In the run-up to Christmas, the amaryllis is often offered in wax. Read here whether it is worth planting and what advantages and disadvantages this wax coating has compared to the natural onion.
The amaryllis (Hippeastrum), also known as the knight’s star, is a colorful eye-catcher in winter when it’s cold, gray, and dark outside. For some time now there have not only been natural amaryllis onions in stores, but also onions wrapped in a wax coating down to the tips. Amaryllis in wax has some advantages, but also a few disadvantages. There are some restrictions, especially when it comes to planting and growing time.
Which is better: amaryllis in wax or natural?
The amaryllis in wax is a new plant trend that is currently causing a sensation. The amaryllis bulbs, which are decoratively clad in wax, are simply placed in the room on a stand and begin to sprout after a short time and without further care. Basically, a fine thing, because the onion does not have to be potted, nor do you have to water the amaryllis. The water supply in the bulb is sufficient for the magnificent flowers to open – but no longer. The plant can neither form roots nor absorb additional water in the wax coat – which, by the way, is impossible or very difficult to remove – and dies immediately after the amaryllis has faded.
Amaryllis bulbs in a wax coating have been offered as a Christmas takeaway item in hardware stores for several years. Unfortunately, once they have withered, they are a waste of the land as they cannot continue to grow due to the lack of roots. If you remove the wax layer after flowering, you can be lucky that the bulb will still grow. If you want to have something from your amaryllis for a longer period of time, you should buy a normal onion or an already potted plant.
If you leave the amaryllis in the wax coat, it is, unfortunately, a waste of the word. It is not even suitable for composting, as the wax coating hardly decomposes unless it is real beeswax.
Our tip: Try to carefully remove the wax layer after flowering. With a little luck, you will find a few intact roots underneath and you can plant the amaryllis bulb as normal. However, it is not certain that it will continue to grow at this stage, as the leaves sprout immediately after flowering and the water requirement is correspondingly higher.
A normal amaryllis bulb without a wax layer, on the other hand, sprouts again and again over several years if properly cared for and adorns the winter and Christmas season with its flowers. Compared to the amaryllis in wax, it also costs significantly less. In addition: Those who do not cut back their amaryllis after Christmas, but let them continue to grow, water them regularly and supply them with nutrients in the spring and summer months, can even be lucky enough to develop daughter tubers with which they can be easily reproduced.
For this, however, it needs a pot with plenty of soil volume or is simply planted in the ground bed of a greenhouse in spring. Planting out in the open ground is basically also possible after the ice saints, but it will then be difficult to initiate the rest phase from August onwards. Even if the plant is no longer watered and protected from precipitation with a transparent cover, its leaves only dry out very slowly – after all, so-called capillary water still rises from the subsoil.
For many people, the natural amaryllis (left) is not as visually attractive as the amaryllis in wax (right) – but with proper care, it will also bloom again in the following years
Conclusion: If you would like to enjoy the amaryllis’ bloom without a lot of care and only for the holidays, you can safely use a decorative, waxed onion. However, if you want to have something of the plant over a longer period of time and would also like to plant it, we recommend the untreated amaryllis bulb.