What are Amaryllis Bulbs?
Amaryllis bulbs (Amaranthaceae) are flowering plants native to South East Asia. They grow from a single stem and produce small white flowers which mature into tiny pink berries. These plants have been used for centuries in traditional medicine, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that their medicinal uses were discovered. Since then, these plants have become popular ornamental plants in gardens and homes all over the world.
The scientific name of the plant is Amaranthus tuberosus. Its botanical name is A.
tuberosus var. amarandifolia and its family name is Amarinaceae. There are many different species of amaryllis, but there are only two species commonly found in North America: A. tuberosus var. amarandifolia and A. tuberosus var. alata . Both species are native to southern China and Vietnam.
How Can I Store Amaryllis Bulbs For Next Year?
When choosing a place to store your amaryllis bulbs, you want them to last at least one year. If you live in a cold climate where winter temperatures drop below freezing, then you will need to freeze the bulbs first before placing them in the fridge or freezer. If you live in a warmer climate, then you want to keep the bulbs relatively cool.
If you plan on storing them for one year or more, then you want to keep them at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Some people choose to store them outside (underground) in their garden.
This works well if you live in a warmer climate where it doesn’t freeze during the winter.
Prepare the bulbs by cutting off the tops (and roots) of the bulbs. You want the top to be relatively flat so that it can stand up on its own.
Once you have prepared all your bulbs, wrap them in paper towels then place them in a sealable plastic bag. You do not want any air to get into the bag or else the bulbs may mold. Place the bag in your refrigerator or freezer (Not the freezer section of your refrigerator) for at least one month.
If you are freezing the bulbs, then remove them from the plastic bag and place them in a container that can be tightly sealed. Fill the container with water, then place it in the freezer.
Take out as many frozen bulbs as you need, and thaw them before planting.
What Do You Need to Know Before You Plant Amaryllis Bulbs?
Amaryllis bulbs are relatively easy to grow, but they do require some special care. They cannot tolerate frost, so make sure you plant them in a well-draining location (such as a raised bed). These plants prefer full sun to partial shade. Before you plant your bulbs, prepare the soil. You want it to be deep, nutrient rich and well-draining. If you are unsure about the quality of your soil, test it and amend it accordingly.
Plant your bulbs in the fall, just before the first frost. The ideal time to plant is after the leaves have fallen from the trees and the ground has cooled.
The bulbs need to be at least three to four inches under the ground. You can make hills with your hands to help you get the right depth.
Place one bulb per hole, then cover it with soil and pat it down firmly. Keep in mind that these bulbs continue to grow over the winter, so they need to be deeper in the ground than they appear above.
How Do I Care For My Amaryllis Bulbs?
Amaryllis are relatively easy plants to grow, but they do require some basic care. They thrive in sandy, well-draining soil and full sun (or partial shade). You can plant them in pots or directly in your garden. If you decide to plant them in your garden, make sure to plant them in a hill. This means that you should dig a hole big enough for one bulb. Then, you will plant another bulb in the next hole, and another, and so on. This will help the soil retain moisture as the plants feed each other with their roots.
While these plants generally don’t require much care, they do require some maintenance in the form of watering. Amaryllis prefer sandy soil and can become stressed by cold, wet soil.
They also need to be watered at the base of the plant (never below the bulbs) and need time to dry out in between waterings. It’s a good idea to use a moisture meter until you get to know the needs of your particular plant. This is especially true if you are growing them in pots. The best time to water is in the morning so that the plants have all day to dry out.
Fertilize your plant once a month during the growing season using a balanced fertilizer. You can either use a liquid fertilizer (follow the directions on the label), or you can add compost or manure to the soil.
Add a thin layer over the top of the soil and then work it in towards the edges. Never fertilize right before a rainstorm as this can cause nitrogen burns.
What Kind of Problems Should I Watch Out For?
Amaryllis are relatively easy to grow, but they do have some specific problems that you should look out for. The most common problem is getting the bulbs wet. These bulbs rot easily, so make sure that the soil where you planted them is well-draining. If your bulbs was in a pot, you need to be especially careful to not over water the plants.
The other major problem is temperature. While these flowers can tolerate cold, they don’t like sudden drops in temperature and will likely rot if the temperature gets too cold.
If this happens, plant your bulbs again in the spring.
If your plant looks sickly or stunted, you plant may not be getting enough sun. While Amaryllis can tolerate partial shade, the plants need at least six hours of direct sun a day in order to thrive.
How Do I Know When My Bulbs Are Ready To Be Planted?
Amaryllis bulb is ready to be planted when you can easily pull it from the pot without it falling apart. It will have a small neck where the bulb and roots join together, but it shouldn’t be loose or wobbly. If the neck seems weak or delicate, it isn’t ready yet and needs a little more time to grow.
Amaryllis have thrived in gardens and in pots for years. With a little care and maintenance, these beauties will thrive in your garden or on your porch.
Look to order yours from Garden Guides where you can get free shipping on all orders over $59!
Sources & references used in this article:
Fooling mother nature: forcing bulbs for indoor bloom by G Graine, H Scoggins – 2019 – vtechworks.lib.vt.edu
Accumulation of plant small heat-stress proteins in storage organs by O Lubaretz, U zur Nieden – Planta, 2002 – Springer
Fooling Mother Nature: Forcing Flower Bulbs for Indoor Bloom by FOF DRY, DA BULBS – Plant Life, 1975 – American Plant Life Society.
PROPAGATION OF AMARYLLIS BULBS BY TWIN SCALING by S Ockenga, S Ockenga – 2002 – Clarkson Potter