Think amaryllis blooms are for a spectacular Christmas display only?
Forcing amaryllis bulbs starting in October allows for constant blooms December to April. Big, beautiful tropical blooms rejuvenating you as weary winter drags on.
A splice of paradise.
Forcing amaryllis bulbs is as simple as it gets. Good potting soil, water and some bright, but indirect light and they’ll bloom for you.
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Before you begin planting…
Your first mission is to choose the right bulbs. So I must caution you. You get what you pay for in bulbs.
If you seek humongous flowers, choose the biggest bulbs you can find. This is especially true of the amaryllis. The size of the bulb is a good indicator of the size of the blooms the plant will produce.
Bigger is better when forcing amaryllis bulbs.
Fortunately for you, acquiring pristine bulbs is easy with DutchGrown. A company famous for their big, beautiful bulbs.
I’ve worked with DutchGrown for several years running now and the size of their bulbs never ceases to amaze me.
DutchGrown only handles top size flower bulbs in more than 400 varieties. And they’ve been in the bulb business since 1882.
A USA family based business, their bulbs are coming straight from Holland to your doorstep.
Did you know?
Amaryllis means to sparkle in Greek.
Why “force” amaryllis bulbs right now?
I have no words to describe how gorgeous amaryllis blooms are. You just have to try it to believe it.
Nothing could be simpler to do. In my experience, amaryllis bulbs are some of the easiest, most foolproof bulbs to try your hand at.
If you have a few minutes and a few bucks, planting a few amaryllis bulbs right now will lift your spirits in approximately 6-8 weeks.
Some varieties do take a little longer for a 10 week wait. But all come to fruition in their own time and are worth every ounce of effort.
Amaryllis bulbs can be planted from October to April. If you want luscious tropical blooms all winter long, then it’s a good idea to stagger your plantings.
So plant one bulb every two weeks for a non-stop display of brilliant blooms.
If you are planting bulbs for a special event per se, then count back 6-10 weeks for the ideal blooming time.
Amaryllis fact facts…
- One bulb will typically grow two stems. And there can be anywhere from two to five flowers per stem! But only if you are lucky.
- The second flower stem will develop later than the first, meaning, it will also bloom later. This is great because the blooms will not open at the same time so you will have a fairly long flowering period.
- A stem measures 16-24 inches for one whopping plant. Stake the amaryllis plant to prevent it from toppling over!
- Most amaryllis varieties will form a flower 10 inches in diameter!
- Amaryllis are tender perennials; most are hardy outdoors only in zones 9 to 11.
- Amaryllis reproduce by growing “daughter” bulbs next to the “mother” bulbs. It takes three to five years for a daughter bulb to reach a marketable size.
- Plant breeders have developed more than 600 named varieties of amaryllis!
- Unlike some other forced spring bulbs like paperwhites, if treated right, you’ll get decades worth of blooms from your amaryllis bulbs. See….worth every penny!
Best containers to force your amaryllis bulbs
You have a huge amount of choice for planting containers in forcing amaryllis bulbs.
The biggest consideration is the sheer weight of the plant. Those stunning blooms can get quite heavy! Especially if you have more than one on a stem.
So glass vases/Mason Jars are always a safe bet. A great place to acquire glass vases if you don’t have some around your house is the Goodwill or Salvation Army.
They always seem to have a nice selection for a super low cost.
As far as pot size goes, it depends on how many bulbs you want to plant. A good rule of thumb is a 6 inch pot in diameter for a single bulb and a 10-12 inch pot for 3 bulbs.
Overall, I’ve found that amaryllis bulbs don’t mind being planted close together only requiring about an inch of space surrounding the bulb.
Like most plants, they like good drainage. So a drainage hole in the pot with a saucer lining the bottom is ideal.
Planting instructions for forcing amaryllis blooms
1.) Prior to planting your amaryllis bulbs, soak bulbs in lukewarm water for 2-4 hours.
2.) Use a compost-rich soil mix. Potting soil with a little fertilizer works like a charm.
3.) Cover bulbs with the pointed end up in soil halfway to 3/4 of the way up to its neck. So 1/3 of the bulb will remain above the soil line.
4.) Water sparingly until you see 2″ of new growth. After that, only water when the top inch of the soil feels dry. Overwatering causes bulbs to rot.
5.) Amaryllis bulbs like room temps. So a place where they will receive lots of bright, but indirect sunlight.
6.) To prolong blooms, keep pot out of direct sunlight and away from heating vents or your woodburning stove.
For blooms next year….
If you want blooms next year, and fingers crossed blooms for decades to come, it’s fairly easy to get amaryllis bulbs to bloom again.
After the flowers have faded, snip them off to within one inch of the bulb.
Continue to water and feed with a liquid house fertilizer.
During spring and summer, amaryllis will grow a number of leaves. Its dark, narrow leaves and light thick stems contrast in color making a pretty houseplant.
The leaves help the plant produce energy to fuel next years blooms.
In mid-late August, start without water and allow the foliage to die back naturally as the pot dries out completely.
When ready, pull the bulb out of the pot and allow it to go into dormancy in a cool, dark and dry place. Eight weeks is perfect but longer is fine.
Six to eight weeks before you want to try forcing amaryllis bulbs again, repot the bulb in fresh potting soil to start your journey all over!
Four blooms on one plant!
The amaryllis produces two stems and (fingers crossed) will produce at least two flowers on each stem. But if you are very lucky, a stem can produce as many as 5 flowers!!
My plant produced a total of four blooms. So I got my two flowers on each stem. But they were stunning! Amazingly huge flowers.
Last….if you are seeking cut flowers, look no further than the wonderful amaryllis. So beautiful in a vase or potted to gift a friend or loved one.