Do you Know How to Correctly Plant an Amaryllis Bulb?

by | Dec 22, 2021 | 2 comments

Amaryllis bulbs
A collection of amaryllis bulbs

I have been out and about getting ready for the holidays, as I am sure you have been. If the store has a floral section I always stop to see what holiday plants are for sale.

There are so many poinsettias, kalanchoe, frosty ferns, cyclamen, and of course, amaryllis. What I’ve noticed is some of these plants aren’t planted correctly. Do you know how to correctly plant an amaryllis bulb?

Amaryllis kitsch

Boy, have they done some weird things to amaryllis bulbs.

Since they are bulbs, they have everything stored needed to grow and flower the first year. Even without their roots, they can flower and send out leaves.

Waxed Amarylllis

That’s why the bulbs below have wax on them and they aren’t in any kind of potting mix.

I’ve heard that some people have peeled the wax off and grown the bulb for another year of blooms.

Though that may work, I’m sure these bulbs are meant to be thrown out after the holidays. Poinsettias are treated the same.

Knitted Sleeve Covered Amaryllis

Have you seen the stocking-covered bulbs? These are like the waxed bulbs but a decorative knitted sleeve is used in place of wax. They are kind of cute, right?

To help both kinds stand up straight, a piece of coiled wire is inserted into the bottom of the bulb.

I have to admit, this is an amaryllis I kind of like, other than the fact that they have glued the bulb to logs and then flocked it to look like snow….What do you think?

An amaryllis glued onto two small birch logs and flocked to look like it has snowed (Next to my grandma’s antique church music box)

Pre-packaged amaryllis

Many times you will find an amaryllis bulb in a box or other container. It includes everything you need to plant the bulb.

The problem is, the “soil” they include is usually only peat moss or coir with no amendments. I’ve found if used, the bulb doesn’t grow well and often rots. It is too “heavy.” Throw it out!

Find a container that has a drainage hole and a diameter that isn’t much bigger than the bulb itself. Plant your amaryllis bulb correctly for its best health.

Amaryllis bulb planted
Planted it up in a pot not much bigger than the bulb itself

Potting Medium

Find a potting medium that is fast-draining and is better for the bulb and will help keep it alive long-term.

Potting medium
Use a good quality, fast-draining potting medium for your bulb
Amaryllis bulb planted
Planted it up in a pot not much bigger than the bulb itself

Pre-planted amaryllis

I have seen pre-planted amaryllis before, but never one buried so far into the potting medium. This is not conducive to the health of the bulb.

Leave one-third of the amaryllis bulb out of the potting medium. I pulled bulb out of the mix and it was a bit wet and slimy. I am not sure it will live but I repotted it with a good potting mix and am hoping for the best. 

Buying a loose bulb

I find the best way to buy a bulb is to get one at a garden center and buy the biggest bulb you can afford. The bigger the bulb, the more flower stalks it will send up.

Look how this one is wrapped in a styrofoam sleeve protecting it from handling and bruising.

The roots are quite desiccated, so I soak them in water before planting. It doesn’t need to be a long time, but it will help the roots rehydrate before planting. 

In review

Buy the largest bulb you can, preferably from an independent garden center.

Soak the roots before planting (not the bulb).

If you buy a pre-packaged bulb, throw the soil away and find a pot not much bigger around than the bulb. Use a quality, fast-draining potting medium.

If you buy a pre-planted bulb, make sure one-third of the bulb is above the soil line for the best health of the bulb.

After planting, water it in and then wait for the bulb to show signs of growth before watering again.

Place it in a warm bright place while it is growing. Once it flowers, move to a cooler area to prolong the life of the flower. 

Once the flower stalk is growing, you will have to turn it often to keep the stalk straight. It will grow towards the light. Wait for it to flower and enjoy! It is a beautiful flowering plant.

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

I hope this helps you plant your amaryllis bulb correctly and I hope you keep it growing and blooming for years to come!

Have a great holiday, plant friends!


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  1. JoAnn Peterson

    Thank you for all these tips. I just bought an Amaryllis last week it shipped really fast, sent to me in a bag ….so what I did with mine I knew I had to do something for the roots so I just put mine in a vase for the roots and low and behold it’s starting to grow 😊😊..I am so happy …

    • Lisa Steinkopf

      Hi JoAnn,
      Sorry this is so late. I hope your amaryllis is doing well! Thanks for your comments!


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