Amaryllis is often forced into bloom around the winter holidays, earning it the name Christmas flower. Amaryllis grows from a bulb structure, making it simple to plant and care for. The bulbs are often sold un-potted in fall for forcing at home. Amaryllis should be potted and the forcing process should begin at the beginning of November to ensure the flowers are blooming by mid-December. Proper after-bloom care then assures the bulbs survive to be forced the following year.
Place 1 inch of potting soil in the bottom of a pot that is 2 inches wider than the width of the bulb. Set the bulb in the pot so the top one-third of the bulb is above the pot's rim, and add more soil underneath the bulb as necessary to maintain this height. Fill in around the sides of the bulbs with potting soil so just the top one-half of the bulb is above soil level.
Water the soil after planting until the excess moisture begins draining from the bottom of the pot. Set the pot in a 70 to 75 degrees F room and water when the soil surface begins to dry out.
Place the plant in a warm, sunny windowsill once sprouts appear, usually within four weeks of planting. Continue to water in the same method.
Fertilize the amaryllis every two to four weeks with a water soluble fertilizer, following the label instructions on the fertilizer for amount.
Move the plant to a 65 to 70 F room that is brightly lit but out of direct sunlight when the blooms begin opening. Continue to water and fertilize during blooming.
Cut off the flower stalk at its base once all the buds along the stalk have blossomed. Leave the foliage in place.
Move the amaryllis back to a sunny window once it is done flowering. Move the pot outdoors to a sunny location once frost danger is past, if desired. Continue to water and fertilize.
Place the pot in a 50 to 55 degree F area eight to ten weeks before you plan to force it into bloom the following fall. An unheated basement or garage are suitable places if their temperatures are low enough.