Popular for their large, flamboyant blooms, these tender bulbs make fantastic houseplants. Flowering from winter to spring they are often grown as Christmas gifts. Commonly known as amaryllis, they are in fact from the genus Hippeastrum, looking very similar to the true Amaryllis. Growing amaryllis is so rewarding – they’re easy to plant and with a little care can easily be encouraged to bloom again! Read on to learn how to grow amaryllis successfully in your home.
Amaryllis bulbs are tender and are best planted in pots for frost-free, indoor cultivation. They can be planted between October and January and generally flower within six to ten weeks of planting.
Once Amaryllis flowers have faded its best to cut the whole stem off as close to the base as possible. Feed and water amaryllis bulbs with a balanced fertiliser every few weeks to enable them to build up strength for next year. Give them plenty of light too as this helps the leaves generate energy that is stored in the bulb. Amaryllis plants can be placed outside for the summer once all risk of frost has passed, placing them in a semi-shaded position away from intense sunlight. Once the leaves start to die down, reduce watering until the compost is only just moist, allowing the amaryllis bulbs to become dormant or semi-dormant.
Move the plants to a cool, bright position in late September, ideally around 13°C, for eight to ten weeks. Any old foliage can be cut back to the neck of the bulb. After this time, move amaryllis bulbs to a warm position and resume watering as per the growing instructions above. Once amaryllis plants are actively growing again, they can be fed with a balanced fertiliser every few weeks to encourage flower production.
After three years it’s a good idea to re-pot amaryllis bulbs for continued good displays. Amaryllis bulbs grow best in small pots so don’t be tempted to re-pot into a larger pot. After flowering, from January to March, remove the bulbs from the compost and gently remove as much compost as possible from around the roots, without disturbing them too much as amaryllis plants resent disturbance. Refill the pot with fresh compost and re-plant the bulb with a third showing above the surface.
Plants and gardens have always been a big part of my life. I can remember helping my Dad to prick out seedlings, even before I could see over the top of the potting bench. As an adult, I trained at Writtle College where I received my degree, BSc. (Hons) Horticulture. After working in a specialist plantsman's nursery, and later, as a consulting arboriculturalist, I joined Thompson & Morgan in 2008. Initially looking after the grounds and coordinating the plant trials, I now support the web team offering horticultural advice online.