Amaryllis is a flowering bulb that produces a large, trumpet-like blossom from December until June. While usually cultivated outdoors in sub-tropical climates, gardeners everywhere in North America can grow amaryllis by planting them in containers and keeping them indoors. Though amaryllis may seem intimidating because they are so exotic looking, they are surprisingly low-maintenance house plants and you don't have to be a master gardener to have a successful display of tall, stately blooms on a windowsill or kitchen table.
Keep your amaryllis bulbs stored in a cool (40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit), dry place until you are ready for planting. September or October is the best time to start amaryllis. Soak the bulbs in warm water for several hours.
Select a porous pot, such as terracotta, that is 6 inches to 8 inches in diameter. It only need be slightly larger than the width of the bulb itself as amaryllis likes to feel snug in its container. Use a rich, organic potting soil or pure compost as a growing medium.
Add an inch or two of growing medium into the container, then hold the bulb just over it, roots-down. The larger, round portion of the bulb should be in the pot. The "neck," which protrudes out of the top of the bulb, should be even to about the top of the planter.
Gently fill in space around the amaryllis plant with growing medium, being careful not to crush the roots. Fill it up to the neck of the bulb, leaving the neck exposed. Tamp or press the soil down around the bulb to set it in the soil firmly.
Keep your bulb in a sunny window in a room with a steady temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Water very sparingly, just to slightly dampen the soil.
Look for the stem to appear. Once the stem begins to grow you can increase water gradually to keep the soil moist. After the amaryllis plant begins to bloom, apply an all-purpose water-soluble fertilizer as often as the fertilizer manufacturer recommends. Prune off dead or very faded blooms.
Cut back the plant in the summer after it stops blooming to a few inches above the bulb. Dig up the bulb and store it in a cool, dry place again for a minimum of six weeks to allow it to go dormant. Replant the bulb in the fall.
- Never store apples near your amaryllis plant. Apples can sterilize amaryllis so it will not blossom.