Tips on Growing Amaryllis

The bright pink, red and orange colors of the amaryllis plant's blossoms add vibrant color to any backyard. This tropical bulb thrives outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 through 11, but can be grown anywhere as a houseplant. Whatever your growing environment, several management and care strategies can help you keep your amaryllis healthy and beautiful.

Planting Times

Start planting the amaryllis bulbs outdoors in Zones 9 to 11 between the fall and winter months of September and January, according to the University of Florida. If you're growing it as a houseplant, plant the bulbs in the early fall. The best time to start an amaryllis houseplant is in late October, according to the University of Georgia.

Soil Requirements

Amaryllis plants need loose, sandy loam for optimal growth. If you plan to grow amaryllis outdoors, and don't have this soil naturally, amend the dirt with enough aged compost to create a loose and crumbly soil texture. For potted amaryllis, use a commercial potting soil labeled for use with bulbs or mix your own potting mix. North Dakota State University recommends combining equal parts of sand, garden loam and peat moss.

Container Sizes

When growing amaryllis in a pot, choose a container that is a minimum of 18 inches deep to allow for proper root growth. Amaryllis plants thrive best in small pots and should be planted in pots that are just an inch wider than the bulb itself, according to the University of Minnesota.

Planting

The amaryllis bulb should be planted so that one-half to one-third of its bottom is in the soil with the pointed end facing upward. Fertilization is not needed at the time of planting, only water, according to North Dakota State University. Provide enough water to moisten the soil to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. Irrigate again when the surface of the soil feels dry to the touch.

Fertilization

Amaryllis plants need occasional feeding to ensure proper development and flower production. A standard flower fertilizer--the University of Georgia recommends a product with a labeled nutrient ratio of 5-10-10 or 6-12-12--should be administered when the flower bulb begins growing, and again when the plant is 6 inches tall.

Deadheading

As with all flower species, dead or wilted flowers should be snipped off. This encourages new flower growth.

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About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.