Amaryllis may be purchased as bare or planted bulbs, and are prized for their exotic trumpet-shaped flowers born on 1- to 2-foot leafless stalks or scapes. They add dramatic color to homes and gardens and make wonderful gifts to gardeners from beginners to experts.
Native to Africa, the genus Amaryllis comes from the Greek word amarysso, which means “to sparkle.” Bulbs were brought to Europe in the 1700s and have been known to bloom for up to 75 years. However, the amaryllis bulbs we commonly purchase and grow as houseplants are hybrids of the genus Hippeastrum and are native to Central and South America.
Soak the amaryllis bulbs for a few hours to help rehydrate the roots and speed up the growth process. Fill a pot with compost and sit the bulb on top – don’t use a pot that’s too big: amaryllis do best when pot bound. Top up with compost and water well. Leave your amaryllis bulb in a warm, dark place for a couple of weeks and and then bring inside when a shoot emerges. Expect flowers in six to eight weeks.