Caring For Your Amaryllis
I've been noticing a lot of searches leading people to my blog looking for information on how to care for their Amaryllis bulbs. Based on the nature of the queries that lead to my blog I'll try to answer them from my experience growing these since last year.
I purchased a few Amaryllis bulbs last year from Target after the Holidays. Because of the discounts they were less than two dollars a piece. The bulbs didn't look so great and it was to be expected after sitting in those boxes on a shelf for weeks and who knows how long they were in them sitting in a warehouse. When you bring your Amaryllis home take it out of the box and discard the soil disc it comes in. If the pot it came with doesn't have drainage holes make some or find a suitable pot. Good drainage is key to healthy houseplants. The next step is to plant it in good soil, I added charcoal and Perlite to the regular potting soil I use.
"Why won't my Amaryllis grow?"
When you bring it home and remove it from the box you may find some of your Amaryllis bulbs are already growing if it isn't pot it up and set it in a sunny and warm location. Soon the light and warmth will trigger growth in your Amaryllis and you will see one or two things.
"Why isn't my Amaryllis flowering?"
If you just bought it you will see one of two things once you give your Amaryllis the right growing conditions. It will either send up leaves or a flower stalk. If you get leaves first don't worry the flower should follow soon. If you get the flower first-enjoy it.
"Why is my Amaryllis white?"
If you had spent weeks (maybe months) sitting in the dark with no light you would look very pale too. Give it some light and it will start to green up.
After my Amaryllis bulbs finished flowering I gave them regular fertilizer and kept them growing until Spring came. When Spring arrived I took mine out of their pots and planted them in a large planter I had outside. They got sun and rain and fertilizer when I fertilized everything else in the garden. Around early October I cut back on the watering and allowed the leaves to die down to prepare them for a forced dormancy. I say "forced dormancy" because if you leave your Amaryllis bulbs alone they will continue to grow and will bloom again when they feel like it. But if you want to force yours cut back watering in the early fall and move it somewhere darker and allow the leaves to die down. Once I did that I set them in a cool dry area until I was ready to plant them again and then I started the process all over again. My bulbs rewarded me by growing double-triple in size and my Amaryllis 'Apple Blossom' has produced a lot of offsets. I was so pleased with how they grew that this year I bought 4 more this year. Now I have 8 Amaryllis bulbs in my collection. (pictures coming soon!)
"How to water my Amaryllis"
I wish I could tell you to water your plants every Tuesday but watering is not something that you can really make a schedule for. Observe your bulbs and don't be afraid of sticking your fingers in the soil to test for moisture. If you're not getting dirty you're not gardening right. That goes for indoors too.
"Where to buy Amaryllis"
I've bought them everywhere. I've bought them at the grocery store, Home Depot, Target and Wal-Mart (I know, don't scold me) but you can also order them via mail order or from the internet. Check out the selection of bulbs from Breck's or test your luck on places like ebay. If you have other plants join a gardening forum like GardenWeb and make some friends and trade offsets or whole plants.
However you get your bulbs if you give your Amaryllis bulbs you'll be rewarded by paying attention to them and giving them good care.
Here's a video I made showing you how to pot an Amaryllis Bulb.
Here's a video demonstrating how to pollinate an Amaryllis flower and what the seeds look like..