(This Christmas Amaryllis care guide was written in collaboration with Gardener’s Supply but all thoughts and opinions are my own.)
Are you looking for something easy to grow indoors that blooms? Amaryllis are not only fun to grow, but they make a great gift idea for the holidays because anyone of any skill level can grow them. Here is everything you need to know about Christmas amaryllis care.
I am SO EXCITED because my amaryllis bulbs just arrived from Gardener’s Supply.
Have you grown amaryllis before?
They are really easy to care for and produce big, gorgeous flower stalks indoors in about 6-10 weeks after planting.
And if you order new bulbs in late summer or early fall, a dormant bulb can be planted so it blooms for the holiday season. If you’ve never grown amaryllis before, they are really fun to grow.
It is a must-try!
Here is what you need to know to grow big, beautiful, and colorful Christmas amaryllis flowers.
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All About Amaryllis Plants
The amaryllis is a tender bulb hardy to USDA zones 7 to 8 or higher that comes from South America. They are huge bulbs that produce gorgeous large trumpet flowers.
Amaryllis flowers add lots of bold color indoors and make great gifts for gardeners of any skill. Depending on the variety, the amaryllis bloom can be either individual flowers or double flowering.
And the blooms can be pretty big!
Types of Amaryllis Plants
There are about 90 varieties of amaryllis plants and many different colors available today. The plant we typically call amaryllis today is native to South America and thrives in tropical and subtropical regions.
Amaryllis blooms may be white, red, pink, apricot, and even bicolor, striped flowers. These festive colors are a big part of why these flowers make such great Christmas plants!
They’re actually one of my favorite Christmas hostess gifts to give because they’re easy to care for and really brighten up the cold winter months.
Why Are Amaryllis Given at Christmas?
So, how did amaryllis become one of the common plants of Christmas (right up there with the poinsettia)? One reason is likely because of its ability to bloom during the winter, so it’s ready to decorate your home with holiday colors.
In Victorian times, amaryllis were associated with strength and determination because of their height and sturdiness. Amaryllis was also commonly gifted to celebrate an achievement or success (like making it through another year!).
But no matter the symbolism behind them, amaryllis are popular Christmas flowers to grow and gift today.
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How to Select Amaryllis Bulbs
Because they are so easy to grow and produce big, gorgeous blooms, amaryllis are a must-have this winter.
Here’s what to look for when purchasing bulbs:
- Select the largest bulbs available because larger bulbs typically produce more flowers.
- Avoid bulbs with signs of mold, decay or injury.
- Bulbs should be firm and dry.
Supplies Needed to Grow Amaryllis Indoors
You can purchase supplies need to grow amaryllis as a kit or you can piece it together yourself.
Here’s what you need to plant amaryllis.
- Amaryllis Bulb
- Container with Drainage Holes (I typically re-use plastic nursery pots)
- Sterile Potting Soil
- Decorative Container
As a general rule, it’s a good idea to use a heavy pot to plant amaryllis because the stalks and flower spike can get top heavy when the amaryllis blooms.
Thus, a heavier container will help weight it down.
However, you could also add a support stake to help keep the green stalk sturdy and the blooms upright.
How to Plant and Provide Christmas Amaryllis Care
Once you have everything needed to plant, this is how to plant and provide Christmas amaryllis care.
Caring for amaryllis plants is so simple. Here’s how to grow these gorgeous colorful flowers.
Choosing a Container
Choose a container with a good drainage hole because good drainage prevents root rot, pest, and disease problems.
As a general rule, the container’s diameter should be an inch or so wider than the diameter of the bulb which is the widest part of the bulb and twice as tall as the bulb.
The container should have a little weight to it to help keep the amaryllis stable while it grows. Because amaryllis flowers grow pretty tall and get a little top-heavy.
Before planting, fill the container halfway with sterile fresh potting soil that is high in organic matter.
- Plant the amaryllis bulb pointed end up so the roots sit on the potting soil.
- The pointed end is the top of the bulb.
- Backfill with soil until about the top third of the bulb is visible.
- Tamp down on the potting medium surrounding the bulb.
- And then water after planted.
I typically leave them alone after this and only occasionally give them a drink of water. They don’t need much to grow and thrive so definitely don’t overdo it.
Consider adding a stake like these to help the flower stalk remain stable while it grows.
Move the planter to a location where it will receive indirect bright light, like a sunny windowsill.
Do amaryllis like sun or shade?
Amaryllis need a sunny spot to grow and bloom, but make sure to keep it in indirect light. Pay attention to the temperature of its location, too. Growing your bulbs at a higher temperature can lead to a weaker flower stalk and smaller flowers. Keeping your amaryllis out of direct sunlight and in cool temperatures (between 60-70F) can help your blooms last longer.
As a general rule, water thoroughly until the soil is moist. Make sure the container drains thoroughly and dump any water sitting in the bottom of the saucer or decorative container.
Only water when the top 2 inches of soil is dry and make sure the container fully drains excess water. Use this test to determine soil dryness.
Christmas Amaryllis Care After It Flowers
You don’t need to toss your amaryllis plant after the holidays! Here are some amaryllis care tips to keep plants happy and healthy after they produce a full bloom.
How long do Christmas amaryllis last?
Amaryllis flowers generally bloom for a couple of weeks. If you move the plant out of direct sunlight and into a cooler location once the flower buds start to show color, you can keep your plant blooming for longer.
The really cool thing about amaryllis, though, is that the bulbs themselves can actually last years – and even decades! This does require the best Christmas amaryllis care, though.
I’ll admit that I don’t personally try to regrow my amaryllis each year. While it’s absolutely possible, I treat them like annuals and get new bulbs each year. I find it a lot easier.
What to do with a Christmas amaryllis after it blooms?
- When the old flowers fade, cut off the faded flowers to prevent it from going to seed. This encourages the bulb to store energy for future blooms next year. If we don’t cut them off, seed formation depletes energy and reduces blooms.
- Cut the flower stalk back when it turns yellow. Do not cut it back while still green because it’s still storing energy for future growth and blooms.
- When it’s done blooming, place in a sunny location so it can continue to grow.
- Water and fertilize the plant regularly with an all-purpose houseplant plant fertilizer.
- After the plant dies back, allow the pot to completely dry out.
- Store in a cool, dark and dry place for at least 8 weeks.
Can Christmas amaryllis be planted outside?
Once there is no danger of frost, amaryllis plants can be moved outside for the summer. Start by placing it in shade or indirect light and then gradually move the amaryllis to an area where it will receive full sun for at least 6 hours daily.
You can grow amaryllis as a container plant on a patio, porch or deck, or plant the whole pot in the ground. The roots are brittle and very hard to dig back up later, so it’s not recommended to plant amaryllis directly in the ground without its pot.
Make sure to bring them indoors before there’s any risk of frost in the fall and store them in a cool, dark place like a basement or closet (45-55ºF is ideal) and do not water. This will help the bulbs enter a state of dormancy.
Will a Christmas amaryllis bloom again?
It is possible for a Christmas amaryllis bulb to bloom year after year! The key is to keep the plant actively growing after they have finished blooming, by caring for the potted amaryllis leaves as described above.
The amaryllis leaves will start to die back in mid- to late-summer. Bringing the plant indoors in the fall will help the bulb enter a state of dormancy. Once the leaves become dry and shriveled, you can remove them. Then, store the potted bulb in a cool, dark and dry place for at least 8 weeks (a basement is usually a good option!).
To encourage amaryllis rebloom, repeat the planting and care process with fresh soil and place in indirect light about 6-8 weeks before you want it to bloom. If you’re looking for a Christmas amaryllis to enjoy, then you’ll want to start bringing your bulb out of dormancy in early November.
Troubleshooting Common Christmas Amaryllis Care Problems
Why isn’t my amaryllis blooming?
If you’ve been working on Christmas amaryllis care and your bulb is still not flowering, there could be a few issues at play. Some of the common culprits include:
- Storing the bulbs away for dormancy too early, such as before the leaves yellow and die back naturally.
- Not giving your plant enough sunlight
- Planting the bulb in soil with too much nitrogen fertilizer or too much water. Nitrogen promotes amaryllis leaves instead of flowers.
Why are there red spots on my amaryllis leaves?
Red, rust-like spots on amaryllis leaves is a sign of a common amaryllis blight called red blotch. This fungus can infect the amaryllis bulb and cause red blotches (hence the name!) on the leaves.
Red blotch usually affects plants that are in shade and watered frequently. If you purchase a pre-potted amaryllis bulb or a Christmas amaryllis kit, you’re unlikely to encounter any issues with red blotch. But if you keep up with Christmas amaryllis care throughout the year, bulbs can develop this fungal issue.
Throw away any heavily infected bulbs. For bulbs with a small amount of red blotch, you can dig them up, remove infected scales, and soak them for 30 minutes in hot water before replanting in fresh soil. I’ve not tried this before, but some home growers have found success with this. For me, I’d rather toss them and purchase new bulbs.
Amaryllis Bulbs from Gardener’s Supply
What I love about Gardener’s Supply amaryllis flower bulbs is that each bulb is big, beautiful, AND comes with everything needed to plant.
So even the beginner of beginner gardeners can do this! To give you an idea how easy it is, here’s a closer look at each bulb received.
Here’s what I’m growing this winter:
- Scarlet Belle Amaryllis – It’s a double flowering luscious Christmas Red Amaryllis that arrives in it’s own beautiful pot.
- Velvet Easy Care Waxed Amaryllis – A fun waxed bulb encased in wrapped velvet that can be incorporated with holiday decor. When I took this one out of the box, I have to say it was super cool. And the best part? It takes care of itself!
- Waxed Upside Down Amaryllis – This bulb is encased in a waxed coating and arrives ready to hang upside down. It even comes with it’s own hanger!
- Amaryllis Planting Kit – The kit includes everything needed and explains how easy it is to grow and care for amaryllis.
But the coolest ones by far are the two waxed amaryllis bulbs I am trying out. This waxed amaryllis bulb came with its own hanger. It can be grown upside down. And it will still bloom that way.
I mean, how cool is that???
And the other is wrapped in a gorgeous red velvet that looks really festive and fun. But the most amazing part? The waxed bulbs need no care! How easy is that?
Just take it out of the box, place it in indirect light, and wait for the blooms. I am going to order a few more of these. It makes the perfect holiday gift plant!
Thanks so much for hanging out and planting amaryllis with me today!
More About Growing Amaryllis Bulbs
Have you grown amaryllis before? Did you order any yet for the holidays this year? I would love to know more in the comments below.
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More Holiday Plant Ideas
Looking for holiday plant ideas for decorating and gifting?
Check out these posts.
- Poinsettia Plant Care
- How Much to Water Poinsettia Plant
- Poinsettia Care After the Holidays
- Christmas Cactus Care
- The Best Holiday Gift
More Houseplant Care Tips and Tricks
- 7 Simple Ways to Keep Your Houseplants Alive
- How to Revive Plants to Save Them
- How to Style Your Houseplants
- Monstera Plants and Why You Should Grow One
- Propagating Pothos Plant
- 7 Easy Indoor Gardening Ideas for Beginners
- What You Need to Know About Easy Care Houseplants that Purify the Air
- The Secret to Keeping Houseplants Alive
- How to Propagate Pothos Plant
- Have a Green Thumb With These Indoor Gardening Ideas
- Dividing an Aloe Plant
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- I like to use a good-quality, potting soil, garden soil, compost, and perlite when planting. While I make my own compost, you can easily buy it ready-made for use.
- I have used this deer repellent with great success. But now, I’m all about this deer repellent that is systemic instead of topical. This means the plant takes it in as opposed to it just smelling bad. If you want to minimize the work and not use repellents, choose plants that are deer-resistant from this list.
- Hands down this is my favorite hand-weeding tool. You can use it to get underneath roots and loosen soil, and it cuts down on the weeding time because you work much faster.
- But I also love this long, stand-up weeding tool to really get around roses from afar.
- I use this organic fertilizer for roses because the blooms are more prolific and it’s organic.
- And I use this organic fertilizer for my vegetables and herbs in the potager garden.
- You’ll need a sharp set of pruners when working with plants and flowers. I buy a few so I can stash them around.
- I use these garden snips to deadhead and cut flowers from my gardens.
- Where pest and disease problems are concerned, if I need to, I generally use this insecticidal soap or neem oil to help control infestations depending on the issue. When using, only apply when pollinators are less active.
- This is my go-to bait for slug and snail problems with my hostas and dahlias.
- This is my favorite set-and-forget slow-release fertilizer for houseplants, annuals, and container gardens.
- Whenever I stake my peonies or other plants, I generally use these grow-through garden supports because they work really well and keep the blooms upright.
- I use this collapsible bin ALL THE TIME. It is invaluable when working in the beds as it’s light to carry around and folds flat for easy storage.
- Drip irrigation set on a timer is your friend! I love these for my planters, window boxes, and hanging baskets.
- And this four way hose bib allows you to split one spicket into four!
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I’m a master gardener who’s been gardening and growing things for over 25 years and author of the best-selling book, The Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide to a Beautiful and Easy-Care Flower Garden. With a deep passion for gardening, I enjoy helping others find their inner green thumb with all things plants and flowers, as well as finding ways to bring the outdoors inside their homes.
Get the inside scoop about my background as a master gardener, education, and experience, as well as why I started blogging here.