Expert tips on how to care for potted amaryllis bulbs and cut amaryllis stems- A Holiday Season favorite.
You don’t have to wait until early spring or summer to experience beautiful flowering bulbs in bloom.
In fact, by November we begin to receive red amaryllis bulbs at our stores, letting us know that the holiday season has officially begun and that we’re in for a treat over the next few weeks!
And because amaryllis season begins in November and hits its peak around Christmas, this flowering makes bulb the perfect seasonal gift.
Even better news is that fewer bulbs are easier to grow than amaryllis — and few bloom with greater exuberance and long lasting beauty!
In this post, we’ll answer the most common questions we’ve been asked about these unique flowers and give you some tips and tricks on how to keep them until the next holiday season.
Here’s what customers often ask us about amaryllis care.
How often should I water my amaryllis?
Amaryllis is not a particularly thirsty flower. Periodically check the soil surface with your fingertips – it should be slightly damp or moist.
When the soil feels dry to the touch, add some water sparingly, taking care to water the soil and not the bulb itself. Water no-more than once a week.
When the flower bud appears, your amaryllis may need more frequent watering, so be sure to check the soil surface more often.
How long will it take for my amaryllis to bloom?
If your plant already has a few inches of stem showing when purchased, you can expect to see flowers bloom in as little as 3 weeks! An amaryllis grown from a bulb with no existing shoots will take longer to bloom, about 8-11 weeks.
Time to bloom will depend on the temperature the flower is growing in. Amaryllis bulbs are sensitive, so avoid exposing them to freezing temperatures. Cooler temperatures will slow down the development and active growth of an amaryllis. Your plant will thrive in a warm and bright indoor location.
Pro tip: Avoid placing your amaryllis bloom next to ripening fruit or produce as they can emit ethylene gas, which will sterilize your bulb and stop it from flowering!
How do I care for my amaryllis once it's finished blooming?
Reblooming an amaryllis is a perfect project for a beginner botanist! Follow these steps to preserve your bulb and encourage it to rebloom next season!
1 - Remove the faded blooms from the top of the stem and cut the stem back to the top of the bulb’s neck. Take care to cut only the flower stem and leave the strappy leaves growing from the bulb.
2 - Place it in indirect light, and water on a regular basis for at least 12-16 weeks. Fertilize it twice a month.
3 - When the foliage yellows and becomes floppy, cut it back to the bulb and stop watering. The plant has entered dormancy.
4 - Store your dry potted bulb in a cool dark place (12-15°C) for at least 8 weeks. A garage or basement is usually a good place!
Pro tip: If you want your flowers to bloom in time for Christmas, be sure to initiate your bulbs dormancy period by early September!
When should I plant an amaryllis bulb in order to have it in bloom at Christmas?
If you decide to purchase your own amaryllis bulbs and pot them yourself, make sure to begin the process around mid to late October.
As mentioned earlier, this timing allows the plant approximately 8-10 weeks of growth before the festive season, which is ideal for its blooming cycle and ensures your amaryllis blooms for Christmas.
When can I plant my amaryllis bulbs outside?
In Canada, plant your amaryllis bulbs outside after the last frost, typically from late May (Victoria Day Weekend for example) to early June. This gives them a warm, frost-free growing period, essential for their health and bloom.
How can I make my cut amaryllis arrangement last longer?
Amaryllis like other cut flowers, prefer to be kept out of direct sunlight and will last longer if displayed in a cooler spot. You can even try moving your amaryllis arrangement into a cooler area of your home overnight giving it a chance to refresh itself.
We also suggest that you:
- Change the water every 2-3 days is perfect. Once you see that the water in the vase has become cloudy, it's time to change the water. Use cool distilled water if available.
- Re-cut the flower stem ½ to 1 inch at an angle under running water at the same time you change the water. This is important because it helps prevent the stem from splitting and curl up from the bottom which will affect the vase life of your amaryllis.
- When the first of the amaryllis blooms begin to fade, remove the faded flowers cutting them off at their base. This gives the other blooms on the stem a chance to mature keeping the display going throughout the holiday season.