Though you can grow amaryllises (and paperwhites
) only in water, read on to learn how to plant both in soil.
For a single amaryllis, use a pot with good drainage, about 3 to 4 inches wider than the bulb. Make sure it is relatively heavy—an amaryllis can reach up to 2 feet high. The more flowers, the more likely they are to topple over the vase.
Stagger the beauty.
Since amaryllises are generally available October-April, pot some every few weeks to enjoy blooms until spring. For the December holidays, choose "Christmas Flowering Amaryllis" or "Pizzazz," with its red and white candy-cane appeal—both of which bloom earlier.
How to plant.
Plant the bulb in a pot just barely larger than the diameter of the bulb(s). Fill with well-drained potting mixture to just below the level of the pot rim. Leave the shoulders (where it tapers inward) and neck exposed above the soil level. Firm the soil in around the bulb and water till moist.
How to water.
The moment you see shoots, the show has begun, so don't let your plant dry out. But don't overwater either. Think moist, rather than wet—a soggy amaryllis will rebel and not grow.
For a bigger ba-bloom!
Amaryllises gain pizzazz in clusters. Go from simple elegance to spectacular by planting 3 to 5 amaryllises shoulder to shoulder in one broader (but not deeper) decorative container. Keep the variety the same for the biggest impact and increase the heaviness of the vase to accommodate.
Stake your territory.
Some varieties of amaryllis may grow so tall they will need some help to stand up straight; tie with a ribbon or wire or add small sticks to prop them up.
The food supply your bulb needs is all contained in the bulb itself, but some balanced fertilizer, lightly applied, might encourage it to rebloom next year.
After the show.
Don't ignore the potted plant after the blooms die; move it to a nice sunny locale and continue to water it. Unlike paperwhites, amaryllises make a stunning comeback the next year as the plant absorbs what it needs from the sun and its leaves. If you live in a warm winter climate, take it outside.
Eyes on September.
Late summer, or sooner, leaves will yellow and die—a sign to snip them off. Store the bulb in a cool, dry dark place, with no watering or feeding. It is silently preparing for its next fabulous season.
One month later.
Around October, check out your hibernating amaryllis. New shoots means it's time to place the pot back into the light. Perk it up with new potting mix without disturbing the roots or new growth. Water with a light hand. Soon the show starts all over again!
Images courtesy of DutchGardens.com