An Amaryllis plant is a member of the Amaryllidaceae family and belongs to a very small genus of flowering plants that have only two varieties. The better-known variety, and the one we use as an indoor plant, is the Amaryllis belladonna. This variety was originally found growing on the western cape of South Africa. Amaryllis Belladonia is sometimes called a Belladona Lily, Barbados Lily, or a Jersey Lily because the plant flowers look very similar to a lily. In Australia, an amaryllis plant is called an Easter Lily plant and in South Africa is called a March Lily plant. This is because in the southern hemisphere, an amaryllis plant blooms around March in time for Easter. In the northern hemisphere, it blooms in December and January in time for the Christmas and New Years holidays. Although the amaryllis plant flower does resemble a lily flower both in the way it grows and in its shape, an amaryllis plant is really a very distant cousin of the true lily plant. Amaryllis plant bulbs can be planted (or purchased pre-planted) from October through the end of April. Those that bloom in late November, December, and early January are known as early or Christmas time amaryllis. The late blooming bulbs develop flowers in late January and through March.
Amaryllis Plant BulbsSome indoor and outdoor plants are grown from bulbs. Plant Bulbs, swollen underground stems with scaley leaves, store food and provide energy for the plants we see above ground. They are also used for propagation. Bulbs should be planted deep enough in the soil so that they are totally covered. How deep you plant the bulb, depends upon the plant variety. There are true bulbs and there are rhizomes, corms, and tubers that are sometimes included as types of bulbs. Bulb plants that keep their leaves all year are used as houseplants. Bulb plants that lose their leaves after they flower and become dormant are usually used as outdoor plants. Certain environmental conditions, such as the change in temperature from winter to spring, encourage bulb plants to produce flowers. Once the plant has finished flowering and is only a green leafy plant, the plant rests for a few months. During this time, the bulb absorbs and stores nutrients from the soil to help the plant flower again the following year. Some indoor plants that grow from bulbs are: amaryllis, calla lily, caladium (tubers), False Shamrock plant (Oxalis triangularis), begonia (tubers), and cyclamen (corms), cyclamen (tubers). can be planted (or purchased pre-planted) from October through the end of April and will bloom anywhere from late November to January in the northern hemisphere. The spectacular amaryllis flowers range in size from 4”- 10.” When buying amaryllis bulbs, remember it is the large, healthy bulbs that produce the larger flowers. Amaryllis flowers can be singles or doubles and come in many colors such as red, white, rose, dark reddish/burgundy, orange, and apricot. New amaryllis plant varieties produce bicolored flowers and flowers with different edge colors. With proper after-bloom care, the easy care Amaryllis plant will flower year after year for many years.
Amaryllis Plant Varieties
A. Daphne A. Meerow A. Double White A. Aphrodite
How to Get an Amaryllis Plant to Re-Bloom
Once the flowers of your Amaryllis plant start to die, cut them off at the top of the stem, but do not remove the leaves on the stem.
Keep your plant in a bright spot and continue to water as needed.
When the stems begin to droop cut them back to the top of the bulb.
Continue to water and fertilize all summer or at least 5-6 months, allowing the leaves to grow; this provides nourishment for the bulb.
When the leaves start to turn yellow, prune the plant to about 2″ from the top of the bulb. This is usually during the early fall.
Remove the bulb from the soil. Clean the bulb and place it in a cool dark area, 40°-50°F (4.4°-10.0°C) for a minimum of six weeks. The refrigerator is okay if there are no apples in it. Apples sterilize amaryllis bulbs and prevent new growth.
After the bulbs have rested, replant them and move your amaryllis to a warm, bright area. Plant the bulbs about eight weeks before you want them to bloom. It will take longer for an amaryllis to rebook in the winter than in the spring.
Is an Amaryllis Plant Poisonous
Amaryllis plants are considered very poisonous and should be kept away from dog, cats, and small children. Read more about common houseplants that can be dangerous in my book Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants.
Here are a few reasons why your Amaryllis may not be producing flowers: Using the wrong plant food. fertilizers high in nitrogen help with leaf production but do not help flowers develop. Use a plant food high in Potassium. Your Amaryllis may not be getting enough light or the temperature may be too cold. The soil is too wet. If you dig up Amaryllis bulbs too early once the flowers fade; the plant may not bloom the following year.
The spots on the leaves, petals, and stems of your Amaryllis plant are caused by plant disease called red blotch. To eliminate red blotch, reduce your water, keep the leaves dry, remove any diseased leaves and petals as soon as they appear, and spray your plant with a commercial Fungicide.
Your Mom’s Amaryllis plant probably started out as large, plump bulbs while you bought small ones. The larger an Amaryllis bulb the more flowers it produces. Be sure to fertilize your Amaryllis while it is still a flowerless, green plant and give it plenty of very bright light.
An indoor Amaryllis plant rarely gets plant pests. If you put the plant outdoors when the weather gets warm, it may attract a few grasshoppers.