Amaryllis- Plant Bio: Podcast Ep#49

This plant is one of the few holiday flowers that makes a big impact. The flower is short lived but comes in many different colors and patterns.

Botanical Name: Hippeastrum sp.

Varieties: HUNDREDS! In my time working at the garden center, purchasing a certain variety wasn't really discussed. We mostly just chose the colors we wanted. They come in shades of white, red, pink, and peach with different patterns. Bright red, and a combination of white and red, is most commonly found.


Sun Requirements

When you are in the process of trying to get Amaryllis to bloom, you keep it in a very bright window. After it begins blooming, you can prolong the blooms by moving it out of direct sunlight.

  • NOTE: additional sunlight tips in Bulb Growth Tips section below


Water Requirement

Medium moisture is necessary before the plant blooms because it is storing energy and nutrients to push out the flower. After it blooms, watering can be decreased and it can be kept dry.

  • NOTE: additional watering tips in Bulb Growth Tips section below


Fertilizer

As I always say, there are LOTS of ways to fertilize plants. Unless you are extremely over-fertilizing your plant, there isn't necessarily a wrong way to do this. I currently use Fox Farm's Grow Big Liquid Fertilizer. I currently don't own an Amaryllis but here is what is suggested from a couple sources...


The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual: "Feed with a balanced all-purpose plant food every 10 days."

University of Minnesota Extension: "Fertilizer amaryllis each time you water at half the recommended strength when new growth is visible. To promote blooming, use a houseplant fertilizer with high phosphorus content. (After flowering) continue to water and fertilize the plant regularly with an all-purpose houseplant plant fertilizer."


It seems like fertilizing normally is the M.O. for these Amaryllis. In the end, how you fertilize is completely up to you! There are tons of products out there you can try, but an overall rule of thumb for houseplants is that it is best to under-fertilize, rather than over-fertilize. Always use the recommended amount, or less, when applying your fertilizer to houseplants.


Propagation

Believe it or not, you can propagate an Amaryllis! There are young bulbs that can form around the base that can be cut and propagated. It could take many years to see those blooms though, and a few more years before they get to their mature flower size.


Bulb Growth Tips

  • Amaryllis DO NOT need a rest period like most other bulbs to keep blooming.

  • If you decide to give your Amaryllis a rest period, this could determine when your plant blooms.

  • Giving it a rest period means reducing water, light and temperature. After it has bloomed and the leaves turn brown, UWM recommends leaving the bulb in the cooler and darker place for about 8-12 weeks with no water. Once that time has passed, place it back in bright light, watering and fertilizing normally.

  • Flowers will last about 6-8 weeks with one, or more, stalks. Flowers can reach 6-10 inches wide.

  • When planting, place in a well-draining soil.

  • When planting, allow at least 1/3 of the bulb to be above the soil line

Other facts

  • University of Wisconsin- Madison explained this best, "The plant we commonly call “amaryllis” is a South American native in the genus Hippeastrum, while the true amaryllis or belladonna lilies (Amaryllis spp.) are from South Africa. Both, however, are in the amaryllis family (Amaryllidaceae). The genus Hippeastrum is native primarily in tropical and subtropical regions in two main areas of Eastern Brazil and the central southern Andes (Peru, Bolivia and Argentina), but some species occur as far north as Mexico and the West Indies."

  • You can buy Amaryllis in bulk, as an already planted bulb, or an already blooming plant.

  • These are toxic to pets and humans. Check out Podcast Ep#31 for more info or the corresponding blog post!


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Always written with extreme plant passion!

Love, Holly

 

Sources:

University of Wisconsin Extension: Amaryllis, Hippeastrium

University of Minnesota Extension: Growing and caring for amaryllis

The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual

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