Soil For Amaryllis Plants – What Kind Of Soil Does Amaryllis Need
By: Liz Baessler
Amaryllis is a great early blooming flower that brings a splash of color to the dark winter months. Because it blooms in winter or early spring, it’s almost always kept in a pot indoors, meaning you have a lot more say in the kind of soil it grows in. So what kind of soil does amaryllis need? Keep reading to learn about amaryllis soil requirements and the best potting mix for amaryllis.
Soil for Amaryllis Plants
Amaryllis bulbs grow best when they’re slightly crowded, so you don’t need too much potting mix. Your pot should leave only two inches between its sides and the edges of the bulb.
Amaryllis bulbs don’t like to sit in damp soil, and too much material around them can lead to them becoming waterlogged and rotten.
A good soil for amaryllis plants is well draining. You can use nothing but peat as the soil for amaryllis plants, but keep in mind that peat is hard to rehydrate once it dries out.
What Kind of Soil Does Amaryllis Need?
The best potting mix for amaryllis is high in organic matter but also well draining.
- One good mix is made of two parts loam, one part perlite, and one part rotted manure. This makes for a nice balance of organic and draining amaryllis soil requirements.
- Another recommended mix is one part loam, one part sand, and one part compost.
Whatever you use, just make sure your organic material is well rotted and broken up by enough gritty material to allow water to drain easily. When you plant your amaryllis, leave the top third to half of the bulb (the pointy end) above the potting mix.
Amaryllis bulbs don’t require a lot of potting mix, so if you wind up with extra, keep it in a sealed container and save it until you need to repot. This way you’ll be sure to have the appropriate and sterile soil on hand.
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Read more about Amaryllis Hippeastrum
Factsheet | HGIC 1551 | Published: Jun 19, 1999 | Print
The ‘White Christmas’ Amaryllis (Hippeastrum ‘White Christmas’) flowers have pure white petals with a light green throat.
Barbara H. Smith, HGIC, Clemson Extension
The large bell-shaped or lily-like flowers of the amaryllis (Hippeastrum species) and its hybrids make excellent garden and potted plants. They are available in a wide range of flower colors including red, white, pink, orange, salmon or bicolored and typically have two to six flowers per stalk. Most of the bulbs sold are either Dutch or South African grown hybrids that will flower without special treatment when first purchased.
Reason #1 – Soil is dry
Amaryllis originates from tropical regions in South Africa, so the bulbs thrive in moist soil. Keep soil moist but never wet and soggy. As a rule of thumb you need to water Amaryllis sparingly until it grows to about 2 inches and then you can water regularly. If you are growing in a greenhouse, you need to know when and how to water plants.
However, you might be watering adequately, so the problem can be in the soil. It might not drain well. That is why you should not be using garden soil. A good potting mix or multipurpose compost are the best soil options for Amaryllis. Check out what is the best soil for greenhouse growing here.
Moreover, it is important to choose a pot of the right size. Choose a heavy 6-8 inches pot that will not tip over under the weight of the flowers. Make sure that potting mix isn’t drying out, however, water should not be collecting in the saucer. Amaryllis along with other plants can grow in just 6 inches of soil.
Reason #2 – Temperature is too cold
The minimum temperature for Amaryllis during growing season is 45°F but the ideal temperature is 68° to 70°F (20°C to 21°C). In the ideal temperature roots will start growing quickly. Amaryllis is easy to grow indoors, however, you can move it outside in spring if the temperature is appropriate.
If you are growing Amaryllis bulb indoors, place it on a windowsill in the warmest room. Make sure that temperatures are not too cold at night time. It can be a good idea to place a pot on the shelf above the radiator. Remember to monitor not only air temperature but the soil temperature as well. Did you know that you can test soil temperature in just 4 easy steps?
Reason #3 – Not enough light
Amaryllis bulb needs to grow in bright, indirect sunlight. Also, it is important to plant the bulb with pointed end up. In comparison to other bulbs, it doesn’t need darkness. So one third of the bulb should remain above the soil line.
Place the pot on a windowsill in a well-lit spot. Once you see the new growth, expose it to direct sunlight or the plant will get tall and floppy. Turn the pot regularly (every few days), so the flower stalk doesn’t grow towards the light. Turning the pot ensures that flower stalk is exposed to sunlight at all sides and will grow straight.
Reason #4 – Bulb can still be in dormancy
If you planted Amaryllis bulb a few weeks ago and it won’t grow, the bulb can still be in dormancy. Although Amaryllis doesn’t require a resting (dormant) period, if you let the bulb to rest, you can control the blooming time. Most of the time growers do that to make Amaryllis bloom around Christmas holidays.
So, Amaryllis will bloom again if you continue to grow after flowering. However, for the best flowering growers leave the plant to grow and energize for four to six months and then encourage it into dormancy. To start the dormancy you need to stop watering.
Amaryllis bulb should be dormant for at least 8 weeks. At this time they should be kept in a cool and dark place. No resting period is the most common reason why Amaryllis has only leaves and no flowers. It will grow leaves and no flowers if you re-bloom it too quickly.
Reason #5 – Just be patient!
On average, it takes from 4 to 8 weeks for the Amaryllis bulb to begin growing. Depending on the type, you can see tiny, single leaves begin to appear after two weeks. Also, most varieties start flowering six to eight weeks after planting, but other can take longer – up to ten weeks.
So, if you plant Amaryllis in October, its leaves appear in spring. However, there are some types that grow leaves first and only after the leaves die away, the 2 ft flower stalks appear in fall. Other Amaryllis bulbs produce a flowering stalk first and then leaves. The leaves transport carbohydrates back to the bulb for the next flowering.
Many growers wonder what to do with bulbs after flowering. Depending on the bulb, it can stay in the pot or you might need to remove it, dry and store in a cool and dark place. If you are not sure what to do with Tulip and Daffodil bulbs after flowering, you can have a look at this post.
Key Factors to Consider When Planting
There are several components to ensuring the best growing environment for amaryllis bulbs. Soil composition, light, temperature, and care are all important considerations when planting.
Soil Composition and pH
The best way to plant amaryllis bulbs is to use soil that is high in organic matter. We suggest using a mix of soil that includes two-parts of loam soil to one-part perlite to one-part of well-decomposed compost. The ideal soil pH should measure between 6.0 and 6.8.
Light and Temperature Requirements
The amaryllis bulb will thrive best in a well-lit area that receives at least four hours of direct sunlight each day. When in its dormant state, keep the bulb in a cool, dark space of no less than 55 degrees.
Water the amaryllis bulb after initial planting to wake up the bulb. After that, water the plant no more than once a week. Most problems encountered with failing bulbs are due to overwatering, which can rot the bulb. You can tell if your bulb has rotted if it loses its firmness and gets mushy when you press on it.
After the amaryllis flowers bloom, cut the spent flowers off right below the small bulbous area behind the wilted flower. After all the removal of the wilted flowers, cut the stalk to within 2 inches of the base of the plant. After flowering, the plant’s leaves process energy through photosynthesis that transfers to the bulb. The amaryllis plant stores this energy in the bulb for the following growing season.
You can treat the leafy plant as a houseplant for several months. When the foliage starts to die back naturally, cut it back to 1-2 inches above the bulb. At the end of the summer season, dig up the bulb and store it in a cool, dry, dark place for a period of 6 to 8 weeks. Amaryllis bulbs will go dormant so that it won’t need any water or attention until sometime in September.
Start Growing Amaryllis Today
Big Amaryllis bulbs offer big, bold blooms in a simple easy to grow process. What are you waiting for? Get started on beautifying your home and yard by planting some amaryllis bulbs. Not only will you do your part in helping nature, but you’ll get some pretty flowers out of it too!
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