How to Grow Big, Beautiful Amaryllis

Start with Large Amaryllis Bulbs

The stored energy inside your amaryllis bulb creates the flower display you love. Small bulbs deliver a small display, with one stem and a few blooms. Or sometimes only foliage. Large bulbs typically produce multiple stems and more flowers. In this case, more is better.

Bulbs measuring 28-32cm around are nice, big bulbs. Shoot for this size. Here's a visual reference with a regulation size baseball.  Amaryllis bulb size reference If you find ones that are larger, at a decent price, snag them. You'll congratulate yourself later. 

A tennis ball is 21cm around. An amaryllis bulb the size of a tennis ball is undersized. Avoid it; don't set yourself up for disappointment. (Big box stores, looking at you . . .)

Note: a few types of amaryllis mature to smaller bulbs. These include Papillio/Butterfly amaryllis (the only oval bulbs in the group) and many of the cybister or spider amaryllis. These typically produce bulbs around 24-26cm, no matter how well they are grown.

Plant According to Our Guide

Here’s a planting guide that provides all the information you’ll need to get your amaryllis off to a great start. What size pot? How deep to plant? It’s all here: Amaryllis Planting Guide

How Much Water Does My Amaryllis Need?

When your amaryllis is first planted, it needs just a nudge of moisture to wake it from dormancy and encourage growth.  Early on, there are no leaves, stems or flowers and so the plant requires little moisture. Be a bit more generous with water as the plant develops foliage. Shoot for soil that’s very lightly moist, not wet. If in doubt, error on the side of too little water.

Amaryllis trio growing on windowsill

This is a case where more is not better. Too much water leads to wet soil and rotted bulbs.

What’s the Best Way to Encourage Straight Stems?

Amaryllis stalks tend to grow towards the sun, sometimes resulting in curved stems. To avoid this, just quarter turn the pot every few days. Easy, peasy.

Should I Fertilize My Amaryllis?

Nope. Everything your amaryllis needs to grow, flower and be gorgeous is tucked inside the bulb. We don't recommend adding fertilizer. No need to complicate things.

My Amaryllis is Very Tall; What's Up with That?

When growing plants don’t get as much sunlight as they need, the result is often a tall, stretched out profile. This is true of amaryllis. While the plant will still flower beautifully in most cases, you’ll probably want to add some support to avoid having the large, weighty blooms tip the plant over. It's remarkable how full the clusters of four to six large flowers can become.

Pink Flowering Amaryllis Pinkollo

Amaryllis Foliage; Before, With or After the Flowers - Why?

The growth rate of amaryllis foliage varies with cultural conditions, variety and even the individual plant. Don't worry if your plant's leaves choose to appear earlier or later than the flowers. Variation is normal.

My Friend Said I Can Plant Amaryllis Outside. True? 

Yes! If you live in Texas, southern California or another place where the soil doesn't freeze in winter, amaryllis make stellar garden plants. Growing into huge, traffic-stopping multi-bulb clumps, these flower each spring, year after year, with wild abandon.