I hate to interrupt the extravaganza of blooming flowers, which I enjoy for 3 full seasons at SOEL Farm. That is why there are more and more flowers in my greenhouse during winter. The king of these blooming beauties is the amaryllis. It does not require much - well, may be a heating mat if you decide to force it. It lasts a while - you can easily get about 2 months of bloom from one bulb. It is enormous - the blooming bulb looks like a bouquet all on its own. It does not smell, which makes it a perfect gift to people with allergies. And it continues to be beautiful as an obedient houseplant after the bloom is gone.
If you get yourself an amaryllis bulb, purchasable through the major nurseries mail orders or from SOEL Farm (the much better option, in my humble opinion!) below are some simple care instructions.
So you bought this mysterious bulb… what’s next?!
How to Care for your Christmas Amaryllis Bulb
Plant your amaryllis in a pot that is just large enough to accommodate the bulb and no more. They need to be only 1-2 inches wider than the diameter of the bulb for healthy growth.
The soil should be well-draining to prevent root rot. Water right after planting, ensuring the excess moisture is draining, and then leave it alone until you see the green growth emerge. Here is where a heating pad (easily available at amazon - probably the cheapest) comes handy. And a sunny window or a special lamp. Amaryllis bulbs require bright, indirect light and an ideal temperature for successful forcing, typically around 70-75℉. At this point in their growing cycle, no feeding is necessary.
Good news - as long as it is in the warm room, it is sufficient - actually, forcing amaryllis slowly is crucial to develop sturdy stems. It just could take longer, and your bulb will not bloom at Christmas, but more likely by Valentine Day.
If you buy the forced Amaryllis at SOEL Farm
Then it is already forced to bloom. It will have a couple buds and will bloom for seven weeks or longer! Enjoy! You can prolong the bloom time by keeping it cool, around 53-65℉. Amaryllis bulbs prefer to be kept just moist but not overwatered.
Preserving your Amaryllis for Spring
When each stem of your amaryllis is finished blooming, cut the flower stems at the base, but let the leaves continue to grow. Store in a cool window until they can be planted in the garden in the late spring. Plant directly into the soil OR plant the pot into the bed (easiest option). Choose a location protected from direct afternoon sun. Your bulb will be happy to be outside- and not bothered by any creatures or bugs - till September. Take it inside, put it in a dark location and stop watering. In a month or two, all the leaves will wilt and fall off.
Examine it. It should be firm, roots will be mostly dry. Now scroll to the beginning of this article and start planting.
Congrats, you are officially becoming an amaryllis addict…