3 Things to Know Before Buying Amaryllis Bulbs

Questions to ask when shopping for Amaryllis Bulbs

Are the Bulbs of Good Quality?

While you can find amaryllis bulbs at big box stores, home goods retailers and even at the hardware store, these are rarely top-quality. Amaryllis are live, perishable products. To avoid drying up/rotting/sprouting premature, bulbs need to be kept in dark, temperature- and humidity- controlled settings. 

Good quality amaryllis bulbs are:

  • Firm and not shriveled 
  • Large and heavy for their size
  • Sprout free or just beginning to develop a sprout
  • Still wearing at least part of their papery skin (it helps protect from drying). This skin will sometime shed very late in the season (Jan-Feb).

How Big Are the Bulbs I'm Getting?

Bulbs forced indoors on a windowsill draw sustenance from the resources tucked under those papery skins. The plant relies on energy stored inside the bulb and bigger bulbs have more storage space. Generous amount of energy, ie. food for the plant, translates into multiple flowers stalks and more blooms per stalk. That's why bigger bulbs are better.

Size matters. Here's what to look for in amaryllis bulbs:

  • Standard large flowering amaryllis: 28 to 32cm in circumference
  • Cybister and exotic amaryllis: 24 to 28cm in circumference
  • As reference, a tennis ball is 21cm in circumference. (An amaryllis bulb, for a non-exotic variety, that's the size of a tennis ball qualifies as a runt.)

Is the Seller Reliable?

This is where you can tap into the experiences of others. To start, try Googling “(company name) reviews”. Be cautious about using just the Google Ratings (stars) that are displayed on ads. These primarily rate speed of delivery, which is important, but far from the whole story with plants.

For gardening companies, there’s another source of information: Garden Watchdog. This is an easy way to discover that there are some companies (often heavy advertisers) that you may not want to do business with. Check Garden Watchdog for lots customer comments and reviews, along with other useful information.

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