When accompanying Steve, my husband, to pick up bird seed last weekend, I noticed the store had amaryllis bulbs on sale (at 50% off actually, so they were a real bargain). It took only seconds for me to include two in our checkout because I was inspired by a visit to a greenhouse in Old Wethersfield, CT recently where seedlings were popping out of trays, and bulbs were growing in bulb vases. A couple of herb seed packets were tossed into the shopping cart as well.
When I arrived home, it hit me. I finally have a great use for a nice green glass container I picked up at a vintage show last summer. It is a littler larger than what the instructions indicate for amaryllis bulb growing (a pot size of no more than two times the diameter of the bulb is recommended), but I proceed regardless. The bulb was already sprouting a shoot, which I could see via the window air hole in the box, so it was underway and would only continue to grow once given the right temperature and light conditions.
The amaryllis box included a plastic pot, some soil mix which was rather dry and would require re-hydration with water, and instructions on the box’s exterior cover. The pot and mix were set aside as I started to arrange various river rocks in my green glass container at a level of about four inches. My goal was to make a nice indentation or sitting spot for the base of the bulb, and test the bulb’s position before removing dead roots and adding water.
Before setting the bulb in its final position, the brown roots, which were rather dry, were removed carefully by hand. These can rot in the water. Any roots which were slightly white remained. Because even the white roots were very dry, I’m not sure if they will take but new roots should assume command once the plant begins to recognize a water source, light, and temperature conditions as it continues its growth out of dormancy.
As I set the bulb upon the stones, I carefully tucked the white roots in crevices between the stones. Once I was satisfied the bulb was balanced and checked that the shoot would be able to exit the top of the container, I added stones around the bulb’s top portion.
Instructions indicate, if you elect to grow your amaryllis bulb in water versus soil mix, to be sure to keep the top third of the bulb exposed and water added at a level of one inch below the base of the bulb. I don’t think you need to be super exact with the inches and all that jazz, just follow the rule to not allow the bulb to sit in water and all should work out fine.
A sunny windowsill is best for an amaryllis bulb to grow, but I placed mine on the north side because this is where my green glass container is best suited – so it may be a little cooler there with less direct sun, but it will grow regardless – just at a slower pace. As for the room temperature, it must remain above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. No problem for me as I can’t take any temperature lower than that in my house during the winter, even with a loaded wood stove in the basement!
I’m looking forward to watching the shoot elongate, turn green and eventually reveal a beautiful showy red bloom within a few weeks. I guess the only downfall of growing these in water versus soil is the bulb is usually tossed because it doesn’t restore well. However, having a green thumb, I will attempt to store my bulb and redo the entire process again at the right time. A period of dormancy is required for about two months for the plant to regrow and bloom once again.
Detailed Planting Instructions
White Flower Farm with Video Growing Instructions:
Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder Plant History and Details:
The United States National Arboretum, How to Make your Amaryllis Bloom Again:
Now onto my herb seeds. Several small terracotta pots have been washed (via a wash cycle in my dishwasher) and are waiting for soil mix and my herb seeds. This is next on my little to do list.