Amaryllis is a bulbous plant with a watercolor-like appearance that never ceases to amaze. Its highly anticipated flower is a definite show-stealer, showcasing a range of colors, from delicate pale pink to rich salmon hue. Read on to learn how to care for amaryllis.
The Amaryllis genus in the Amaryllidaceae family originated in South Africa and was introduced to European gardeners around the 1700s. Common names include Belladonna Lily, Jersey Lily, Naked Lady, Easter, or March Lily. The true Lily is its distant relative, but its name stuck to this plant because of the similarity of the trumpet-like shape of the flowers.
The Greek word ‘amarysso’ means ‘to sparkle,’ and the Greek myth tells a story of a gentle nymph deciding to win the heart of a local shepherd but being shy because of her humble appearance. She consulted the oracle, and he told her to appear in front of the doors of her loved one for 30 nights, each time piercing her heart with a golden spear. On the last night, she transformed into a stunning amaryllis flower that grew from her blood, a flower no one had ever seen before.
Water the plant when the top layer of the soil feels dry. Bulbous plants are prone to root rot, so make sure you're not overwatering your Amaryllis plant. The pot must be well-draining; never plant bulbous plants in containers without drainage holes. Amaryllis plants are often put into short dormancy periods after summer, which means withholding watering and fertilizing to promote blooming. However, this is done in order to control the blooming time. The plants will go into seasonal blooming on their own provided sufficient care.
These tropical flowers prefer warm temperatures and will not survive frost. Amaryllis care includes setting the plants outside when all danger of freezing temperatures is behind. Make sure you gradually introduce them to the outdoor environment and provide the plant with a few hours of direct sun.
Indoor amaryllis care routine should incorporate exposure to the mild morning sun, but the plants prefer bright shade in other hours of the day. Overall, the plant requires only about 4 hours of sun exposure a day, so it is rather shade-loving. Pay attention that bright direct sun rays might burn the tender leaves of this green beauty.
Pests & Common Diseases
- As with all bulbous plants, checking the bulbs for infections (for example, narcissus bulb fly) is highly recommended before bringing them home.
- To avoid fungus and pest infections, keep the bulbs in clean containers with fresh soil and not overwater the plants.
- Mealybugs and spider mites infestations can be treated with an application of neem oil. Repeat the procedure 2-3 times to cure the plant fully.
- Wilted, drooping, yellowing, or browning leaves indicate maintenance problems, so check with the general requirements for caring for Amaryllis to find out what's causing trouble in your case.
- You can propagate your Amaryllis with the side bulbs it will produce. They will need a few seasons until they will begin blooming too. Follow the planting process described in the article.
- The variegation of this plant offers multiple choices to fit your aesthetic preferences. Should you select White amaryllis, take a look at a snow-white Matterhorn variety. Samba is one of the most common choices within the Red amaryllis flowers. We find such varieties as Striped Amadeus, Faro, and Apple Blossom incredibly stunning as well.
- Nowadays, the Amaryllis plants available in stores are often hybrids of the genus Hippeastrum. This may cause some confusion during the winter months when the stores actively stock up on both species due to their blooming phase approaching.
- Amaryllis plants only require repotting every 3 or 4 years since being slightly root-bound helps them bloom better. Do so after the dormant phase is over, and choose only a slightly larger pot.
How to plant Amaryllis bulb?
Start with carefully selecting the right bulbs to plant. Choose the largest and firmest Amaryllis bulbs available, with no signs of damage, mold, or decay. New growth may be visible, which is totally fine. Opt for a narrow container with large drainage holes. Fill half of the container with fresh potting soil. Put the bulb into the pot, resting the roots on the soil. Add more soil until about a third of the bulb is visible; the bulb itself should be peeking out of the pot. Thoroughly water your new plant and allow it to dry entirely till the next watering.
What to do with Amaryllis after it blooms
How to grow amaryllis after it's blossomed is as vital as making it bloom in the first place. It's essential to cut off the flowers after they've faded so that seeds don't begin to form as this will exhaust your plant and influence its future growth and blooming. Remove yellow stalks but keep the green ones - they continue to photosynthesize and supply nutrients to the plant. Put your amaryllis in the sunniest location after it's faded. Keep watering it lightly until it goes dormant. Providing the plant with sufficient rest is responsible for future blooming, so don't take the post-blossom period lightly.
We highly recommend you give this dramatic flower a try. Getting to know your way around the bulbous houseplants will definitely improve your overall plant caring skills. Plus, the reward is worth all the wait and attention in this case.