Easy to Grow Blooms for Your Home

Growing plants indoors is not always the easiest thing to do. Even people who have a green thumb can watch their thumb turn black when they try to grow a potted plant inside their home. I speak from personal experience on this; I tend to be able to grow most bulbs and plants outdoors with no problem. However, certain houseplants I have tried didn’t make it too long, unfortunately. With that being said, I have had success with upright elephant ears, Norfolk pine, jade plants, and amaryllis!   Whether you have a green thumb, black thumb or some combination of the both, if you want to successfully grow indoor blooms, plant Amaryllis bulbs this fall and winter!

If you still aren’t convinced you will be able to get an amaryllis to grow, bloom and bloom again read my 6 tips for growth and blooms on amaryllis below:

1.) Purchase your Amaryllis Bulbs

(You may skip this step if a friend or family member gifted you an amaryllis) Amaryllis are often sold in a kit that comes with the bulb, container, and soil. If this is your first time planting amaryllis an easy to grow amaryllis kit is the best choice to start with. If you have accumulated so many empty pots you could start your own Pottery Barn or have grown amaryllis before, I suggest purchasing premium Dutch grown Amaryllis that are sold as an individual bulb. If you want blooms for a long time after planting, purchase amaryllis that are sold as a kit and some of the premium Dutch amaryllis. The amaryllis bulbs that come in a kit tend to bloom within 4-6 weeks of planting, while the premium Dutch amaryllis can take 10-12+ weeks to bloom, depending on variety.   Therefore purchasing an assortment of amaryllis kits and bulbs is the best way to have blooms from as early as Thanksgiving to as late as St. Patrick’s Day!

2.) Choose a Container

Selecting a container will be easy if your amaryllis bulb came in a kit, as a container was included with the kit! If you have an individual bulb and are wondering what container size or shape will be best you have several options. Your container should have drainage holes at the bottom to allow the water to run through after watering.  Wet, damp roots can be detrimental to amaryllis bulb growth and health, be sure to provide proper drainage. The container should allow for a little space on the sides of the bulb, as well as the bottom of the bulb. About 1-2” on each side for extra space is a good amount. At least 1-2” below the bottom of the bulb to the bottom of the container is adequate. Amaryllis blooms can be very large, and the stems very tall on some varieties. For large amaryllis bulbs over 30cm in circumference or amaryllis that grow tall, you will want to be sure your container has enough weight to it, that it can support the amaryllis blooms when they open. If your container is too light the amaryllis will most likely tip over and could break or at least create a bit of a mess. Amaryllis may also be grown in a cylinder vase with river rock or pebbles at the bottom. If you choose to plant your amaryllis in a vase or cylindrical, be sure that the roots are not sitting in water.

3.) Choose a Location

I have seen amaryllis bloom in the lowest light situations imaginable. Blooming in a dark warehouse, or in the box they were packed in. While I am not advocating for you to place your amaryllis bulb in your closest, they will grow in areas of your home where there is not a lot of sunlight. However, to get the best blooms from your amaryllis you will want to place your amaryllis in a warm location that receives 4-6 hours of sun, it does not need to be direct sun, but a bright warm location is ideal.

4.) Plant your Bulb

If your amaryllis arrived in a kit, you most likely received a soil disc or small amount of lightweight potting soil with the kit. Typically the amount of soil in these kits is the correct amount needed for potting your amaryllis.  If you are planting an individual bulb in a container you have selected you will also need potting soil. A soil that is made for growing plants in containers is what you will want, this type of soil is generally lightweight to allow for good drainage, and has some nutrients to help encourage healthy roots, shoots, and blooms. Fill your container about halfway up with soil. Place the bulb on the soil, and spread the roots out as much as the container will allow you to. Add more soil to fill up the rest of the unused space in-between the bulb and the container. Amaryllis like to have the top of the bulb and bud above ground level, so when filling in the remainder of the container with the soil you will want to stop adding soil once about 30% of the bulb is no longer exposed. Once the bulb is planted and the container is filled with potting soil, add water! Using a watering can slowly add water, enough so that the water drains through the bottom of the container. Watering at planting helps the soil and bulb to settle and eliminates air pockets.

 

5.) Start Growing and Blooming

Amaryllis are so easy to grow; they don’t typically require a lot of special care once they are planted. They prefer the soil to be dry after the initial planting before the blooms appear. From when you pot up the bulb until you see the first blooms appear, you will only need to water once every couple of weeks. Typically no more than 1 cup per watering will suffice during this time period. When the soil appears to be dry, is when you will want to water. The best way to know how dry the soil is to gently place your fingers in the soil and feel if there is moisture in the soil. If it is crumbly and appearing dry this is when you will want to add water. If there is dampness and some moisture in the soil, you should hold off until the soil is completely dry. Once your bulb starts to show a bud coming from the base of the bulb, it won’t be long until beautiful amaryllis flowers appear. As the flower bud grows, you will want to monitor the amount of moisture in the soil. Once the bud is ready to open and you have a flower, keeping the soil evenly moist will help to increase the bloom time. Amaryllis at this point don’t need damp or wet soil but keeping the soil from drying out once you see blooms will help create a longer bloom time. Once the amaryllis bulb starts to bloom if the flowers are too heavy for the container to support the blooms, you may want to consider staking the flower with a flower stake, flower marker, bamboo or even a shish kabob skewer (pretty much anything that is tall, sturdy and narrow enough to hold the stem up).

6.) After Care

Depending on how frequently you water, how much sun and how warm the amaryllis is you will generally have blooms on your amaryllis bulbs for at least 7 days. Hot, dry warm rooms tend to cause the flowers to wither and die quicker. If the room they are in is hot and dry because of winter heating and air, you will want to ensure you are keeping the soil moist. A spray mister bottle can help with keeping the flowers from drying out quickly. Inevitably the blooms on your amaryllis bulb will fade, over time, once the flowers are withered you may cut the flower stem down to the base of the bulb if there are leaves you can leave those intact. Often, and especially from the larger bulbs, another set of buds and blooms will appear within 1-2 weeks after the first set of blooms faded.   Once those blooms have faded, you can do the same thing and remove the flower stem. If your amaryllis has bloomed 2 or 3 times it most likely will not bloom a 4th time, and at this time you will notice leaves forming from the bulb. At this point, you can decide if you want to keep the bulb and try to get it to bloom next year, or if you want to discard the bulb and purchase a new one next season. If you are going to try to get the bulb to bloom again, you will want to take the amaryllis outside once the danger of frost has passed in your area. During these spring and summer months, the amaryllis will more than likely be just leaves, and will not bloom again until the following winter. To get the amaryllis to bloom again the next winter you will need to provide a period of dormancy. You can do this by bringing the bulb into a cool, dark location starting in late summer to early fall. Remove all the leaves if there are any, and remove it from the soil—this will create the dormancy time required. In November you can remove the bulb from the dark room, and pot it up again in a warm and bright location.

Orange Souvereign Amaryllis

You are now equipped with all the knowledge you need to grow a healthy amaryllis bulb with multiple flowers, and hopefully multiple bloom cycles. To recap the basics of growing amaryllis, plant in a bright, warm location, in a pot with adequate drainage, keep the soil dry prior to flowering and water regularly once the bud appears! If you follow these simple principles you will have a beautiful red, pink, white or any combination of these colors on your amaryllis bulbs this winter in your home!