How to care for your potted amaryllis – Northern Hemisphere

Amaryllis care is easy, wherever you are!

Let’s look at some interesting information first

Blooming naturally in South Africa in the summer, Hadeco amaryllis do the same in the wintery climes of the northern hemisphere, adding a lot of festive cheer to Christmas centerpieces. And they’re a firm favourite to give as a gift, wherever in the world you reside, or whatever the occasion. 

Although many refer to these beautiful blooms generally as ‘amaryllis’, the varieties available are in fact Hippeastrum, a genus of about 90 species and over 600 hybrids and cultivars. Amaryllis belladonna and A. paradisicola – both native to South Africa – are the only two true Amaryllis.

Unlike the Dutch Hippeastrum which is forced to flower out of season, those from Hadeco in South Africa flower naturally around Christmas time. It is as if they experience a kind of ‘jet lag’ on their travels north to where it’s winter, so when they arrive in the warmth of your home, they think it’s summertime – and it’s time to bloom! 

Our care instructions

When growing your amaryllis in a pot, select one that is 2.5 – 5cm wider than the diameter of the bulb. Growing them in a proper potting medium is the way to go, but you can also grow in a mix of equal parts of perlite and peat. 

They can also, like hyacinths, be grown on water. Just place the bulb on top of marbles or pebbles in a glass container, and fill with water just below the bulb – so the bulb can just sniff it! This ensures that the base doesn’t sit in the water, which may cause the bulb to rot. 

Indoors, the plant will need to be placed in a location where the temperature is around 20 – 24 degrees Celsius (70-75 degrees Fahrenheit) and don’t forget to water well on planting. After the bulb has sprouted, move it to a sunny window, and keep the soil moist, not soggy, as too much water can suffocate the roots. Rotate the pot every day so you make sure the flower stalk grows straight. 

Once the plant starts showing off its beautiful blooms, which usually takes about six to eight weeks to happen, move the pot to a spot that receives indirect light and slightly cooler temperatures, which will prolong the blossoms’ life. If you want the bulb to bloom at Christmas, plant it out around the 10th November. If you got them early, keep them in a paper packet in the refrigerator (but not below 5°C) to trick them into thinking it’s winter. This way they should remain dormant until you’re ready. But if you do notice them producing shoots, plant immediately.

After they have bloomed

Treated correctly, the bulb will keep producing flowers for years, so if you intend nurturing it for another season, once it’s finished blooming pop it back into a sunny spot on the window sill, continue half-strength fertilising (once or twice a month until outdoor temperatures stay well above freezing point, around May), and water well but not too often, only when the soil surface is dry. Then gradually expose it to sunlight outdoors, leaving it for longer periods every day. Once it’s acclimatised, you can plant it out where it will receive full sun to semi-shade. By the way, if you plant it in its pot, you’ll find it easier to dig out when you need to bring it indoors again. Of course, you don’t have to plant it in the garden – you can keep it on your patio too!

Don’t forget – potted amaryllis makes a great Christmas gift too, so give a gift that keeps on giving…