Growing amaryllis (Hippeastrum) is a gardener’s confidence booster. Whether grown outdoors or indoors in containers, you’d be hard-pressed to find an easier plant to grow. You will get flowers sooner, however, if you grow them from bulbs. Growing them from seed isn’t challenging, but it may take up to five years for the plant to bloom, and the flowers may not be similar to those of the parent plant.
Container and Soil
The type and size of container you use to start the amaryllis depends on how many seeds you want to plant. Any container will work for single seeds, as long as it has holes in the bottom so water can drain from the soil. When planting more seeds, consider using a seed-starting tray with individual “cells.” Fill the germination container to within 1/2 inch of the rim with sterile seed starting mix and slowly pour water over it until it’s saturated. Set the container aside to drain until the soil is no longer saturated but moist.
Set the amaryllis seed on the surface of the growing medium and tap each one lightly to ensure contact with the soil. To maintain moisture around the seed, cover the container with plastic wrap. Set the container in a lightly shaded area, out of direct sunlight. For best results, leave the container in an area that remains 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit at all times.
Check the soil at least every three days to ensure it remains moist. The plastic wrap acts as a mini-greenhouse, so you most likely will not have to water. You may see mold begin to grow on the soil. If so, fold back one corner of the plastic wrap to allow air to circulate. It takes about four weeks for amaryllis seeds to germinate. When the seedlings penetrate the soil, they will resemble a blade of grass or a chive. When the amaryllis seeds sprout, begin increasing the amount of light they receive. Do this gradually, over the course of a week or two, until they receive full sun.
When the seedlings reach 6 inches high, transplant them into individual pots one to two inches larger in diameter than the diameter of the bulb. Fill the new pot with moist, quick-draining potting soil. Plant the seedlings to the same depth at which they were previously growing. If you live within U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 10, you can grow amaryllis outdoors. Transplant the seedlings into the garden, in a sunny area where you’ve loosened the soil to a depth of 6 inches. Space the seedlings 2 to 3 inches apart.
Potted Amaryllis Care
Water the amaryllis when the soil feels dry on the surface. Pour water slowly over the soil until it drains from the bottom of the pot. About two to three weeks after transplanting the amaryllis seedlings, provide them with their first dose of fertilizer. For potted amaryllis use a water-soluble balanced fertilizer such as 20-20-20. Mix 1 teaspoon of the granules in 1 gallon of water and pour the solution over the soil until it drains from the pot. At maturity, feed the amaryllis twice a month with a solution of 2 teaspoons of the fertilizer in a gallon of water.
Outdoor Amaryllis Care
Wait until you see new growth and fertilize the amaryllis with a low-nitrogen fertilizer, such as 3-4-5. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the granules around the plant but don’t allow any to contact the plant. Water the soil slowly to a depth of 6 inches after applying fertilizer. Fertilize again when the stalk has grown to 8 inches high and again after the amaryllis finishes flowering.
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Hippeastrum (Group)
- Georgia Department of Agriculture: Amaryllis - Easy to Grow, Even from Seed
- Clemson Cooperative Extension: Amaryllis
- AmaryllisBulbs.org: Sowing and Germinating Amaryllis Seeds
- University of Nebraska – Lincoln: Guide to Growing Amaryllis
- North Dakota State University: Growing the Delightful Amaryllis
- Texas A&M University, Galveston County Master Gardeners: I Have Some Large Amaryllis in Pots. How Can I Propogate These Expensive Plants?
- Photo Credit Teenoo/iStock/Getty Images
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