Should a Boxed Amaryllis Bulb be Treated Differently Than a Loose Bulb?

by | Dec 31, 2019 | 18 comments

Many of you may receive a gift of an amaryllis bulb in a box. Should a boxed amaryllis bulb be treated differently than a loose bulb? What is the difference? One comes with soil and a container and the other does not.

I was in Kroger buying ingredients for a New Year’s recipe. I couldn’t pass up this boxed ‘Minerva’ amaryllis bulb (hippeastrum). It was 1/2 off and only $3.99.

It was hard to pass by the holiday cactus…but I did. I decided to show you what to do with an amaryllis in a box.

 Boxed Minerva amaryllis
I found this boxed amaryllis at Kroger for $3.99

What is in the amaryllis bulb box?

First, open the box and see what you have. Many times the box top is already open as the bulb is growing and busting out of the confines of the box. This one is growing but hasn’t escaped the box yet.

Amaryllis in a box
The bulb is growing in the box.
Amaryllis box contents
I took everything out of the box.

Box contents

In the box, there was a wrinkled plastic pot from the bulb growth, a pellet of what they call Cocopeat, and the bulb.

The Cocopeat disk is 100% coir fiber that is fiber from the husks of coconuts. In the past, it would have been a peat moss disk, but coir is used more often now.

Cocopeat disk
This compressed Cocopeat disk is 100% coir fiber

Amaryllis bulb box directions

The directions say to soak the disk in 1 1/2 cups of water. It states it will take up to 15 minutes to absorb the water. Stir the mixture and drain the excess water. Did I do that? No. I may use it in a mix later, but it was not used for the amaryllis bulb.

Neither was the pot, but it would be fine if you didn’t have another one. Why didn’t I use them?

It should be obvious why I didn’t use the pot…I like a decorative pot. The potting medium is a different story. 

I have used the supplied potting medium before and the bulb never grew well. It didn’t root, the mix stayed wet too long, and sometimes the bulb rotted.

I use my own custom mixed, well-drained, potting medium that I would use for most of my houseplants.

I will say that the directions for planting the bulb on the back of the box were very easy to follow and correct. They even included a tip to turn the plant as the stem grows as it will lean toward the light.

potting medium
I use my own custom mixed potting medium to plant the bulb in

Preparing the amaryllis bulb

Before I plant an amaryllis bulb, I soak the roots. They are usually so dried up, they shrivel.

I place the bulb on a vase of water that only allows the roots to be in the water, such as a tall drinking glass. I soak the roots for about 30 minutes.

It isn’t too important how long you soak them. Shorter, longer, whatever you do is fine. You wouldn’t have to soak them at all if you don’t have time. It is up to you. I find that it helps get the bulb going.

Amaryllis roots soaking
Soak the roots ONLY in water before planting

Planting the bulb

So now it is time to plant the bulb. If you don’t use the supplied pot, what do you use? I use a tall pot (to allow room for the long roots) that is only about an inch bigger around than the bulb.

Because this bulb is already growing smaller bulblets, I had to choose a pot that would accommodate them. The bulb is snug in the pot and the bulblets will start growing up as soon as they hit the side of the pot.

finding a pot for an amaryllis
I found a pot that is only an inch or so bigger than the bulb

When you plant the bulb, leave about 1/3 of the bulb above the potting medium line.

They do not like to be planted deep like hardy bulbs outside, which are planted 3-8″ below the soil line, depending on the type of bulb. This is a non-hardy bulb for the northern part of the country.

To answer the question, “Should a boxed amaryllis bulb be treated differently than a loose bulb?” After taking it out of the box, no. I plant the bulbs the same way.

The amaryllis planted
I planted the amaryllis in a well-drained potting medium
Potted up
The amaryllis bulb is planted with about 1/3 of the bulb protruding out of the medium

After-planting care

After planting the amaryllis, water it in well and then wait to see signs of growth before watering again. My bulb already has growth, so I can water it again when it is dry.

Keep it moist while it is growing, turning it often as it will lean towards the light. Usually, the flower stalk grows first, so I may not get any flowers this year as I only see leaves. T

That’s not to say a flower stalk may not appear later. The leaves will be feeding the bulb throughout the year and will store energy for next year’s flowers. I can wait if I need to.

Read here how to take care of your amaryllis after it blooms.

Did you get an amaryllis for the holidays? Is it growing well? Or is it already flowering? Have you had luck with the boxed bulbs? Let me know in the comments.

Have a great week, plant friends!


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  1. K

    Can you talk about what to do with the bulb/how to store the bulb after the flowers are done to save it for the following year?

    • Lisa Steinkopf

      I actually just added a link at the bottom of the post to a previous post about taking care of it after it blooms!

    • Sandie

      Just leave it in the planter and water it whenever it gets dry, about every 2 weeks. I have had mine for 3 years. It blooms every Christmas and every summer.

  2. Mark Aaron

    I planted ours according to directions 2 months ago. It said not to water again until a flower bud starts to appear, but none has appeared yet. Is there any hope for it?

    • Lisa Steinkopf

      Hi Mark,
      Does the bulb still feel firm? If so, maybe it needed a bit more water and heat to get it going. If it is still firm, there is hope.

  3. Martha

    Is there any hope for an amaryllis that fully bloomed inside the box? I planted it in a pot, but the flower stem is hooked downward. The new leaves seem to be heading up alright.

    • Lisa Steinkopf

      It may send up another bloom stalk if you are lucky. At the very least, plant it and let the leaves start growing. Hopefully, next year it will bloom for you. Lisa

    • jane

      rarely. this happened to me twice. you will get leaves . if the leaves grow well you can put it outside in the spring in an empty spot in the garden. but the squirrels will likely eat the bulb. it is way too much trouble to put them away for another year. unless you have alot of time on your hands. i did it once but it never grew.

  4. Chris Winand

    I just took my Amaryllis bulb out of the box to plant it, and the growth out of the top of the bulb has started to dry up. Should I cut off the dried up part, or just plant it and pray for it to grow?

    • Lisa Steinkopf

      Hi Chris,
      Sorry for the late reply. I would have to see the bulb to know, but I’m sure it is too late now. I hope the plant is doing well.

  5. Stacy

    I just got my bulb in the mail today. Can I leave it in the box and wrap it and put it under the tree for 2 weeks. Will it be OK?

    • Lisa Steinkopf

      Hi Stacy,
      Sorry for the late reply. My daughter had twins and I have been out of the loop for almost a year….
      Anyway, tell me what happened with the bulb.

  6. Rebecca

    I got a Christmas amaryllis in a box and leaves are coming out of box. I am leaving for 3 months and can’t take it. Can I save it in a dark room and plant it in April when I return?

    • Lisa Steinkopf

      Hi Rebecca,
      Sorry for the late reply. My daughter had twins and I’ve been busy for 11 months.
      I hope you gave the bulb to a friend while you went on to vacation. I think it wouldn’t have been doing well if the leaves were already out. Tell me what happened to it.

  7. Katherine Janio

    Do you ever trim the roots before planting out of the box. I have just opened by box, and the roots are quite large and curling round the bulb. I am currently soaking roots (intact).

    • Lisa Steinkopf

      HI Katherine,
      Sorry for the late reply.
      I have never cut them off. I figure they can use all the help they can get to grow and flourish. I don’t think it would hurt though. Root pruning is good for some plants.

  8. Beth

    I received a boxed amaryllis, planted it but it hasn’t grown. My daughter got one the same time and it has grown about 6 inches.
    Any suggestions?

    • Lisa Steinkopf

      Hi Beth,
      I’m sorry for the late reply. I had grandbabies born 11 months ago and am just now starting to get back to normal life. lol
      I hope your amaryllis grew. Let me know.


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