How to Grow Amaryllis to Bloom for Christmas Every Year

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Learning how to grow amaryllis is easy!

Amaryllis is a flowering tropical plant that grows from a bulb.

They have become synonymous with the Christmas season because when grown as a houseplant, they bloom in November and December.

Red Amaryllis in Bloom against violet background

Their large trumpet flowers make them a gorgeous addition to a home’s Christmas décor.

Because they are so easy to grow, they make a great hostess gift or present for your favorite gardener.

Learn how to grow amaryllis by following these easy steps and you can grow plenty for your own decorating and gift-giving!

You have all these plant babies, how do you keep them beautiful and healthy?


Growing Amaryllis

In northern climates, amaryllis plants are strictly a houseplant in the winter months but can be placed outside during the summer months.

Southern U.S. zones 9-11 can grow them outside year-round.

However, they will bloom in spring.

In order to grow amaryllis to bloom for Christmas, follow the growing schedule outlined below.

How to Select an Amaryllis Bulb

Amaryllis bulbs are sold in the fall.

At this time they are dormant, meaning they don’t have any leaves or active growth.

Dormant Amaryllis Bulb
Dormant Amaryllis Bulb

Look for bulbs that are clean and dry with lots of roots coming out of the base.

If ordering online, purchase from a reputable bulb supplier that has favorable reviews.

It is best to buy bulbs that are a minimum of 24 cm.

These will have 1-2 flower stalks with several blooms on each.

Bulbs that are larger (34 cm) will produce 2-4 flower stalks with several blooms on each stalk.

The larger the bulb size, the more flower stalks, and the more blooms.

Red and white Bi- Color Amaryllis
Red and White Bi-Color Amaryllis

Amaryllis bulbs are available in many colors- white, pink, peach, red, and bi-colors.

The flowers can be single (a single set of petals) or double (several sets of petals to create a ruffled or fuller appearance).

There are many varieties to select from which can make them addicting!

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Waxed Amaryllis Bulbs

In recent years, amaryllis bulbs have been made available that are coated in decorative wax.

These are “one-time-use” bulbs.

The idea is that sealing the bulb with wax prevents moisture loss and the bulb will be able to bloom one time without any additional water or soil.

They can sit on a desk or table as is and will bloom. It’s kinda cool.

These are sold at a premium price for consumers that like plants but perhaps don’t have a green thumb or simply like the novelty of it.

Note that a waxed amaryllis bulb can be planted after it blooms (remove the wax first), but it’s highly likely that it won’t be a viable plant.

Amaryllis bulb in wax

Selecting A Container

Select a container that will fit the size and number of bulbs you are planting.

Amaryllis flower stalks can grow to 12-24” high, so a deeper pot will help provide stability to the plant.

I recommend a clay or ceramic pot to also provide weight. Be creative too.

There are so many beautiful containers available to add to your home’s décor.

It is always best to use a container with drain holes so that excess water doesn’t sit in the soil.

Amaryllis bulbs do not like to be overwatered or sit in wet soil.

This will lead to rot and is the quickest way to have problems with an amaryllis.

How to Plant An Amaryllis to Bloom for Christmas

It generally takes 4-6 weeks for blooms to emerge, so in order to have plants blooming during the holiday season, plant the bulbs in late October and early November.

To have plants blooming at different times throughout the Christmas season, plant a few bulbs each week in late October through early November.

This is a better approach than planting a large number of bulbs all at once.

When planting amaryllis in a container, use a soil mix that is designed for indoor containers.

Plant the bulbs pointed side up, to a depth that the neck of the bulb is just at the soil surface.

The bulb does not need to be buried deeply in the pot.

Actually, it doesn’t harm it to be slightly exposed above the soil surface.

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Decorating & Finishing

After planting, water so that the soil is moistened.

I like to add a bit of green sheet moss to cover the soil.

This creates a finished look and makes the plant look like it came from a florist or high-end greenhouse.

Feel free to add a bow or other decoration to make it festive and tie in with your home decor.

Place the pot in an area as you would other houseplants.

Amaryllis like bright light so place it near a window or in a room that has a lot of artificial light.


Amaryllis plants growing in window sill

Maintaining an Amaryllis

The best way to determine if it needs water is to place your finger about an inch in the soil.

If it is dry, add water.

As noted earlier, amaryllis bulbs will rot if they are too wet, so err on the side of caution when watering.

On occasion, flower stalks grow tall and require staking.

Floral stakes are available to make this easy, but a simple twig and a piece of twine will do the trick.

As the flowers fade, simply snip them off at the base with scissors or pruners.

This will prevent seeds from forming and force the plant to put its energy back into the bulb for next year’s bulb.

After all of the flowers have bloomed, the entire stalk can be removed at the base of the plant.

What to Do With An Amaryllis When It’s Done Flowering

At this point, some gardeners find the amaryllis disposable and decide not to keep it in their houseplant collection.

Others enjoy keeping it for the tropical foliage throughout the spring and summer.

Continue to water it as needed and fertilize it with an all-purpose plant food 1-2 times per month.

The amaryllis does need a rest period for 6-8 weeks in late summer to prepare it for another blooming cycle.

This process begins in late August.

Begin by removing any brown or yellow leaves and watering it.

The important step is to place it in a cool (45-55 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal) dark location (like a basement or root cellar) until late October.

The plant will dry out and the leaves will die, but that is exactly what is supposed to happen.

Don’t be tempted to water the plant during this time, it will disrupt the rest cycle and it won’t flower!

Some gardeners prefer to remove the bulb from the pot and allow it to go dormant without any soil on the roots.

This method will work as well.

It is simply a matter of preference.

However, the bulb will need to be re-potted again in late October, so keeping it in the pot eliminates a step.

Once you learn how to grow amaryllis, you will be amazed at how easy it is to create beautiful plants for your Christmas decorations as well as gifts for friends and family.

I hope you will explore all the different varieties and enjoy the beauty they can bring to your home this Christmas and for years to come.

Pinterest Pin Photo of Burgundy Amaryllis flowers with text overlay: How to Grow Amaryllis to Bloom for Christmas

18 thoughts on “How to Grow Amaryllis to Bloom for Christmas Every Year”

  1. Hi Shannon, I too live in Montana. I have one amaryllis plant that is growing the tall spikey type leaves great, in fact they are falling over and right now the poor plant looks pretty pathetic. I need to repot I think and stake better. I just brought the plant in from the deck a week or so ago. However I did not read this until today and have watered it darnit. If I make it go dormant now, is that okay to get it to flower later, after Christmas? And then next year put it away at the end of August. So I just set the whole plant, leaves and all in a cool dark place and not water for 6-8 weeks?

    • Hi Lexie, absolutely! Yes, you can set the plant in the cool, dark location now. I leave mine in the same pot. Best wishes! -Shannon

  2. Great information. I got my first plant for Christmas last year in wax. It is going on its 3rd bloom cycle now in mid-March. I did leave one of the stocks with seeds because I was afraid if I cut it thinking it would loose too much water. Question is can I plant the seeds? Otherwise i will buy bulbs for gifts next year. I absolutely love my Amaryllis!

    • Hi Connie, Yes, you can plant the seeds. They must stay moist to germinate and may take 3-4 weeks to germinate. It may take the seedlings 3-4 years to get to the bulb size that it will bloom so this will require patience! This is how new varieties are developed! Good luck! Sincerely, Shannon

  3. I live in Southeast Florida and I have 2 big pots of amaryllis bulbs (7-8 bulbs in each pot and I think they multiply?). For over 10 years they have been practically ignored, except when they bloom early summer! I went to your site to see if their new location (under a 24hr porch light) would prevent them from blooming.

    • Hi Barbara, I’m not aware of any research on this. Amaryllis will bloom whether they have long or short daylight periods, but most plants prefer natural day and night cycles for overall health. Best wishes! -Shannon

  4. Shannon,
    Help! I have nowhere to put the bulbs to get the 45 – 55 temp. I live in zone 8b, upstate SC. The coolest would be just household AC which stays at 76.

    Any suggestions?

    • Hi Jim, This is a challenging situation! Here are a few ideas: if you have an extra refrigerator that isn’t used for fruits or vegetables (the ethylene gas produced by these will harm the flower in the bulb) you can store it there to create the dormant, cool period; if that’s not possible you may just need to buy new bulbs every fall so that they will bloom for Christmas, after that they can be houseplants that bloom in the spring/summer. Best wishes! Shannon

  5. Hey! Thanks for such great info! We live on the border of Zones 7 and 8 in southeast Virginia. I’m worried we won’t get temps below 55 for long enough for a true dormancy period and a Christmas bloom, as late August/early September are still quite warm. No cellars here since we’re too close to sea level! Any suggestions?

    • Hi Kathryn, This is a challenge! If you by chance know of someone that has an extra refrigerator keeping it in there is an option, however, there can’t be fruits or vegetables stored in it as the ethylene produced will damage the flower in the Amaryllis bulb. Another option is to forgo the Christmas bloom time and just keep the Amaryllis as a year-round houseplant. The bulb won’t last forever, but you will see multiple blooms per year. Best wishes! -Shannon

  6. If I remove the bulb after it flowers and allow it to dry, can I store it in the refrigerator?

    • Hi Bea, I don’t recommend it unless you have a spare refrigerator that you don’t use for food. The ethelyn gas that fruits and vegetables produce can damage the bulb and it won’t flower. Best wishes! -Shannon

  7. Thanks for this article! One interesting note: I received a wax covered bulb last year and after the flowers died I removed the wax and planted the bulb. It is growing very well with many long leaves. So far it’s a viable plant. I will follow your tips to getting it to bloom again and hopefully keep having luck with this bulb. Thank you!

      • I have two amaryllis plants from last Christmas. I have had them outside all summer, their foliage is beautiful. However I am afraid I may have over watered, and I have not fertilized them.
        I am going to try to bring them back in to flower this Christmas.
        I live in Montana, any suggestions?
        Just found your site…..wonderful.


        • Hi Charlene, I am so glad you found the site helpful! The secret to getting the Amaryllis to bloom again is the dormancy period and getting the temperature as close to 45-55 degrees. If you have a basement or root cellar that is usually the best spot. Without getting to that temperature, it may not work! If the foliage looks good on your plants, you probably haven’t overwatered them and they have done well without fertilizer, so no worries with that. Just focus on the dormancy period and they should be fine! Best wishes! -Shannon


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