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.
Boy, have they done some weird things to amaryllis bulbs. Since they are bulbs, everything is stored in the bulb that they need to grow and flower the first year. Even without their roots, they can flower and send out leaves.
That’s why the bulbs below have wax on them and they aren’t in any kind of potting mix. I have heard that some people have been successful peeling the wax off and the bulb has grown roots and lived the next year. Though that may work, I’m sure these bulbs are meant to be thrown out after the holidays, like a poinsettia.
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? With both the waxed and sleeved amaryllis, a piece of coiled wire is inserted in the bottom of the bulb to help it sit up straight.
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?
Many times you will find an amaryllis bulb in a box or other container and 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 and I’ve found if used, the bulb doesn’t grow well and often rots. It is too “heavy” and needs to be thrown out! Also, find a container that has a drainage hole and one that has a diameter that isn’t much bigger than the bulb itself. These amaryllis bulbs need to be planted correctly for their best health.
Find a potting medium that is fast-draining and is better for the bulb and will help keep it alive long term.
I have seen pre-planted amaryllis before, but never one that was buried so far into the potting medium. This is not conducive to the health of the bulb. One-third of the amaryllis bulb needs to be left out of the potting medium. This bulb needs to be planted correctly. I pulled it out of the mix and I have to say it was a bit wet and slimy if that’s the word. 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 purchase 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 nicely this one is protected from handling and bruising wrapped in a styrofoam sleeve. 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.
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, find a pot with a drainage hole not much bigger around than the bulb, and 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 and once it flowers, it can be moved 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 as 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!