Amaryllis, a bulb flower from the family Amaryllidaceae, it a popular forced bulb flower for the winter holidays. Grown as an indoor plant in most areas of the country, those in USDA Hardiness Zones 8 to 10 may enjoy the amaryllis as a hardy outdoor bulb. Stunning, star-shaped blooms in sets of 2, 4 or 6 appear on 12- to 24-inch tall stalks in bright red, salmon, pink, orange and white with variegated markings. Amaryllis may also be kept as an indoor plant for many years, providing larger flowers with each successful blooming cycle.
Choose a container approximately twice as wide as the diameter of your amaryllis bulb. A drainage hole is a must. Plastic or clay pots are both acceptable.
Fill the pot to 3/4 full with equal parts perlite and peat moss. This medium will provide excellent drainage while allowing the roots to grow freely.
Plant the bulb with the flat side down and the nose pointed up, with a minimum of 1/3 of the bulb exposed above the soil. Keep the plant in a southern facing window with bright sunlight.
Water the bulb well and then weekly when the soil is dry on the surface. Increase watering once flowering begins.
Wait to fertilize until active growth and leaves are visible on the plant. Fertilize 2 times per month with a flowering house plant fertilizer.
After the amaryllis flowers, remove the blooms and leave the foliage intact. Continue watering and the amaryllis will keep growing.
After 5 to 6 months, reduce watering until the leaves and stem die back and become yellow. Cut back the dead foliage and move the pot to a dark, cool place for up to 8 weeks without water, creating a dormant period for the bulb. Bring the pot into the sunlight and resume watering after the dormancy period is completed. Blooms should appear in 1 to 2 months.
If you live in the temperate climate zones, plant amaryllis bulbs outdoors in a location with morning sun and afternoon shade. Prepare soil with 3 to 4 inches of organic material, such as peat moss, and add a slow release fertilizer per manufacturer directions. Plant bulbs a foot apart with the nose barely visible at surface level. Mulch around the bulbs and keep the soil moist but not soggy.