Pottering with Amaryllis
There are few things more rewarding (not to mention educational) for children than growing their own amaryllis bulb. And you can do it just in time for Christmas too!
What you’ll need:
- Amaryllis bulb (plant your bulb as soon as you purchase it!)
- Pot/container with a drainage hole (not plastic)
- Potting soil
Picking out your amaryllis bulb and pot should be done at the same time because the bulbs can vary in size quite drastically. Once you’ve decided which one you’ll be planting, pick a pot that is 3-5cm wider than the diameter of the bulb and that will allow about the same amount of space below the bulb once planted.
It’s important to understand that amaryllis bulbs don’t only need enough space in their pot, but that they are also top heavy when in bloom so the bigger the bulb, the heavier the pot should be to avoid it toppling over later on. Plastic pots are a definite no-no.
Don’t forget to pick up some potting soil while you’re shopping. It is preferable to select a soil that drains well, is light, nutritious and contains no tree bark or fresh manure. Indoor potting soil normally fits these criteria quite nicely.
Grab your amaryllis bulb, pot and potting soil and let’s get started. Amaryllis bulbs have quite impressive roots hanging off the bottom of them so it should be easy to see which side goes into the pot. Let the roots hang down into the pot while you use a spade to pour soil in around them.
Remove any air pockets around the roots by patting down the soil very firmly, securing the bulb snugly so it won’t lean over to one side when the heavy flowers start blooming.
An essential part of planting an amaryllis bulb is to remember not to plant it too deeply. When you’ve finished planting you should be able to see one-third of the actual bulb above the soil, with the top portion of the bulb sitting above the rim of the pot.
Once you’re done planting, give the bulb a good watering and pat the soil down again, making sure it’s compacted nicely.
Pop your pot in a well-lit, warm spot and you should see it flourishing almost immediately! Make sure the light is natural but not direct sunlight. If you can manage to keep the conditions around 20°C the bulb will be delighted and you’ll be rewarded with quick growth.
Care and Maintenance
- NB: Only water your amaryllis for the second time about seven days after planting it, as this will encourage new root formation.
- Use lukewarm water when necessary for watering, but remember to pour it around the bulb and not on the actual bulb. Only keep the soil slightly moist, as overwatering can be detrimental to root formation.
- If you have a saucer under your pot, tip out the excess water.
- Once your flower stem has grown out from the bulb you can water more frequently. Within 6-7 weeks your amaryllis should be flowering.