Forcing Amaryllis

If you’ve received one of our Amaryllis Forcing Kits (packaged in a terracotta pot with soil and moss), you’ll want to keep the kit in a dark, unheated space until you’re ready to begin or give as a gift; a closet or basement are good options. (Do not store in refrigerator or outdoors! 50-60 degrees is a good storage temperature.)

For our potted Amaryllis (already beginning to send up shoots and sold uncovered), you’ll want to move directly to the next step. 

Amaryllis will bloom 4-6 weeks after planting. When you’re ready to start your bulbs, move the pot to a warm room, ideally 70 degrees. Our kits are packaged with a decorative layer of Spanish moss that helps to protect the bulb during transit. You can remove the moss, or use it as a decorative layer around the base of the bulb; just lift the moss when you water the plant.

Water the bulb by moistening the soil around it; try not to pour water directly onto the bulb. Amaryllis (and other bulbs) are sensitive to rot, so you’ll want to be careful not to overwater the plant. Water only when the top inch of the soil is dry to the touch, checking the soil every few days to make sure it is moist but not soggy.  

When the bulb has sprouted and you see green shoots beginning to appear, move the pot to a place with ample sunshine, such as a south-facing window or sunroom. Rotate the pot periodically to ensure that the stalks will not lean in one direction towards the light. 

Once blooms appear on your plant, move the pot out of direct sunlight to prolong the bloom time and protect petals from fading. Continue to water 2-3 times per week.
Amaryllis blooms can be quite heavy and the stems can topple under the weight of the flowers. To prevent this, you have several options. 

  • Stake the stems using a sturdy branch or stake; branches found around your house can add a rustic look, while dried curly ting ting (found at a craft store) gives a more elegant touch
  • Tie the stems together with ribbon (this works best with multiple bulbs)
  • If the blooms topple, simply cut the stem and display in a vase like any other cut flower; amaryllis have very long vase life.

With a little TLC, amaryllis bulbs can bloom again next year. After the flowers have faded, cut the flower talk 3-5” above the bulb. Do not cut the leaves; they are needed to produce food for the bulb. At this point, you could repot the bulb in another pot or container if you want to reuse the current pot for something else.

Move the plant to a sunny window and continue to water it regularly. Once a month, water the plant with a water-soluble fertilizer (like Miracle-Gro). After danger of frost has passed in the spring (early to mid May for Central PA) move the pot outdoors, continuing with the watering schedule. 

Stop watering the bulb 12 to 14 weeks before you want it to bloom again, bring the bulb indoors, and store in a cool, dark place for 8-10 weeks. You can cut off the foliage at this point, just above the bulb. After 8 weeks, repot the bulb, water it and go back to the beginning of these instructions. You’ll have blooms in just a few weeks!

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published