By Sarah Heidtke, Master Gardener
Amaryllis is a beautiful plant with blooms averaging 4 to 10 inches and can even be grown as a houseplant year around. Get ready for some beautiful inside blooms and learn all about growing Amaryllis this winter.
My summer flowers are faded with the first frosts of fall, and the spring bulbs are planted and resting before their show in a few months. It’s about this time of year that I start to really think about Amaryllis. Amaryllis bulbs and blooms start appearing more frequently in stores with their holiday shades of red, pink, white and more – ready to keep us flower gardeners happy with blooms inside while the cold Minnesota weather settles in.
Amaryllis are native to warmer climates. The bulbs we generally see for purchase as houseplants in our part of the world are hybrids of the genus Hippeastrum, and are native to Central and South America. Let’s talk about how to grow these beauties here in Minnesota.
Amaryllis grow best in narrow containers – about 1 inch diameter wider than the largest part of the bulb, and twice as tall. Soil should be able to drain freely from container – Amaryllis do not like to sit in water and can rot if left too wet. One third to one half of the bulb should still be visible above the soil, and the bulb should sit up over the edge of the container.
Water thoroughly after planting and allow the water to drain. Then water only when the top 2 inches of soil are dry to the touch. Place the pot on a saucer in a sunny window until flower buds begin to open, then move the plant out of direct sunlight.
Keep Your Amaryllis Plant Healthy and Flowering for Years
Amaryllis can be grown actively all year, and, with some care, will continue to rebloom. Once the flowers are finished blooming, snip them off so the plant doesn’t put energy into creating seed pods. Let the green foliage continue to have sunlight so the bulb can store energy through photosynthesis.
Unlike some bulbs, Amaryllis does not require a dormant period in order to bloom and rebloom. However, you can try to time blooms by allowing the plant to go dormant in a cool, dry, dark location for 8 to12 weeks without water or feeding. Then bring the plant out into a sunny place and resume normal watering and fertilizing with a high phosphorus content (about half the strength the package recommendation) and expect blooms in 4 to 6 weeks.
Potted Amaryllis can also be taken outside in Minnesota during warmer months. They will need to gradually spend time outside to acclimate to the outdoors, and then find a location with at least six hours of sun. Just set the pot out in a sunny spot, or stick the whole pot into the ground in the garden. Amaryllis will not survive frost or freezing temperatures, so they will need to be brought back inside before cold temperatures arrive.
It is not necessary to repot Amaryllis plants from season to season. In fact, they prefer to be somewhat potbound for the best blooms. The best time to repot Amaryllis plants is after they’ve gone through a dormant period, and then they will likely only need to be repotted with fresh sterile soil about every 3-4 years.
For more information on Amaryllis, and many more houseplants, check out the University of Minnesota – Extension website: