A soft perennial, amaryllis can be grown in pots or as an addition to your garden during the summer months.
Amaryllis is not tolerant of freezing temperatures. They can be left outside in USDA zone 8 and below and 9-11 if you overwinter your plants with mulch.
If you live in a cooler clime, you will need to dig your bulbs from your garden. And before the first frost, your outdoor amaryllis will need to come indoors.
During their annual growth cycle, amaryllis can reproduce a multitude of bulbs. When you remove them from the garden in the fall, you can store them or plant a few and force them to bloom for the holidays.
How nice would it be to have gorgeous amaryllis in your home during the cold winter months? You can by following these simple instructions.
How to force amaryllis bulbs
Forcing amaryllis bulbs to bloom starts with choosing what bulb to use. Then, select the container for planting the bulb. Cover the plant with soil until the top third of the plant’s the only visible part. After which, water the bulb and keep it in a place or room receiving indirect sunlight.
Forcing Amaryllis Bulbs to Flower: A Comprehensive Guide
To begin with, the process usess potting soil as a growth medium, and you can use a plant that has just died or prepare a new bulb to force.
You can purchase forced bulbs from which to grow your amaryllis. Alternatively, you can grow your own bulbs.
You can also force the plant that just died to bloom again and again.
Choose the proper container in which to plant your bulb. The pot should be about 2 inches larger than the bulb and should drain well.
Plant your bulb with the top third of the bulb sticking above the dirt.
Water the bulb in, being careful not to wet the top of the bulb while keeping your plant in a room at about 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Keep an eye out for green growth, and don’t water your plants until you see life coming forth. Instead, place your plant in indirect sunlight and wait.
Choosing an Amaryllis Bulb to Force
Some choose to use the water method, while others use potting soil.
Whether you plant in water or soil, start with a healthy bulb. It should be free of insect damage, soft spots, or any other blemishes.
Amaryllis kits include the soil, the container, and the bulb, for those who want to get started right away. Alternatively, you can opt to use transplanted amaryllis bulbs you already have or plan to harvest and force one or two to bloom early.
Once you have selected the bulb you wish to plant, follow the above procedure to force it to bloom.
Blooms should begin to appear six to eight weeks after you expose your plant to the sun.
How to plant your amaryllis bulb
You chose the largest bulb you could find, did you not? You should because it will give you the biggest, strongest plant and flowers.
When planting the bulb, fill the pot you have selected about halfway with potting soil. Now, place the bulb in the dirt, with the pointed end up.
Fill in around the bulb with more dirt, and leave the top one-third of the plant exposed. Water the soil, be careful not to wet the exposed part of your plant.
You can now place your plant in a sunny location, but take care not to give it too much sun, too soon.
How to care for a forced amaryllis
Once your bulb is planted, you need to place it in a cool area. The perfect temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius). After planting, place your potted bulb in a room at or near this temperature.
Do NOT water your amaryllis bulb until you see green growth forming at the top of the bulb. When the leaves begin to get a little length, place the plant in an area with partial sunlight for a few days before transferring them into a place receiving full sun.
Evenly water the soil at this time and slowly introduce it to more warmth and sunshine.
You should see new growth in your plant, and if everything goes all right, you will have blooms in three to four weeks.
Frequently Asked Questions on How to Force Amaryllis Bulbs
How long will it take to force amaryllis to bloom?
You should see growth in 2-3 weeks after planting the bulb. Once you place your plant in the sun, you should see blooms in another three to four weeks. From the time you plant your amaryllis bulb until you see flowers will be from six to eight weeks.
Can I force amaryllis to flower more than once?
Though it’s quite peculiar, you can force your amaryllis to produce flowers more than once. Once your plant has bloomed, cut away any dead foliage and leaves, and begin the forcing process again. Remember to add a little fertilizer during this process because growing these beautiful flowers takes a lot of energy.
Can I transplant my forced plant in the garden?
It might not seem so, but you can transplant a forced Amaryllis in your garden. Amaryllis will do well in a natural setting. When setting previously forced bulbs into the garden, please give them a little fertilizer to give them a boost. Growing early blooms is hard work, and the bulbs will need extra nutrition.
Will Amaryllis bloom more than one time in a year?
People often get amaryllis plants as gifts around the holidays. Make sure not to throw it away when it dies. Instead, take the time to force it to bloom, and you will have luscious flowers, in season and out. Once you have an amaryllis that is old enough to produce more bulbs, you can expand your collection of plants. You do this by dividing bulbs and starting new plants. Amaryllis is the gift that keeps on giving if you know how to care for it.
Will every bulb bloom?
Unfortunately, not every bulb will bloom, but you will have a better chance if you purchase bulbs or use those you have saved have visible buds. A visible bud in the crown of a bulb is the first indication that a bulb is alive. Use this indicator to your advantage so that the bulbs you plant yield blooms.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.