Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) is a blooming perennial bulbing plant that produces outstanding large flowers of red, white or pink on thick succulent stalks. The leaves of the amaryllis plant are strap-like and tropical looking. Although the amaryllis is an outstanding garden plant in warmer climates where the ground does not freeze, the bulb can be planted indoors and be "forced" to bloom during the holiday season of Thanksgiving or Christmas. Amaryllis bulbs appropriate for forcing blooms during the holidays are sold at plant nurseries and department store garden centers in the fall. The larger the bulb that is used, the more flower stalks are produced.
Choose a day that is about six weeks before you would like the amaryllis bulb to bloom. If you would like the amaryllis to bloom by the third week in November, plant during the first week of October. The amaryllis bloom will last two weeks or longer, so you do not need to time the bloom period exactly.
Fill a flower pot that is six inches in diameter with potting soil. The flower pot should have drainage capabilities as the Amaryllis bulb will rot if it sits in wet soil. Soak the potting soil with water and let drain.
Push the amaryllis bulb into the soil until one-half of the bulb is covered. Plant the bulb upright. The pointed end is the top of the bulb. Leave one-half of the top half of the bulb uncovered. If needed, add some dry potting soil around the edges of the bulb to bring the potting soil surface up to the edge of the pot.
Place the flower pot containing the amaryllis bulb and potting soil onto a shallow dish where the moisture can drain and furniture is protected from moisture. Set in a bright area, but not direct sun, that remains between 65 and 75 degrees F.
Water once a week or when the soil surface is dry to the touch. Add water around the edge of the bulb. Do not water over the top of the bulb to prevent rot and mildew problems. The green strap-like leaves will appear first and the flower stalk should appear in about 4-6 weeks from planting. After bloom opens, place in the coolest part of the house to extend bloom life.