How to Know When Amaryllis Bulbs Will Flower
If you have purchased amaryllis bulbs and are wondering when they will bloom, read on! Watching and waiting is all part of the fun, but this post will give you some idea of what to expect.
There are at least three variables that influence amaryllis bloom time. It’s a combination of where the bulb was produced, when you plant it and which variety you are growing.
The Importance of Bulb Origin
Most of the amaryllis sold in the U.S. are produced in Holland or Israel. Growers harvest the bulbs in late summer, cure them for several weeks and then ship them to the U.S. They are usually available for sale from mid-October through January, and their natural bloom time is January-March.
Amaryllis bulbs are also produced in Brazil, Peru and South Africa. Bulbs grown in the southern hemisphere are harvested several months earlier and typically come into bloom more quickly. If you get these bulbs planted by late October, they will usually flower in December.
When to Plant Amaryllis Bulbs
If you purchase bulbs that have already begun to sprout, plant them right away (get planting tips HERE). If the bulbs are still dormant (no sign of sprouting), they can be planted immediately, or you can store them for several months in a cool, dry, dark place. The sooner a dormant bulb is planted and exposed to moisture and light, the sooner it will break dormancy and start growing.
If you buy a number of amaryllis bulbs, you don’t need to plant them all at once. Store some of the dormant bulbs in a cool, dry, dark place and plant them few weeks later to stagger the bloom time. You can figure 6 to 10 weeks from the time you plant to the first flowers. As the winter progresses, the wait time gets shorter because the bulbs are more eager to bloom.
Each Variety and Each Bulb Behaves a Bit Differently
Every variety of amaryllis has a slightly different natural dormancy period. Dormancy can also be affected by storage temperature and humidity.
Generally speaking, amaryllis can be divided into early, mid and late season bloomers. Varieties with a relatively short dormancy period include amaryllis Minerva, Rosy Star, Sweet Nymph and Evergreen. The varieties Appleblossom, Splash, Double King, Cherry Nymph, Exotica and White Nymph are considered midseason bloomers. Late bloomers include Red Pearl, Red Lion, Spartacus, Amorice, Christmas Gift, Nymph and Lagoon.
Anticipation and surprise are all part of the fun of growing an amaryllis. With these tips in mind, and an assortment of different varieties in hand, you can count on amaryllis to fill your home with fresh flowers all winter long.