Giant Amaryllis Care & FAQ
Giant Amaryllis Care
1. How much water do I add to the Giant Amaryllis?
For the Amaryllis in the vase, care should be taken not to over-water. These require very little water - only 1/2 cup until growth is visible. Add another 1/2 cup if the rooting area has become bone dry. Be careful not to submerge the bulbs. Continue to sparingly water until the flower bud starts showing color. Too much water can cause the bulb and its roots to rot as the young bulb has reduced absorption capabilities.
The waxed Amaryllis requires no water.
2. What is the best environment for the Amaryllis bulbs?
The optimal environment is a room with a lot of natural light with temperatures between 68-77 degrees (F). In the early weeks prior to sprouting, it is ok to place the potted bulbs in a dark place if the temperature is within range. After leaf and flower stem(s) begin sprouting, a lower temperature can be beneficial as long as sufficient daylight is available.
3. Can I tell if the Amaryllis bulb is healthy?
Yes. Bulbs should be firm to the touch and greenish-white in color with thin brown outer layers like an onion.
4. How do I prevent the Amaryllis from toppling over?
The Amaryllis grows toward the sun, so rotating the plant weekly during its growth will help ensure that the plant grows upright.
5. Why is it so important to buy large-sized Amaryllises? Why does Bloomaker only import the large (XXL) size Amaryllis?
The bulb is a store organ. The more bulb reserves an Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) has, the more flowers the plant can produce. In general, only large Amaryllis bulbs will produce more than one flower scape or spike, but this is dependent on the cultivar. A bulb must produce at least eight to twelve large, healthy leaves in the summer growing season before it can send up a scape the following year. Depending on the bulb treatment and bulb size after harvest, some bulbs can produce up to two flower scapes at the same time or they may wait several weeks between blooms. You will also find sometimes the second scape will have only two or three flowers rather than the usual four.
After a good bulb treatment and potting, leaves and flowers appear about the same time. Dependent on the temperature and treatment by the grower, bulbs can produce flowers first, then, after it has finished blooming, the plant will begin growing leaves. On the other hand it can happen that first only leaves appear and later the flowers.
6. What is the story of the Amaryllis? What is the origin of the name Amaryllis?
The Amaryllis is native to the tropical zone of South America, roughly between the two tropics.
The botanical name of Amaryllis is “Hippeastrum” and is in Greek for “horseman’s star” (also known today as “knight’s star”). The name was chosen in 1837 by the Honorable Reverend William Herbert, Dean of Manchester.
No one is entirely sure why he picked this name, although buds on the verge of opening do look something like a horse’s ear and clearly the blossoms do resemble six-pointed stars.
It seems likely however, as William Herbert was both a clergyman and something of an expert on early medieval history, that he chose the name because of the plant's striking resemblance to the ‘morning star,’ a medieval weapon used by horsemen. A version of the weapon was also called a ‘holy water sprinkler,’ an ecclesiastical object the Dean would have been familiar with.
7. Where do the Amaryllis bulbs come from?
The first commercial breeders of Amaryllis were Dutch growers who imported several species from Mexico and South America and began developing cultivars and hybrids from them in the 18th century; the first of these reached North America early in the 19th century. In 1946, two Dutch growers moved to the Union of South Africa and began cultivation there.
Although most Amarylisses come from the Dutch and South African sources, bulbs are now being developed and grown in the United States, Japan, Israel, India, Thailand, Brazil, Peru and Australia. The double flowers from Japan are particularly beautiful.
8. What is the annual cycle of flowering Amaryllis for Christmas/ Holidays and how do I treat the plant?
- Plant the bulbs in the second half of October or when temperatures will remain 70-80 degrees (F) for the next three weeks. This is needed for rooting and sprouting.
- After three weeks, temperatures can be slightly lower. Offer limited water.
- To bloom for Christmas/holidays, give more water to maximize flower size.
- After flowering, remove old stems. Now the bulb must grow and flowers must develop inside the bulb for the next season.
- From this period until the beginning of August, there should be good light conditions, temperatures of 70-80 degrees (F), regular watering, and a little bit fertilizer every two months.
- At the beginning of August, take the plant to a cooler place (50-60 degrees (F)) for a 10-week period to initiate stem elongation. Decrease watering.
- At the beginning of October, bring the plant back to a warmer place (70-80 degrees (F)). Remove the leaves, and start watering slightly after you see visible leaf and stem sprouting.
- Amaryllis will bloom at Christmas/holidays.
- Repeat this every year.
- Replant in fresh peat every three to four years after the cool period.
Giant Amaryllis Aftercare
1. Can I grow Amaryllis in the garden?
Between 85-90% of all amaryllises (Hippeastrum) are grown for indoor culture only; however, in warmer climates they can grow successfully. They should be grown in hardiness zone 8 and up, and should be planted where they get some sun every day. Take care that they do not receive too much sun as it can cause the leaves to burn. Most amaryllises readily naturalize and over the years produce beds of lovely flowers. Some are evergreen and will not lose their leaves during winter while the leaves of others are deciduous and will die back until spring. Protect these outdoor plants from night frost.
If desired, pots with bulbs can be buried in the garden for less maintenance and watering. In this case they also look more “natural” in the garden setting but they will have to be dug up in the fall if you later want to force for indoor flowering. Amaryllis roots do need oxygen (many species are epyphitic).
When potting or planting make sure sphagnum moss is no deeper than 1 cm below the bulb. A granulated mixture works best (starting with the smaller granules and ending with the biggest either perlite, akadama, a naturally occurring, granular clay like mineral that is used as soil for bonsai trees and other container or clay balls) in the root area to keep a good level of gas exchange and protect your plant from root rot.
Fall (Autumn) Care
Except in very hot climates, cut back on watering in September. This is done to prevent rot as the bulb enters its resting period and no longer requires regular watering. If in a heavy rain climate, then move the bulb inside or to a covered porch. Otherwise, bulbs can be left outside in the sun until the night temperature regularly reaches 10 C (50 F). Bulbs can survive a light night frost, but not a heavy freeze.
Annual repotting is not necessary when large pots are used. But if necessary, begin the inspection/repotting phase in October or early November (depending on location and temperature): remove the top 5-7 cm (2-3″) of soil and pull the bulb up. Inspect the roots for signs of parasites, disease or rot (note: healthy roots are white and slightly fuzzy). If the bulb and its roots look healthy, then put it back in its pot and replace the soil removed with new soil. Replace all soil every other year. If desired add 5 cc (1 teaspoon) of granulated fertilizer to the pot before replacing the bulb. If this is your preference, do not feed it during the summer. Also, cut off any yellow or dead leaves.
2. How do I replant the bulbs?
After flowering the bulb is almost ‘empty’. So to encourage flowering next year, it is very important that the bulb builds up new reserves. This rest period allows new flowers to be developed in the bulb. Optimum rest would include (very) good light conditions and preferably a warm climate of 70-80 degrees (F).
- After flowering, remove the dead flower stems. Don’t remove the foliage.
- If the plant is in a small pot, replant the bulb in a large pot, at least twice the diameter of the bulb. Use a good quality, well-drained planters mix or peat moss.
- If the bulb is already in a wide pot, replanting is not necessary.
- If the outdoor temperature is within the acceptable range, it can also be grown outdoors. Typically those in the warmer, southern climates have the best luck with this method.
- Water regularly, using a basic plant feed every two month at a low rate.
- About 6 to 7 months after flowering, move the plant to a cool location of 50-60 degrees (F) for a period of 3 months (indoors or outdoors). Temperature is by far the most important factor.
- Water very moderately to keep soil slightly moist during two months, than stop watering. The leaves may remain green, but may also gradually die; the death of the leaves is not a problem.
- After 3 months, move the plant back to temperatures of 70-80 degrees (F), cut off the foliage, and dry the top of the neck to prevent neck-rot.
- Do not water until new leaves and flower stems appear.
- After 8 to 10 weeks, the Amaryllis may flower again.
- Repeat these steps after every flower cycle.
General Information about our Bulbs
1. Why do Long Life Flowers last longer than potted flowers?
At Bloomaker, we select the best varieties and use state of the art growing equipment to provide you flowers that last longer than tulips in soil, or even cut tulips.
2. Where can we buy the Long Life Flowers?
Check your local grocery store or club store. Please see our Find Us tab for products available in your area.
3. May I buy the Long Life Flowers directly from you? Do you sell them online?
It's not possible to buy directly from us. Our company is wholesale only.