How to plant amaryllises

Amaryllis bulbs produce huge trumpet-shaped flowers on the top of long strong stems and are indoor flowering bulbs. They are tender bulbs and should not be planted outside except in the heat of summer to late autumn to allow the growth to die back naturally. When the weather begins to get cooler, the bulbs can be brought back indoors.

Always unpack bulbs and plant on arrival.  Wear gloves when handling and planting Amaryllis bulbs.

Prior to planting, soak the roots for 12-24 hours by placing the bulbs in a glass or wide bowl, making sure the water does not touch the base of the bulb as this could cause the base plate to rot. Plant the bulbs in multi-purpose compost adding a little grit to aid drainage. The pot should be large enough to push your thumb between the bulb and edge of the pot. Planting depth should be around 5 cm and the bulb will pull itself down as it establishes itself. Water sparingly until you see the bud or leaves start to appear, then water regularly but be careful to not over water it. Feed weekly with high potash feed - liquid seaweed is ideal as it’s organic and comes from a sustainable source

Rotate the pot regularly to avoid the stem bending towards the light. After flowering, cut the stem down to about 2cm from the top of the bulb but do not cut the leaves and keep feeding on a weekly basis. You can place the pots outside during summer, but provide some shade from the heat to prevent leaf scorch.

In late September/October, put the pot in a cool, well-lit place and reduce feeding and watering to allow the bulbs to become semi-dormant. Alternatively, for around 10 weeks, you can stop watering altogether and allow the compost to completely dry out. You can then remove the old leaves back to around 7cm from the neck of the bulb.  Remove around 7cm of compost from the top of the pot and replace with fresh compost. You can now follow the same planting advice above. Remove any offsets with their roots and pot on - it will take around four years for the offset to flower but the wait is worth it. Amaryllis should be re-potted every two to three years, choosing a pot that is slightly larger than the bulb.

Amaryllis bulbs are poisonous and should not be eaten as they contain compounds which can cause stomach discomfort, nausea.  The bulbs can be poisonous to cats and dogs. Remember to wear gloves when handling them.

Flowering problems:

If the bulbs fail to flower, this could be caused by allowing the compost to dry or drying the bulbs off too early after the previous flowering. If putting outside during summer keep an eye out for slugs and snails which will make short work of the foliage.

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