Watering: Most people receive their first Amaryllis as a gift. It can
come either as a dormant bulb - packaged as a kit with potting mix
and a pot, or perhaps as a growing blooming plant in bud or in bloom.
If your Amaryllis has come to you as a dormant bulb, pot it up as
described above. A lot of the "kits", sold on the market today, come
with pure milled sphagnum moss as a potting medium. You are
welcome to use this "mix", but be VERY careful not to over water. It's
very easy to over water or water too often with these mixes. You're
better off potting your bulb in the right mix to begin with, so your first
experience growing these wondrous plants is a positive one.
Water your bulb with room temperature water and NO fertilizer. Your
bulb does not need fertilizer at this point and can't do anything with it.
Plants need leaves to fully utilize the nutrients in fertilizer and using it
now will only encourage algae, bacteria and fungus to grow on and in
the soil. Place your newly potted and freshly watered Amaryllis bulb in
a warm location. It doesn't even have to be in light or where you're
going to eventually be growing your plant. The moist warm conditions
will encourage your bulb to "wake up" and start growing. At this point,
we are trusting the bulb has completed it's dormancy cycle and is
ready to grow. Some bulbs are reluctant to "wake up" because they
have been pushed into an unnatural bloom cycle. This is most often
the case when we receive Amaryllis bulbs as presents at Christmas
time. These bulbs have been forced into dormancy back in August, by
being dried out and chilled. We always wait for our bulbs to tell us
they are ready to wake up. This is evident by new growth (either
leaves or the tip of the bloom) poking up out of the top of the bulb.
Once new growth has poked its way out of the top of the bulb, move
the potted bulb to a location where it will remain warm and receive the
proper amount of light.
Water sparingly until there is good leaf growth. Some Amaryllis
produce leaves and then flower spikes. Others produce flower spikes
and then leaves. It's the leaf growth you're looking for, to increase your
Your Amaryllis plant will take up water through its roots which are
produced at the base of the bulb. The water is then transported into
the growing portion of the plant where it is used in transpiration and
photosynthesis (the process of breathing and making food from
sunlight). Very little transpiration and photosynthesis is produced in
the flower stalk or flowers, compared to that done by the leaves.
Without much transpiration and photosynthesis, the Amaryllis plant
needs little water. That's why it's the leaves we look at when
increasing the amount of watering.
If you aren't sure whether to water or not, error on the dry side. Wait a
day or two before you water. Your Amaryllis bulb contains plenty of
water to sustain itself until it's next watering. You'll notice that once
you have several mature pairs of leaves on your plant, your potting
mix will go dry faster and you'll need to water more often.
When initiating new growth, we allow the potting mix to grow almost
dry before we water again.
The transition between keeping the mix semi-dry and constantly
moist will depend on how fast the plant sends up leaves. For some,
that can be a couple of months, for others it can be only a matter of a
couple of weeks.
If you received your plant in bud or in bloom, your watering will also be
dependant on how much leaf growth there is. Luckily you don't have to
worry about breaking dormancy, because that has already been done
for you. Use the same guidelines as outlined above for how often you
need to water.