As a flower bulb, the amaryllis is much cheaper in stores than ready-potted. We give tips on planting the amaryllis and reveal when to plant it so that it blooms in time for Christmas.
The amaryllis (Hippeastrum), also known as the knight’s star, is one of the most magnificent flowering plants in winter. Since it is usually sold as onion and not ready-made in a pot, it presents some hobby gardeners with a little challenge. Here’s how to properly plant amaryllis bulbs. In addition, if you plant them at exactly the right time, you can marvel at their flowers just in time for Christmas.
For the amaryllis, choose a plant pot that is only slightly larger than the flower bulb. Put in drainage made of expanded clay at the bottom and fill the pot with a mixture of potting soil and sand or clay granules. Remove the dried-out root tips and place the amaryllis bulb in the soil up to its thickest point so that the upper part is visible. Press the soil all around and water the plant using the saucer. Alternatively, the amaryllis can also be grown in hydroponics.
When planting the amaryllis, it is important to consider their particular origin. The amaryllis originally comes from the dry and cool regions of South America. The demands that their environment places on them there, for example, the change between rainy and dry seasons, have made the amaryllis into what is known as a geophyte. In this respect, it resembles the tulips, daffodils, or our domestic kitchen onions.
Geophytes survive the cool and dry season as tubers, beets, or onions underground and only begin to sprout when the temperatures are milder and the water supply is activated. In South America, the rainy season begins in November – and that is also the reason why the amaryllis usually sprouts at this time. With us, the flowering time of the wonderful amaryllis falls almost exactly on Christmas and New Year – provided you get the onion into the ground in good time.
Amaryllis bulbs are not demanding and can be planted in a jiffy
In this country, the frost-sensitive amaryllis can only be grown in a pot. To do this, it is best to place the flower bulbs in a moderately nutrient-rich substrate in which water does not accumulate. Normal potting soil mixed with sand or clay granules is well suited. Alternatively, you can mix in a little ceramic. The heat-treated broken clay stores water and loosens the earth at the same time. Before planting the amaryllis, you should definitely add drainage made of expanded clay to the bottom of the plant pot, because waterlogging cause the onion to rot easily and can then no longer be saved.
Alternatively, the amaryllis can also be grown in hydroponics. In this case, the whole onion can be covered with clay balls (not ceramic!). Examine the roots of your amaryllis before planting and remove any dried-out root tips with scissors. Then put the large amaryllis bulb in the soil up to its thickest point, the upper part may protrude. The pot should be only slightly larger than the onion and very stable.
Press the soil well all around so that the large plant has a firm hold when it sprouts and does not tip over from the pot. Water the freshly planted amaryllis once, preferably using a trivet. Now the amaryllis should stand in a cool (approx. 18 degrees Celsius) and dark place for about two weeks until the budding starts to show. Then the amaryllis is made light and poured a little more.
Do not choose the pot too big for the amaryllis and press the soil well
The ideal time to plant amaryllis
Freshly potted and supplied with nutrients and water, the amaryllis needs about four weeks to sprout and set flowers. If the amaryllis is to bloom at Christmas or during Advent, bare-rooted onions have to be bought in autumn and planted in November. If, on the other hand, you need the great flowering plant as New Year’s Eve jewelry or a souvenir for the New Year, you can still take some time with the planting. So you decide for yourself when you want to awaken the amaryllis bulb from its autumn dormancy and when you want to enjoy the magnificent bloom.