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How To Care For Amaryllis Bulbs & Flowers


Amaryllis is also known as Belladonna Lily or Naked Lady.
The genus consists of two species. One species Amaryllis belladonna is indigenous to South Africa, specifically the Cape of Good Hope.

Sometimes Amaryllis belladonna is confused with Hippeastrum, a flowering bulb which is commonly sold during the winter months as it easily blooms indoors.

Hippeastrum is a genus comprised of about 90 species and more than 600 hybrids native to the tropical and subtropical regions from Mexico south to Argentina and throughout the Caribbean.

“Hippeastrum” is Greek for “horseman’s star” known today as “knight’s star”.

Dutch growers are considered the first commercial breeders of Hippeastrum dating back to the 18th century. Usually you see Amaryllis bulbs in nurseries and garden centers around the middle of October so they are in bloom for Christmas and through the Holiday Season.

When purchasing an Amaryllis bulb, Hippeastrum, it already has a perfect embryo flower formed. The bulb is ready to be planted.

Soak the roots of the newly purchased Amaryllis bulb in a cup or glass of lukewarm water to which you added some seaweed. Make sure that just the roots are submerged in the water and not any part of the bulb itself. Keep the base of the bulb above and outside the water.

Leave the roots in the water-seaweed mix overnight. It will be ready to plant the next day. The overnight soaking of the roots in the seaweed mixture enhances the growth of your Amaryllis because of the essential trace elements that are present in seaweed.

To plant the Amaryllis bulb start with a 6 inch container. Fill it one third with a well draining potting mix. Place the bulb in the center of the pot. Sprinkle some bone meal around the roots. Bone meal promotes a healthy root system and vibrant Amaryllis flowers. Cover the bulb to the point that the “neck” of the bulb is above soil level.

Water the pot thoroughly with lukewarm water to which you add some seaweed and/or Superthrive which helps your Amaryllis bulb to start the growth process. Place your newly potted bulb in front of a well lit window.

Don’t water again until you see some growth in the leaves, flower stalk or both. During the growing period keep the potting medium moist. Most Amaryllis bulbs, Hippeastrum, produce two flower stalks with each stalk producing four to six Amaryllis flowers.

When your Amaryllis has finished flowering, cut off the flower stalk and continue to grow it until August or September. During this period keep it in good light, water regularly, and fertilize every other week with a fertilizer high in Phosphorus and Potassium. You do this to promote next season’s flowers.

Some gardeners are able to have their Amaryllis produce flowers twice a year, during winter and summer.

In August or September stop watering and fertilizing. Store the Amaryllis bulb in the pot in a dark place. This initiates its dormancy stage.

In December or January remove most of the soil from the top of the container until the roots are exposed. Sprinkle some bone meal around the roots and cover with fresh potting medium. Water with seaweed and/or Superthrive. In a couple of months your bulb will reward you again with beautiful Amaryllis flowers.

Copyright © Bob Walsh

Amaryllis ‘Bogota’

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Thanks for the info... ive just bought 2 of these from my local plant shop....

23 Dec, 2010


I have just started one off ... have put this on to favourites for future reference. Many thanks. : o )

23 Dec, 2010


this is an interesting. Spritzhenry wrote a similar blog on their care last year too.
Sadly mine have got frozen in the unheated outplace.

23 Dec, 2010


Thanks a lot Bob

Have just received a bulb for Christmas that is already sprouting a bit and was wondering how to proceed with it.

Have put your comments on my favourites so that I can refer to it easily.

Thanks again.

26 Dec, 2010


Hi Mariek,

You're welcome.

Merry Christmas and a Healthy and Prosperous New Year 2011.


26 Dec, 2010


Last year I got about 50 Amaryllis bulbs I had grown from my own saved seed to flower after 4 years. The original bulbs I bought 9 years ago & they have been growing & flowering every year since then, at least the red one has, sometimes twice a year! The pure white one & the red one with a white star have flowered on & off during this time.

I wrote a blog on my Amaryllis some months ago. I'm now looking forward to them flowering for a 2nd time in the spring of next year.

Very interesting blog, Bob! I was given my first bulb by one of my sisters back in 1981, as a Christmas present. I planted it the same day & the first flower opened exactly 2 months & 1 day later! I took it with me to Spain in August 82 & had many bulbs over the following 19 years.

27 Dec, 2010


Exellent blog Bob, and very interesting info' Balcony.

8 Jan, 2011

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