Red Amaryllis - how to grow

How To Grow Amaryllis Bulbs Indoors

Eyeying those lovely huge Amaryllis flowers and want to know how to grow them indoors? This article covers everything you need to know to grow amaryllis (Hippeastrum spp.) indoors, outdoors, what to do with them after they bloom, and how to inspire them to bloom again.

Scan below to watch a video showing step by step what you need to do to grow awesome Amaryllis flowers.

How To Grow Amaryllis Bulbs Indoors (Video and Steps)

Step 1 Get Bulbs – Amaryllis flowers come in a variety of different colors, shapes, and sizes. Bulbs will grow and bloom in about 3 to 8 weeks after planting. This is highly dependent on how much the bulb has sprouted when you plant it. A bulb without a sprout can take 6-8 weeks to bloom while a bulb with a 3 inch sprout might bloom in 3 weeks. Use this to time when you plant (e.g. 1-2 months before Christmas). Even better is to buy several bulbs with different sprout lengths so you they all flower at slightly different times giving you a longer flowering season.

Step 2 Get Containers with Drain Holes – Get a 6″ container for each Amaryllis bulb. You can fit 2-3 bulbs in a 10″ pot. Just be sure there’s 1 inch of space around the bulb and a few inches of space above and below the bulb in the pot.

Step 3 Add Potting Soil – Fill each pot a little less than halfway with potting soil. Use any decent over the counter potting soil or make your own potting soil. If you’re just starting out we recommend you purchase potting soil to better guarantee the health of your flowers.

Don’t plant too deep! Make sure the top 1/3 of the bulb is above the top of the soil. 

Step 4 Add Bulb, Fill Soil – Add your bulb root side down and add soil around the bulb. Gently pack the soil in lightly.

Step 5 Water Lightly – Add water so the soil is moist but do not water so much that water comes out the bottom of the pot. Amaryllis prefers soils that are moist but not too wet.

How To Get An Amaryllis To Bloom Or Rebloom Again

For the initial bloom after you first purchase an Amaryllis bulb see instructions above.

But what if you had a great flowering season and it’s started to die back. Can you ever get it to bloom again? You can indeed. Here’s what to do:

Step 1 – Cut off dead flowers at the base of the flower.

Step 2 – Wait for the flower stalk to wither and fall over

Step 3 – Add a 2-3 foot thin stake and tie up the leaves. Use it to gently tie the remaining leaves to prop them up. Tie up the leaves loosely so they have lots of airflow between them. It’s best to tie them up between the base of the leaves and 1/2 way up the leaves (tie up near the bottom). That will allow the top half to fan out.

Step 4 – Put the plant in a sunny window

Step 5 – Water regularly and add fertilizer with potassium

Step 6 – Wait for the leaves to die then cut them. During the summer your amaryllis will be feeding the bulb. In early fall the leaves will typically die. Wait for them to wither then cut them off.

Step 7 – Pull the bulb out and place in a fridge for 6 weeks. If you have a cold basement that’s 50 degrees F or below you can try storing them there. Don’t let it freeze! If using a fridge make sure it’s not in a cold corner of the fridge that freezes. The best option is to buy a mini-fridge and store your bulbs in there for 6 weeks. You will have more success if you remove the bulb from the soil before storage. You can store it in soil in the container but it may not re-bloom as readily.

Step 8 – Replant the bulb after 6 weeks. Once the 6 weeks are up take the bulb out of cold storage and plant and care for according to the instructions above. You can expect a new flower in 8 to 10 weeks.

Propagating More Amaryllis Bulbs

If you continue to keep your Amaryllis year after year at some point it will form mini-bulbs. Cut these with a sharp, clean blade. These new mini-bulbs can be grown into full flowering bulbs. Plant them in 6″ pots and care for them according to the instructions above. They will take several years to grow large enough to form new flowers.

11 Tips For Growing Amaryllis

  1. Bloom Failure Means Wait Longer – Did you try and get your Amaryllis bulb to rebloom only to never see flowers? Sometimes it takes awhile. Maybe it didn’t get enough light or it just wasn’t ready yet. Simply go through the care instructions to rebloom above again and try next fall. Once your bulbs are big enough they will rebloom.
  2. Bigger bulbs make more flowers – buy the biggest bulbs you can find
  3. Spread Out Planting Times – Don’t plant your bulbs all at once. Plant a few each week. Each bulb takes 6-8 weeks to flower so if you stagger their start times you’ll have flowers for months.
  4. Get More Varieties – Different varieties will bloom at slightly different times. The more varieties you have again the longer you’ll have flowers.
  5. Use heavy pots – Heavy pots will keep your plants upright. Amaryllis can be pretty tall and heavy and may tip over smaller pots.
  6. Use sterile potting soil – You can make your own potting soil but if you do make sure to pasteurize it. The best is to simply use new, sterile potting soil of your choice.
  7. Pack the soil tight – Amaryllis are heavy. Be sure to pack the soil around the bulb tightly so your flower doesn’t fall over once it starts blooming. Just don’t go too tight. You need some microscopic air space between the soil so water can pass through and air can get to the roots.
  8. Use the smallest pot for your bulb – Amaryllis likes tight fitting clothes or in this case the pot they live in. Choose a pot size where there is only an inch of space around your bulb. You can also combine several bulbs in one pot for a tighter fit.
  9. Not too deep – Make sure 1/3 of the bulb is sticking above the soil.
  10. Don’t water too much – Keep the soil just a bit moist. Never water till it drains from the bottom of your pot.
  11. Keep your bulbs! Follow the instructions above to get more flowers for free next year. In time your bulbs will clone off smaller bulbs that you can also grow into full flowers. Years from now you’ll have an Amaryllis forest for the holidays!

Tips to Grow Amaryllis Outdoors

1. Grow amaryllis outside after the blooms have died back.

2. Set outside only in the spring after the threat of frost has passed for your area.

3. Use the same pots you used when blooming indoors. This gives you more freedom of movement to figure out how much sun they need.

4. Use full sun and watch them. They may need a more gradual transition from indoor indirect sunlight to full sun. If they appear stressed move them accordingly to different lighting conditions.

5. Water daily. Check the soil with your fingers. Keep it moist but not wet the same as inside. Make sure your pots have drainage so in the event of rain they won’t get over watered. On rain days skip the daily watering but always check the soil moisture by hand to be sure.

6. When the leaves die off in the fall take the bulbs out of the soil and store them at 50 degrees F for 6-8 weeks as instructed for indoor reblooming. Do not let them freeze outside.

7. Repot as if blooming indoors per the instructions above. Blooms should appear within 6 – 8 weeks.

Growing Amaryllis In Water

Amaryllis can be grown without soil however the bulb should never be below the water level. To grow “soil less” use pebbles instead of soil.

  • Fill a clear pot (so you can watch the water level) halfway with pebbles.
  • Add the Amaryllis bulb.
  • Add more pebbles around it to secure it. Make sure the top 1/3 of the bulb is above the top of the pebbles.
  • Add water until the level is just below the bottom of the bulb. The bulb roots should be dipped in the water.
  • Fertilizer is not needed. The bulb itself stores the nutrients needed for the flower.

Note: This is a decorative method. Bulbs do better usually in soil. This water based method is best as a visual decoration or a learning tool for classrooms.

Amaryllis Bulb Storage

Amaryllis bulbs should be stored at cool basement temperatures of 40 – 50 Degrees F. Do not let them dry out or get moldy. Store them in plastic containers without soil in the dark. The easiest way to store them is in a mini-fridge so you can control humidity and temperature. Keep it in these conditions for 6 weeks.

The purpose of this type of storage is to prepare a bulb that you grew outside and get it ready to bloom again. You are mimicking the conditions it would go through during the winter.

When To Plant Amaryllis Bulbs For Christmas Bloom

Use the following guidelines to plant your bulbs for a Christmas bloom. Planting time depends heavily on the condition of the bulb.

1. Store bought bulbs with no sprouts – Plant these at least 8 weeks prior to Christmas (Plant in Mid-October). Depending on the condition of the bulb it can take up to a month to sprout and up to 8 weeks after to bloom.

2. Store bought bulbs with sprouts – Plant these 6 weeks prior to Christmas (Early November). Blooms should appear within 6-8 weeks depending on the length of the sprout.

3. Reblooms that you’ve been storing at 50 Degrees F – These are bulbs that you grew outside after last year’s bloom. You’ve been storing them for 6 weeks in cool 40 – 50 Degree F conditions. Now you are ready to force the next bloom. As above expect the sprouts to occur within 2-4 weeks of planting then the bloom to occur 4-8 weeks after that. Plant these in late September or Early October.