The amaryllis is a showy bulb originating from tropical South America. With leaf growth followed by dormancy, the plant will return annually. After several years, a mature amaryllis will often produce offsets, or small daughter bulbs. Some varieties of amaryllis produce offset bulbs more readily than others. To grow new plants identical to the mother, harvest these small bulbs through the process known as vegetative propagation.
Harvesting Offset Bulbs
Harvest the offset bulbs after the plant has gone through its dormant period, but before re-potting the main bulb for its new growing season.
Leave the offsets attached until they are a quarter to a third of the size of the mother bulb.
Carefully separate the offsets by hand or with a sharp knife.
Potting the Bulbs
Plant each bulblet in its own small pot. The pots should be no more than 2 inches larger than the bulb's diameter and should have a drainage hole. Use a well-draining sterilized potting soil, or a mixture of peat and perlite.
Plant the bulbs, pointed side up, with a third to half of the bulb remaining above the soil. Leave a little space between the top of the soil and the top of the pot.
Water thoroughly with lukewarm water. Let the soil dry somewhat before watering again. The bulb will need more water as its root growth begins. Avoid watering over the nose of the bulb to prevent rotting.
Keep your amaryllis plants in a warm sunny spot. Young bulbs will send up leaves but will require three to four years of growth before they are mature enough to flower.
Fertilize with a complete fertilizer and continue watering during active leaf growth.
Gradually decrease watering in the fall to allow the leaves to die and plants to go dormant. The offsets need the same type of dormancy period as does the mother plant.
About this Author
Gwen Bruno has been a full-time freelance writer since 2009, with her gardening-related articles appearing on DavesGarden. She is a former teacher and librarian, and she holds a bachelor's degree in education from Augustana College and master's degrees in education and library science from North Park University and the University of Wisconsin.