expensive way to buy and grow amaryllis is to buy the bulbs and then plant them in the pots you choose. Choose firm buds that are free of cuts and bruises and carry a good cluster of roots at the bottom. Larger bulbs produce larger flowers. Inspect the top from where the flower stalks will grow making sure it’s not soft or offering rot a way in. It’s perfectly fine, even preferable, if a bit of growth has already begun to show itself. Larger bulbs will send up two or more stalks, one after another.

The plants grow best when slightly root-bound so choose a pot size according to the diameter of your bulb. Pick a pot with the width and weight to keep it from falling over from the top heavy stalks. Plant the bulb on an inch or two of soil and cover with soil leaving a third or so of its top above the soil line. Leave no more than an inch or so of soil between the bulb and the pot on all sides.

Drainage is important. Make sure the potting soil you use allows for it and that your pot has a hole in the bottom. Moss makes for an attractive ground cover for your plant.

After potting, give your plant a warm place to begin putting up growth. Sunlight encourages quicker, more compact growth, something that will prevent it from tipping over when it reaches its full height.

Amaryllis can be grown outdoors year-round in places where winter temperatures rarely descend below freezing. The University of North Carolina Extension Service tells how easy it is.

Gift giver’s tip: Don’t overlook amaryllis as a gift for children. The plant’s relatively quick growth and impressive flowers and foliage will keep their attention as well as teach budding young gardeners the rewards of consistent care. Charting their plants progress through blooming and dormant periods makes for a rewarding, long-term science project.

Note: Amaryllis leaves and flowers are poisonous. Don’t leave plants where children might be tempted to pluck their beauty then put it in their mouths. Cats also find the blossoms a temptation.

How to care for an amaryllis and let it bloom

Amaryllis care (botanical name is Hippeastrum)

The amaryllis bulb comes into bloom, depending on the temperature, on average 7 to 10 weeks after planting. The most important thing is that you keep your amaryllis in a warm and bright place. Do you want to take good care of an amaryllis? Then read all of our tips for optimal care of your amaryllis.

If you want to buy an amaryllis bulb in our shop, please go to “Our Amaryllises”. We offer free shipping on orders over €50,-.

You like to know more about our nursery, who we are and why we offer blooming guarantee?

1. Planting the amaryllis

  • Your amaryllis bulb can be planted immediately.
  • If you’d like to plant your bulb later, make sure to keep it somewhere cool, between 5 and 12 ° C to prevent premature sprouting.
  • Before planting, it is best to place the bulb with its roots in water to soak for half a day, this will make it easier for the bulb to grow new roots.
  • Use ordinary potting soil for houseplants and a sturdy and stable pot that can support the weight of the stem and the flowers.
  • Plant the bulb with about 2/3 of the bulb in the soil; the neck of the bulb should remain above the earth.
  • Potting soil straight from the bag is usually moist enough for your bulb, as long as there are no leaves and flower stalks yet visible. Do not give the bulb extra water yet.
  • Because the bulb gradually shrinks to bloom, it is good to press the potting soil down around the bulb occasionally.

2. Placement of an amaryllis

An amaryllis likes a light and warm climate between 18 and 25 ° C and can withstand direct sunlight. So a spot right next to a window is perfect.

3. How to water an amaryllis

  • After planting, no additional water needs to be given during the first week until the leaves and stem appear. The bulb is now growing new roots so you can gently start giving it water.
  • Only water your bulb when the top of the soil is dry again. Too much water can make the bulb rot.

4. Feeding an amaryllis

  • Until the end of flowering, extra plant nutrition is not necessary because there are enough nutrients in the bulb.
  • Only after flowering, when the leaves have developed, should you start feeding your amaryllis, if you’d like to make it bloom again.

5. How to make an amaryllis bloom again

  • Depending on the temperature, the amaryllis will bloom after 7 to 10 weeks.
  • Always remove faded flowers and when all the flowers have died, cut the flower stalk with a sharp knife to 10 cm above the bulb.
  • Do not discard the bulb after flowering. With good care, the bulb can flower again next year. For that, it needs to strengthen and increase in size.
  • The bulb can remain in the same pot (option 1) or can be transplanted into a larger pot (option 2), if necessary.

Option 1: Your amaryllis bulb stays in the same pot

  • Remove the stem after flowering; but do not cut off the leaves
  • Leave the bulb at room temperature and water regularly. Do not give the bulb plant food more than once every 6-8 weeks.
  • The leaves grow after the amaryllis has flowered and ensure that your bulb can grow and that new flower buds are made in the bulb.
  • Your amaryllis bulb needs a cold period to be able to bloom again. Approximately six months after flowering, the pot with the bulb and leaves can be placed in a cooler place, somewhere with a temperature between 7-15 ° C for at least 8 to 10 weeks.
  • During the first few weeks of this cool period, occasionally give your bulb some water
  • At the end of this cool period, remove the remaining leaves and return the pot to room temperature.
  • Hold off watering the bulb until the new leaves and flower stems emerge.
  • After 7 to 10 weeks, depending on the temperature, the amaryllis will bloom again.
  • Bulbs that are not transplanted into a different or larger pot have longer stems!

Option 2: Your amaryllis bulb is planted in another (larger) pot

  • Remove the stems after flowering; but do not cut off the leaves
  • Leave the bulb at room temperature and water regularly. Do not give the bulb plant food more than once every 6-8 weeks.
  • The leaves grow after the amaryllis has flowered and ensure that your bulb can grow and new flower buds are made in the bulb.
  • Remove the bulb from the pot about 6 months after the last flowering and cut the leaves about 5 cm above the bulb.
  • Keep the bulb in a warm, dry place for 2 weeks so that the cut can dry properly.
  • Clean the roots and remove old roots, young side bulbs (clusters) and old side bulbs.
  • Then store the bulb in a cool place between 7 and 15 ° C
  • After a cool period of 8 to 10 weeks, the bulb can be planted again.
  • After 7 to 10 weeks, depending on the temperature, the amaryllis will bloom again.
  • You can also plant the bulb with side bulbs (clusters) in its entirety in a larger pot. These clusters will become full-bodied bulbs and will also bloom.

Do you have a great picture of your flowering amaryllis? Post it on our Facebook page. We love seeing all of your photos!

Amaryllis Planting and Care

Amaryllis Quick Tips:

  • Planting Period: October until the end of April.
  • Flowering Period: Late December until the end of June.
  • Flowering time is 7-10 weeks.
  • Larger bulbs produce more flowers.
  • Always store un-planted bulbs in a cool place between 40-50 deg. F.

Amaryllis-One of a Kind

Of all flowering bulbs, amaryllis are the easiest to bring to bloom. This can be accomplished indoors or out, and over an extended period of time. The amaryllis originated in South America’s tropical regions and has the botanical name Hippeastrum. The large flowers and ease with which they can be brought to bloom make amaryllis popular and in demand worldwide. The amaryllis comes in many beautiful varieties including various shades of red, white, pink, salmon and orange. There are also many striped and multicolored varieties, usually combining shades of pink or red with white.

Preparation for Planting

The base and roots of the bulb should be placed in lukewarm water for a few hours. Remember, if you cannot plant the bulbs immediately after receiving them, store them at a cool temperature between 40-50 degrees F.

Planting

Plant bulbs in a nutritious potting compost, many are available pre-mixed. Plant the bulb up to its neck in the potting compost, being careful not to damage the roots. Press the soil down firmly to set the bulb securely in place after planting.

Placement and Watering

Plant the bulb, or place the potted bulb in a warm place with direct light since heat is necessary for the development of the stems. The ideal temperature is 68 to 70 degrees F. Water sparingly until the stem appears, then, as the bud and leaves appear, gradually water more. At this point, the stem will grow rapidly and flowers will develop after it has reached full growth.

Flowering Period

Bulbs will flower in 7-10 weeks as a general rule. In winter the flowering time will be longer than in spring. Set up your planting schedule between October and April with this in mind. To achieve continuous bloom, plant at intervals of 2 weeks for stunning color in your home or garden.

After-Bloom Care

After-Flowering. After the amaryllis has stopped flowering, it can be made to flower again. Cut the old flowers from the stem after flowering, and when the stem starts to sag, cut it back to the top of the bulb.
Leaf Growth and Development. Continue to water and fertilize as normal all summer, or for at least 5-6 months, allowing the leaves to fully develop and grow. When the leaves begin to yellow, which normally occurs in the early fall, cut the leaves back to about 2 inches from the top of the bulb and remove the bulb from the soil.
Bulb Storage. Clean the bulb and place it in a cool (40-50 deg. F), dark place such as the crisper of your refrigerator for a minimum of 6 weeks. Caution: Do not store amaryllis bulbs in a refrigerator that contains apples, this will sterilize the bulbs. Store the bulbs for a minimum of 6 weeks.
Plant Again. After 6 weeks you may remove bulbs whenever you would like to plant them. Plant bulbs 8 weeks before you would like them to bloom.

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AMARYLLIS: YEAR-ROUND CARE

A popular indoor plant in the winter and spring is the amaryllis, with large lily-shaped flowers on tall stems. They are becoming a popular holiday gift. As a bulb, it shares some care and growth methods used with other bulbs. However, because of its background as a tropical plant, and bloom cycle, there are differences. The bulb is NOT winter hardy in upstate NY, so would not survive planted outdoors, as would tulips, daffodils, etc. The amaryllis is for indoor blooms on a yearly cycle. With proper care, the bulb will flower again each year.

ESTABLISHING THE NEW BULB

The bulb does not require pre-cooling to be forced, as do daffodils and tulips. Newly purchased bulbs should be kept in a cool, dry location with air circulation until they can be planted. The bulb must NOT be frozen! If the bulb is not already potted when purchased, one should choose a pot about half-again as wide as the bulb. This is done because the bulb prefers to be pot bound, with no more than 2 inches from the side of the bulb to the wall of the pot. A normal bulb fits in a 6 to 8 inch diameter pot. The pot MUST have drainage hole(s) in its base.

Pot the bulb with good, sterile planting medium so that the top third of the bulb (including its ‘neck’) is above the soil. This ensures that no water placed on the surface of the soil will go down into the bulb’s neck. It is not necessary to cover the top of the bulb completely with soil – all the ‘action’ takes place at the base and roots. It is NOT necessary to put fertilizer or other supplements such as bone meal with the bulb, but if desired, a general purpose bulb fertilizer may be placed under the bulb ( 1/2 teaspoon fertilizer mixed with the dirt under the bulb – no fertilizer touching the bulb).

Leave some room between the bulb and the inside of the pot so that a support stick can be placed down through the dirt to support the stem at a later time. If you look at the bulb’s ‘neck’ you will see it is more oval or flat than round. The longest ‘sides’ of the neck will be where the leaves emerge. The edges of the leaves will be at the ‘pointed’ ends of the oval neck.

BEGINNING THE GROWING SEASON

Begin the forcing process 6-8 weeks before bloom is desired. Water the potted bulb ONCE thoroughly, from top and bottom of the pot. Do not water regularly until new green growth appears at the top of the neck. If the soil dries out before that time, water no more than once per week, preferably from the bottom of the pot (see below). The bulb is developing roots to bring moisture into it. Excessive watering at this stage will rot the bulb.

Overwatering at the beginning of amaryllis growth is the main reason for failure.

Keep the plant at room temperature. Do not cool the pot – remember, due to its tropical origins, this bulb does NOT need cooling to be forced.

When growth appears, it may be thin flat green leaves, a flower stem that is rounded and topped with a ‘knob’ bud, or a combination of the two. After this point, water whenever the soil below the top inch is dry – no more than once every 3 days. It is best to water by placing the pot in a pan of water of a level halfway up on the pot’s height, to allow the soil to draw up water through the base of the pot. Don’t plant in a sealed pot, don’t let the pot sit in water for long periods.

As the stem and leaves grow, it may be wise to provide a support with a stick or wire to hold up the flower stem. When the blooms open, the stem will become top heavy, and could bend over and break. Be careful when putting a support into the pot’s dirt – do not push the support through the bulb below the soil. The leaves may grow on either side of a main stem; or leaves may grow one side of the bulb’s neck, with the stem on the other side of the neck.

At the top of each main stem is a bud case which contains the flowers. This will enlarge, and open, revealing the flowers. At first, the flowers are green, and will develop their color over a period of days before the petals unfold. At the time that flowers are opening, ensure the plant is moist, without drowning it!

IN BLOOM

Typically, each flower stem produces four blooms, which open within 2-3 days of each other. Hearty bulbs of large diameter may produce more than one stem at a time.
Once blossoms open, keeping the plant in a cool, shaded room (65 F) will prolong the life of the bloom. A blooming amaryllis does NOT need to sit in a bright room or sunlight. Heat & light causes the bloom to wither. Blooms may last several days to a week. Be careful to not let the pollen get on fabrics – it can stain some cloth.
Note in the photo that the support for the stem is a wire loop held on a wooden dowel. Don’t tie a string or wire around the stem; a wire loop around but not touching the stem will provide it support if it leans under the weight of the open flowers.

When each bloom withers, cut the flower off just in back of the bloom, removing the green ‘lump’ in back of the blossom, and the thin stem connecting the bloom to the main flower stem. This is done so that the plant does not waste energy forming seeds behind each bloom. It is not worth trying to propogate amaryllis from seed, as it would be a multi-year project until you produced a bulb capable of flowering.
When all blooms on the top of the main stem are spent and removed, cut the main stem off 2 inches above the bulb. You will note that the main stem is hollow – as are the stems of daffodils, which are in the same family. The stem was rigid because of the water in its tissues.
Put the plant back into normal light, water as necessary. If the plant did not have many leaves at the time of bloom, it may produce many leaves now.Keep the leaves UNCHANGED. Leaf growth and sunlight will send nutrients down to the bulb. Treat the amaryllis as a treasured household plant during the Spring.

SUMMER PERIOD

In June, the amaryllis can be put outdoors for the summer. You may plant the pot and all – this protects the bulb from chewing or tunneling insects. Also, amaryllis prefer being pot-bound, and do not like being transplanted from pot to garden for the summer.

Water & fertilize the area as with any plant. Amaryllis can stand a sunny location; if in a shady spot, they cannot get energy to ‘recharge’ themselves! Leaf growth may continue; nutrients are going from the leaves to feed the bulb. The pot may also stand on a porch, patio or on the ground. Ensure the pot will drain water and not let it collect to rot the bulb.

ENTERING DORMANT PERIOD

As summer ends, you may notice the leaves yellowing or withering. Bring the plant indoors before the first frost. In upstate NY, the plant should be removed from outdoors the first week of October. Cut off the dead leaves at the top of the bulb’s neck. Let any live leaves remain. Keep the bulb in its pot. If it had been removed from the pot to be placed outdoors, re-pot it immediately after removing from ground – do not allow roots to dry out. At this point the bulb has an extensive root system unlike a newly-purchased bulb.

For the bulb to flower again, we must simulate its life cycle, and force it to go dormant. Put the potted amaryllis in a cool (55 degrees F), dimly-lit place such as a cellar for 6-8 weeks. You should not water the bulb. As the leaves yellow and wither, cut them off at the top of the bulb’s neck.

FORCING AFTER DORMANCY

End the dormant period when you are ready to start the blooming period once more. Start the forcing process 6-8 weeks before you want blooming. Cut any dead tissue off the bulb’s neck. Remove the top 1/2 inch of soil from the pot, replace with new soil. Do not remove the bulb from the pot. Water the potted bulb ONCE thoroughly, and place the pot in normal indoor temperature.

Follow the preceding schedule (“BEGINNING THE GROWING SEASON”) as if this were a newly-purchased bulb. The bulb should break dormancy and start new growth with the energy it stored during its summer period in leaf.

POOR RESULTS ??

If a plant produces leaves, but no flower stem, in a given year, continue to tend the plant so the leaves will feed the bulb for next year’s flower. Some bulbs may not have the strength to produce the flowers each year.

If a bulb shows no green growth from forcing, use your fingers to squeeze the potted bulb below the dirt surface. If the bulb is not firm, it may have rotted and needs to be discarded. Rotting also can indicate that a bulb received too much watering during its cycle.

Duane Reid is an electrical engineer, seen here with Amaryllis “Cocktail”.
A lover of flower bulbs, he lives in Rochester NY, where he teaches bulb classes and creates bulb gardens as the service Bloomin’ Bulbs.
You may contact him through our feedback form.
This is an adaptation of material Duane wrote for the Winter 1995 issue of Upstate Gardeners’ Journal.

The Amaryllis Brothers and Sisters!

Which plants are related to Amaryllis Flowers? The amaryllis family is mostly native to tropical and warm temperate regions of South America and Africa. Flowers grow at the top of a long leafless stem, usually in groups but sometimes singly. Many kinds of amaryllis relatives (also called Amaryllidaceae) have white or light-colored flowers, but some of the showiest bulb flowers belong in this family, including the plants commonly called amaryllis which really belong to the genus Hippeastrum.

Temperate Plants

Native to Europe and the Mediterranean area of North Africa, southern Europe and Asia, Narcissus is a large genus that includes daffodils, jonquils and narcissus. There are many categories of narcissus types, and they have been hybridized for centuries. Flower colors are yellow, orange, red-orange, pink, cream and white. Some brightly colored daffodils are golden yellow “Golden Ducat,” pink-cupped “Pink Pride,” yellow-and-orange “Fortissimo” and “Scarlet Gem” with yellow petals and a red-orange cup.

Low-Growing Plants

Responding to summer and fall rains, rain lilies (Zephyranthes spp.) can bloom several times a season depending on rainfall. Star-shaped small flowers come in pink, yellow and white. Grass-like clumps of leaves are suitable for edgings, borders and rock gardens, rising about 4 to 8 inches from the soil. Rain lily grows in USDA zones 7b through 11. A fragrant yellow-flowered amaryllis native, perfumed fairy lily (Chlidanthus fragrans) grows 10 to 12 inches tall and blooms in summer. They make long-lasting cut flowers with a citrusy scent. Native to South America, perfumed fairy lily is hardy.

Globe-Shaped Inflorescences

Several kinds of amaryllis relatives have spherical heads of many flowers giving a large pom-pom or paint-brush effect. African plants called powderpuff or paintbrush. have large bulbs that produce thick green leaves in winter. Flowers appear in fall. Although most have white flowers, Haemanthus sanguineus and Haemanthus coccineus have showy red inflorescences, and are hardy. The closely related torch lily (Scadoxus multiflorus) has large spherical red flower heads.

Showy-Flowered Plants

Spider lilies (Lycoris spp.) are native to eastern Asia and are either spring- or fall-blooming. The yellow-flowered golden surprise lily (Lycoris chinensis). Red spider lily (Lycoris radiata) has brilliant red flowers with long stamens in fall.
The blood-red Aztec lily (Sprekelia formosissima) from Mexico has differently shaped petals and a bilaterally symmetrical flower. The true genus amaryllis is represented by naked ladies (Amaryllis belladonna), so-called because the pink flowers bloom in summer when no other plant parts are present. This plant is hardy and has been bred with other amaryllis relatives to produce hybrids. Kaffir lily (Clivia miniata) grows 12 to 24 inches tall with orange flowers in winter to spring.

Source : Homeguides.sfgate
Picture credit : Flickr.com

Hippeastrum (Amaryllis)

Hippeastrum Care Guide

Light

Bright light with some sun for part of the day is a must for your Hippeastrum if you are hoping for a repeat flower display next year. Too little light during the flowering period will also result in the stalks bending towards light sources and increasing the chances of it falling over.

Don’t let the bulb “sit” in water as this will cause it to rot.

Watering

If brought in the dormant state you want to water just enough to ensure the soil is evenly moist then wait until growth starts before watering again. When “actively growing” (so when the leaves have fully emerged) and the temperature is warm aim to keep the soil moist for most of the time, reducing water as you head towards Autumn / Fall before stopping completely.

It’s so easy to cause a Hippeastrum and Amaryllis bulb to rot from overwatering so don’t ever let the bulb “sit” in water at anytime.

Humidity

Neither Hippeastrum or Amaryllis are very fussy about humidity. But remember that very humid locations will need less watering overall than locations which are very arid because the potting soil will take longer to dry out.

Feeding

Only feed when the flowers have faded and the leaf straps have emerged from the plant itself. Try and feed every couple of weeks or so during the Summer and stop just before Autumn / Fall begins. This will help the bulb to “fatten” up, ready for it to create some (hopefully) speculator blooms early the following year.

Temperature

When you first get your Hippeastrum, if it’s not already in bloom or showing flowering shoots then you need a warm location to get things moving. Warmth along with a little moisture will awaken a dormant bulb and then if you keep it warm you’ll have flowering shoots heading for the ceiling in no time.

If you keep the same warmth when the flower buds are due to open and immediately after this, then the flowering period will be very short. So if you want to slow the overall growth (you may be hoping to get it to bloom for a certain date for example) or want to prolong the life of the blooms once they’ve opened up fully, then cool things down.

Just like a bunch of cut flowers you buy from a shop they’ll last longer if placed out of direct sunlight and in a cooler room. With that said neither Hippeastrum or Amaryllis will take “cold” conditions and frost must be avoided at all costs.

Repotting

Repotting your Hippeastrum is only needed if the original pot is very small to start with, the existing potting medium has broken down or the plant has produced so many offsets that it needs more space. There is no need to repot each year or to even remove the bulb from the existing pot during the rest period.

If you ever do repot, assuming you choose to put it in a different pot, ensure the new container is only a little bigger than the previous one and use a good quality compost. Remember the bulb only needs to be half covered as full coverage will increase the chances of it rotting.

Propagation

Hippeastrum will produce offsets quite often which is the good news. The bad news is that they take a very long time to reach a really good size, which is required before they will produce flowers of their own. Often it’s best to leave the offsets next to the parent plant for several years.

Eventually they will be big enough to be separated from the parent bulb and grown on by themselves. To do this remove the entire plant from the container and gently remove the offset(s). By this point it will have some of its own roots too, so carefully detangle them and make sure the offset takes some with it when separated,

Speed of Growth

You should easily have flowers well within two months of the plant waking from the dormancy period. Warm temperatures will quicken the speed of growth massively. The flowers will often fade between a couple of weeks up to a month after first opening, and over the following months after that, green strap like leaves will fully grow and extend from the bulb. These will eventually die back as Autumn / Fall arrives, things get cooler and if you reduce watering.

Height / Spread

Hippeastrum and Amaryllis grow to different sizes and heights so it’s difficult to give exact specifications. Sometimes the flowering stalk is very tall approaching 75cm / 30in with huge dinner plate blooms that need support to keep them upright. Other times they’re quite compact and dainty and won’t need any assistance to keep them upright. Always check the tags or labels that come with the plants for more precise guidance.

Flowers

Hippeastrum is one houseplant that doesn’t disappoint when it comes to attention grabbing flowers. Bold, huge and varied. They will capture passerby’s and will win over the hearts of mortal enemies (maybe). It’s common to get four or five of these showy flowers per main flower stalk or stem. Of which there are often one or two, if the bulb is quite small or still young then there will likely only be one flower stem.

Each flower is often between 13–20cm / 5-8in across coming in many different colours and patterns. They’re usually funnel shaped and this can be seen clearly with the single varieties, they also come in a double form. The “traditional” Hippeastrum typically has six petals although there are more introductions all the time with different “looks” and shapes that differ greatly from the “traditional” style.

Is Amaryllis Poisonous?

There are toxic compounds within this plant, and although they are sparse in the stem, leaves and flowers they are quite concentrated in the bulb. You should be careful if you’ve inquisitive pets.

The Hippeastrum Lifecycle

There is a yearly cycle which you will enter at some point when you acquire Hippeastrum and it goes like this.

Dormant Bulb – A dormant bulb will be as the name sounds, “dormant”. They’ll be no growth of any kind although parts may appear green or there may be very tiny shoot tips at the next of the bulb. At this stage all you need to do is “wake” the bulb. Once you do so, it should be in flower within two months, so if the flowering time is something you want to plan for consider when you do the next bit carefully.

Waking the Bulb – The bulb should be planted in good quality compost with only the bottom half of the bulb actually covered. Water it well once and then bring indoors to a warm semi bright spot. This will awaken the plant and a few leaves and the flower stalk(s) will start to grow from the top over the next month or so. Don’t keep watering the plant at this stage, the original watering is all that is needed until the flower stalk(s) is clearly visible a few inches above the bulb at which point aim to keep the soil just moist.

Flowering – Several weeks later the flower stem will grow rapidly before eventually opening. Often one stem will flower fully and when that fades the following ones will start their display. Therefore although each bloom is quite short lived the display will last for several weeks, possibly a month or longer.

Leaf Growth – After the flowering period is over you can remove the dead flowers. The leaves which will have already started to show themselves will fully emerge and grow. As far as houseplants go they aren’t especially showy or attractive, so if you don’t want the plant around your home at this stage you can move it outdoors (providing all danger of frost has passed). Water well and feed at regular intervals for the next few months.

Triggering Dormancy – Just like the Amaryllis growing outdoors, a period of dormancy is needed to trigger flowering. At the end of Summer / start of Autumn / Fall reduce watering. If the plant is outside this will cause the leaves to start yellowing and dying back. Eventually all that will be left is the odd stray leaf or just the bulb itself which is what you want.

At this stage move to a cool but frost free place for around two months. The soil needs to be dry so don’t water at all during this time or provide warmth both of which can prevent or break the dormancy period. After this “rest” the cycle is complete and can be started again as detailed above.

Hippeastrum / Amaryllis Problems

Rotting Amaryllis / Hippeastrum Bulb

Exposure to frost or overwatered, usually the culprit is the latter. When coming to water, if in any doubt that the soil might be moist enough already it’s best not to risk it. A heavily rotten bulb is normally the end of the line for your plant, although any offsets might be salvageable.

The flower stalk has gone yellow

After flowering the flower stalks will start to go yellow and die. Don’t be in a hurry to cut them off as the energy is going back into the bulb, although when all of the green has gone you should remove them.

No flowers on my Amaryllis

The bulb is either too young, too small or the growth cycle has not been followed correctly.

Floppy or lanky leaves

Unfortunately this is quite common when temperatures swing between hot and cold and vice versa. Classically this occurs in Winter; during the days we have the central heating on in our living areas and at night we retreat to our bedrooms where the living areas rapidly cool. The leaves / flowering stalk will recover but consider providing some structure support.

My Amaryllis / Hippeastrum keeps falling over

Many Hippeastrum’s have been bred to produce amazing blooms that they wouldn’t naturally, some of which are very large and heavy. Many of these varieties will need some support to stop them falling over so consider inserting a wooden or plastic stick to support the flowering stem. If it does topple, you risk it snapping and ruining your hard work so if there is any concern get that support in place.

About the Author

Tom Knight

Over the last 20 years Tom has successfully owned hundreds of houseplants and is always happy to share knowledge and lend his horticulture skills to those in need. He is the main content writer for the Ourhouseplants Team.

Also on Ourhouseplants.com

Credit for the red Hippeastrum photo – Article / Gallery – Daniel Macher
Credit for the red and white Hippeastrum photo – Article / Gallery – Antonio solera

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Amaryllis Family (Amaryllidaceae)

Species in the amaryllis family are flowering plants, and are mostly long-lived, perennial herbs arising from a bulb or, less commonly, from rhizomes (underground stems). These plants have linear or strap shaped leaves, either crowded around the base of a leafless flowering stem, or arranged in two tight rows along a short stem, as in the common houseplant Clivia. The leaves are usually hairless and contain mucilage cells, or cells filled with calcium oxalate crystals known as raphides for defense against herbivores. Silica-filled (glass) cells, which are typical of many other monocotyledonous plant families, are absent from the amaryllis family.

The flowers of amaryllids are bisexual, with six perianth parts (or tepals) that sometimes have appendages A Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia). Photograph by Gregory Ochoki. Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.
that form a corona, as in the central, protruding part of a daffodil flower (Narcissus spp.). The flowers are white, yellow, purple, or red, but never blue. The flowers are pollinated by bees or moths, but many are also adapted to bird and some to bat pollination. The fruits are usually many-seeded capsules, or sometimes berries.

Between 900 and 1,300 species of amaryllids have been recognized. Most are tropical or subtropical, with centers of distribution in South Africa, the western Mediterranean (especially Spain and Morocco), and to a lesser extent, Andean South America. Many species are drought-resistant xerophytes that produce leaves in the spring or when the rainy season begins, open their stomates only at night, have stomates located in the bottom of pits, and have thick waxy leaves—all to conserve water.

Many amaryllids are prized as ornamentals for home or garden because of their large, showy flowers, which are held high above the contrasting dark green leaves. The Cape belladona (Amaryllis belladona) is a native of dry regions of southwestern Cape Province, On the left, a flowering century plant (Agave shawii), and on the right a cirio (Idria columnaris), Baja California, Mexico. Some plant taxonomists include agaves in the amaryllis family, while others place them in their own family, the Agavaceae. Photograph by F. Gohier. National Audubon Society Collection/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.
South Africa, and is widely cultivated for its large, pink, bell-shaped flowers, which are moth-pollinated. The genus Hippeastrum, which is native to the West Indies, Mexico, and as far south as Argentina, has also been called Amaryllis by some taxonomists. Whatever its correct identity, many species of this genus have spectacular, large flowers that have evolved for pollination by birds, and are commonly grown as ornamentals.

Many members of the tribe Narcisseae are also widely cultivated, both indoors and outdoors. Most of the horticultural varieties originate from Spain, Portugal, or Morocco, and are small to medium-sized herbs, with linear leaves around a leafless stem that typically bears one to several flowers. The spring-flowering species have been most intensively bred as garden ornamentals, especially the common daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus). Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis), an early blooming ornamental, and St. John’s lily (Crinum asiaticum), are also amaryllids. Clivia is a common houseplant, especially in Europe, that is prized for its deep-green, shiny leaves and its large salmon-colored flowers, and for the fact that it requires little light, water, or attention.

Agaves are often included in the amaryllis family. However, this taxonomic treatment is controversial, and agaves are sometimes put into their own family, the Agavaceae. About 300 species live in dry habitats from the southern United States to northern South America. These are conspicuous perennials, with a dense rosette of large, persistent sword-like leaves that bear spines at the tip, and often along the margins as well.

The scientific name Agave comes from the Greek agaue, which means noble, referring to the height of their flowering stalks. Their common name, century plant, refers to the long period of time that these plants remain in a non-sexual, vegetative state before flowering. This period generally lasts for 5-50 years, and not 100 years as the name implies. When they are ready to flower, Agave plants rapidly develop a thick flowering stem that may reach 20 ft (6 m) in height. Greenhouse keepers have sometimes come to work in the morning to find a flowering stem of an agave poking through the broken glass of their greenhouse. After this one episode of sexual activity, some species of agave plants die.

A few species of agaves are commercially important. Agave americana, commonly called American aloe or century plant, contains aloe, which is a commonly used ingredient in shampoos, moisturizers, and salves. Also important is the production of Mexico’s national alcoholic beverage, pulque, which is mostly made from Agave americana, although a few other species of agave are also used. When the flowering stem is formed, a large amount of sap is produced. The bud at the end of the developing flowering stem is removed, and a cavity scooped out in which the sugary sap collects. As much as 238 gal (900 l) can be recovered from one plant over three to four months. The sap is fermented, resulting in a milky liquid with an alcohol concentration of 4-8 %. This beverage is pulque. A more potent liquor known as mescal is produced by distillation of pulque.

Many species of agave are valuable for the long fibers in their leaves. Aztecs used the fibers of henequen (A. fourcroydes) to make a twine, and the practice continues today. The stronger sisal hemp is derived from leaves of A. sisalana, native to the Americas but now grown in many parts of the tropics. Sisal is commonly used to manufacture baler twine for agriculture and a parcelling twine. The hard fibers of Furcraea macrophylla of Colombia have been used to make the large bags used for shipping coffee beans from that and other countries.

Amaryllis Bulbs In Winter: Information About Amaryllis Bulb Storage

Amaryllis flowers are very popular early-blooming bulbs that make for big, dramatic splashes of color in the dead of winter. Once those impressive blossoms have faded, however, it’s not over. Storing amaryllis bulbs over the winter is an easy and effective way to get recurring blooms for years to come. Keep reading to learn more about amaryllis bulb storage and how to overwinter an amaryllis bulb.

Storing Amaryllis Bulbs in Winter

Once the flowers of your amaryllis have faded, cut back the flower stalks to ½ an inch (1.25 cm.) above the bulb. Don’t cut the leaves yet! Your bulb needs the leaves in place to gather energy to make it through the winter and grow again in the spring.

If you move it to a sunny spot, it can gather even more energy. If it’s in a pot with drainage holes and your nights are warmer than 50 F. (10 C.), you can move it outside. If your pot does not have drainage holes, don’t put it outside – the rain will build up and rot your bulb.

You can transplant it outside into your garden for the duration of the summer, though. Make sure to bring it inside again if there’s any danger of frost.

Amaryllis Bulb Storage

When the foliage starts to die back naturally, cut it back to 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm.) above the bulb. Dig your bulb up and store it in a cool, dry, dark place (like a basement) for anywhere between 4 and 12 weeks. Amaryllis bulbs in winter go dormant, so it won’t need any water or attention.

When you want to plant your bulb, place it in a pot not much bigger than the bulb, with its shoulders above the soil. Give it one good drink of water and place it in a warm, sunny window. Before long it should start growing.

You can have amaryllis blooms in your house during the winter, and you can see them in an exhibit now at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

I have a bunch of amaryllis bulbs in two large pots, and I would like to separate them and move some into another pot. I asked David Clark, nationally and internationally known gardening educator, for some tips.

His first suggestion: Don’t do it.

“Amaryllis likes to be root-bound,” Clark said. He told me that if I separate the bulbs, they may not flower this year.

While I hear his warning, those bulbs have been crammed into those pots for years, and new bulbs have formed. I really think I would like to move some of the new bulbs.

I’m glad I asked Clark how to do it because he gave me some great advice.

Timing is important

If you want to divide or repot your amaryllis bulbs, do it at the beginning of the growth cycle.

If you just got an amaryllis plant that bloomed over the holidays or is blooming now, it’s not at the right stage for repotting. Wait until next year.

Follow these steps to get your plant ready for reblooming inside next winter.

Continue to grow the plant as a houseplant in the best light you have, Clark said, and give it some balanced plant fertilizer. When the flower has finished blooming, you can cut off the stem so the plant doesn’t look ugly.

However, don’t cut off the leaves! That’s very important. The plant needs the leaves to store up energy over the summer.

In the spring, when the danger of frost has passed and night temperatures are at 55 degrees Fahrenheit, put the plant outside. You’re going to keep it outside all summer.

Here are a couple tips to help you get your plant through the summer.

I have several bulbs in this one large pot. In the summer, I don’t have to water this large pot as often as I would have to water several small pots. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

First, you can put many bulbs in one big pot. That has worked well for me. A big pot will retain water better than a smaller pot, so you won’t have to water it as often when it’s hot and dry outside during the summer.

However, in the winter, those pots take up a lot of room in my house. It would be nice to have just one amaryllis in its own pot that could be displayed on a tabletop without having to clear everything else away. And if you’re starting with just one amaryllis, you don’t want to transplant it into a large pot– Remember, they like to be root-bound. But during the summer, a small pot outside in hot, dry weather needs to be watered every single day, maybe twice a day. Are you really going to do that?

Clark suggests taking the plant, pot and all, and setting it into the ground. It will look like another plant in your garden.

That’s brilliant! The plant will lose moisture a little more slowly if the pot is surrounded by moist soil than if the pot is exposed to drying breezes. Still, make sure you give it lots of water, and fertilize it during the summer. The plant is storing up energy and forming the flower spike inside the bulb.

Bonus tip: Before you put the pot into the ground, slip a nylon stocking over the pot to keep worms out of the drainage hole– The worms will eat organic matter and the potting medium, Clark said.

Keep your amaryllis plant outside all summer, and when the nights get down to about 50 degrees Fahrenheit, bring the plant inside, Clark said.

At that point, you want the plant to go dormant. Leave the bulb in the pot. Put the pot in a cool place, such as a basement. Tropical plants go dormant in temperatures that are about 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Don’t water the plants and don’t fertilize them. The leaves will die, and that’s okay.

Around the end of January or beginning of February, you’ll start to see signs of life. A green thing will emerge from the neck of the bulb.

When you see that, you can divide your bulbs.

How to divide or repot your amaryllis bulbs

If you followed all those steps last year, your plant should be at the beginning of the growth cycle or near the beginning of the growth cycle. You’ll have brown, crisp, dry leaves with something green poking out of the neck of the bulb. This is the time when you can divide your bulbs.

One of the bulbs in this pot is showing some green. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

(If you don’t have that green thing poking out of the neck of the bulb yet, just wait a little longer. Mine weren’t doing anything yesterday, and today I have one sprout.)

Choose a new pot that will give your bulb one-half inch or one inch on each side of the bulb– The pot shouldn’t be roomier than that, Clark said.

Terra cotta pots work best because amaryllis plants like dryish conditions, he said, and the terra cotta will let the root structure breathe. They like deeper, narrower pots.

You can remove any dried roots from the bulb. You can also trim the roots if needed so they fit into the new pots.

Put the bulb in a bowl of water so just the root plate– the bottom of the bulb where the roots emerge– is in the water. Let it soak for 12 hours.

The message the plant is getting is that this is the rainy season in its native land, Clark explained, and it should start to grow.

Plant your bulb into the new pot. You can use a soilless potting medium or potting soil; a soilless medium will dry out faster.

Plant the bulb so about two-thirds is covered with dirt; don’t pant the bulb all the way up to the neck.

Water until the water comes out of the drainage hole.

Don’t water the pot again until the soil is dry 1 ½ inches down, Clark said. You can test the soil by inserting a chopstick or pencil. Moisture will turn the chopstick a darker color, he said. Of course, you can also use your finger.

When the soil is dry 1 ½ inches down, add one-quarter cup of water around the edge of the bulb.

“More water at the beginning of the cycle will produce more leaves,” Clark said, “but by withholding moisture, you’re forcing the flower stalk to grow taller than the leaves.”

Give your plant good light.

You can put multiple bulbs into one pot as long as they are nestled and don’t have too much extra room. For a nicer look, plant three bulbs in one pot rather than two, Clark noted.

Enjoy the flowers as long as they last. Again, you can cut off the withered flower, but don’t cut off the leaves.

See amaryllis flowers at the Botanical Gardens

The Amaryllis exhibit is under way now from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily through Sunday, Feb. 28 at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo.

Entrance to the exhibit is included with regular admission to the Botanical Gardens: $9 for adults, $8 for seniors (ages 55 and older) and students (ages 13 and older with ID), $5 for children ages 3-12 and free for Botanical Gardens members and children 2 and under.

Learn more from David Clark

Clark teaches four courses of entertaining and informative horticulture classes at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. You can sign up for an entire course or just take a single class. You don’t have to take the classes in any particular order. Seating is limited. Find out more here.

Clark can also speak to your group. Get more details.

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