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Add color to your home with an amaryllis

Amaryllis are a prized indoor plant that can produce 6-10 inch trumpet shaped flowers born on 1-2 foot tall stalks in mid-winter. Amaryllis come in a variety of colors such as red, pink, white, and salmon. Amaryllis are easy to grow and with a little effort they will bloom year after year.

Amaryllis are typically purchased as a bulb although some garden centers carry potted bulbs in various stages of bloom. When purchasing a bulb, it is best to select the largest one available. In general, the larger the bulb the more stalks and blooms it will produce. The bulb should be firm to touch with no visible signs of decay or physical damage. Plant your amaryllis in a pot that is one inch wider than the bulb. Use a potting medium that drains well and is high in organic matter. Plant the bulb so that at least one-third to one-half of the bulb sits above the potting medium. Water thoroughly after planting and place in a warm sunny spot. Once growth begins, apply a water soluble fertilizer high in phosphorous; follow label guidelines for rate and frequency of application. Once the flower buds have colored, move the plant out of direct sunlight to prolong the flowering period.

Amaryllis will bloom year after year as long as the bulb stores enough nutrients. To prepare the bulb for the next bloom cycle, move the amaryllis to the brightest spot indoors to maximize photosynthesis. Remove the flowers after they fade by cutting them off of the flower stalk. Remove flower stalks after they yellow. Amaryllis may be brought outside after the danger of frost has past. Acclimate the amaryllis to the outdoors by placing in the shade and gradually moving to areas receiving more light. When fully acclimated, the plant should receive six hours of full sun. Fertilize monthly while outside using a balanced houseplant fertilizer and bring indoors before the first frost in the fall.

Amaryllis will naturally bloom without a resting period. If a particular blooming time is desired, give the amaryllis a resting period of 8-12 weeks. During this time store the plant in a dark place, do not water, and remove the foliage after it has dried. After 8-12 weeks, or if new growth is observed, bring the plant into a bright location and begin watering. Flowers usually develop in four to six weeks.

If you want a splash of color this winter, try growing an amaryllis. With a little effort it will bring colorful blooms for years to come. Reference: Hoffman, C. and M. Meyer. 2016. Growing and caring for amaryllis. UMN Extension. 



Randy Nelson
Extension Educator, Home Hort & Ag Production Systems
(218) 299-5020
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