Perennial Bulbs Overview: Amaryllis

amaryllis

Discover how to grow Amaryllis with instructions on starting seed, transplanting, site selection, care and maintenance, water and fertilization requirements, and  pests and diseases.

Amaryllis Stats at a Glance

Botanical Name: Hippeastrum

Height: 1-2 feet

Soil Conditions:  Well-drained, fertile soil

Sun: Filtered sunlight/partial shade

Planting Instructions

When Do I Plant Amaryllis?

Amaryllis are cold sensitive and should not be planted until after the last frost and the soil has reached at least 65°F.  They will germinate much more quickly in warmer soil.  You can hasten the warming of the soil with black plastic mulch.

Soil Temperature: 65°F

 

Where Do I Plant Amaryllis?

Amaryllis plants perform best in loamy, well-drained soil high in organic matter but will grow in nearly any good garden soil that is well-drained. Incorporating several inches of organic matter into the soil when preparing the bed will improve growth and development.  Amaryllis prefer filtered sunlight or light shade.

Soil Type: Well-drained
Sun Exposure: Filtered sunlight/partial shade

 

How Do I Plant Amaryllis?

Amaryllis can be propagated by direct planting or division.

Direct planting.  To plant tubers directly in the garden, dig a hole 6” deep.  Plant one tuber per hole.  Cover with a few inches of soil leaving the neck of the tuber exposed.

If you overwintered your bulbs from the prior year, you will want to start them indoors 6-8 weeks prior to planting out of doors.  Once you retrieve your roots from storage, discard any rotted or damaged sections.

 

Can I Start Amaryllis Indoors?

If you want earlier blooms, start your amaryllis indoors.  Amaryllis require fertile soil, moisture, good drainage, and plenty of room to grow, so choose your planting container accordingly.

Choose a pot that is at least 6” around and has plenty of drainage holes.  Line the bottom of the pot with pebbles and place on a saucer.  Fill the pot with a fertile commercial soil.  Plant the tuber at a depth of about 3”, leaving the neck of the tuber exposed. Water sparsely until the shoots emerge.  Move to a warm, sunny location.  Keep the soil moist by watering from the bottom through the saucer.

Fertilize with a 10-10-10 fertilizer once buds begin to appear.

 

 

How Far Apart Do I Plant Amaryllis?

Striking when grown in “clumps”.

Amaryllis Plant Care and Maintenance

How Often Should I Water Amaryllis?

The key to watering Amaryllis is to maintain a consistent moisture level. The soil should be moist to a depth of 6”.  Allowing the soil to dry out between watering will result in a shallow root system.

Water the soil around the plant. Overhead watering will encourage disease.  Drip irrigation is best.

Mulch around the plant will help to lock in moisture.

If you are in an area where amaryllis overwinter, withhold water during the dormant season.

 

Should I Fertilize Amaryllis?

Fertilizing decisions should be based on a soil test.  If a soil test cannot be obtained you can fertilize your perennial bulbs will likely benefit from a once a month feeding with granular bulb fertilizer.  Fertilize more frequently (every other week) if using a water soluble fertilizer.

Fertilize the soil around the plant at least 6” from the plant base. Irrigate into the soil.

 

Additional Care Instructions

When the leaves begin to yellow at the end of the season, cut the foliage back to a few inches from the ground.

Can Amaryllis Overwinter

As a tender perennial, Amaryllis will not survive cold harsh winters.  Generally, amaryllis bulbs will overwinter in zones 9-11.  In zone 8, they may overwinter if heavily mulched.  In zones 3-7, you will need to dig up your bulbs and store them for the winter.

When the foliage begins to die back following the first frost of the season, cut back the stems.  Gently loosen the soil around the clump of roots and remove from the soil.

Place the unwashed roots in a mesh bag filled with moist (not wet) peat moss and hang it in a dark, cool location.  Pack them lightly so that they receive good air circulation.  The peat moss should not be allowed to dry out or freeze during storage.

Amaryllis Diseases

The most common diseases associated with this plant include red blotch and leaf scorch.

Amaryllis Pests

The most common pests associated with this plant include caterpillars and nematodes.

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