Amaryllis in Time for the Holiday

Amaryllis in Time for the Holiday

Amaryllis are especially popular during the Christmas holidays but many people are intimidated by them. It shouldn’t be so. Although Christmas is weeks away, now is the time to purchase Amaryllis so that they are in full bloom my the holiday. The blooms will last through the holidays with simple care. I thought it would be fun to look at how to grow them, a bit about their history and how to use them in holiday decor. Next to Poinsettia, few flowers have the visual impact during the holidays as Amaryllis can have. Even a single flower set on an entryway table can have considerable visual impact. There are so many different colors and types of Amaryllis available that you would be hard pressed not to find a variety to fall in love with.

Even though today the majority of Amaryllis come from Holland and South Africa, they are native to South America. It is believed that the Portuguese were responsible for bringing the bulbs from South America to Europe in the 16th century. The spread of the bulbs to places as far flung as Madeira and the Canary Islands has lead experts to believe the spread of the bulb throughout the world followed or maybe even paralleled the history of the sugar cane trade. The name Amaryllis comes from the Greek and means “to sparkle”.

Right now you can get the bulbs, bare root or already planted for you and have them flowering by the holidays. They prefer 68-70 degree temperatures and bright light. Once the flowers open, keep them out of direct light to prolong blooming time and keep the flowers from prematurely fading.


This is what the bulb looks like. The size will vary. The older the bulb the bigger the blooms.                   

This is what they look like as the stem breaks out of the bulb.

The final height will vary depending on the variety, anywhere from less than 12 inches to more than two feet.

Because one single stalk, like this one, can have many flower heads on it, they sometimes have to be staked. There are simple bulb stakes available at most garden centers for less than a couple of dollars.

Such big impact from an easy to grow holiday flower bulb. Children especially enjoy watching these grow.

Closer up we see that these flowers have been cut and placed in a vase where they are less likely to tip over.

Lets look a some photos of the many colors available.

These are a variety that is a cross of the spider amaryllis and the amaryllis we usually think of.

Now let’s see how you might consider the many ways to display them in holiday decor.


I love how the red pops against the cobalt blue and the blue and white export porcelain. I usually place my amaryllis and poinsettia in some of my blue and white porcelain.

This is probably one of the most interesting presentations I have seen, and I like it a lot. Rustic and sophisticated all at the same time.

Here designer Bunny Williams paired a bird cage with holiday greenery, green glass xmas bulbs and white amaryllis for a beautiful vignette.

A simple but elegant bouquet of a variety of colors is simply elegant.

You can underplant with pine cones, and boxwood cuttings like here, or anything that you have…..moss, small glass xmas bulbs, glass pebbles. Anything your imagination can think of.

When the flower blooms have faded, you can remove the stalk a few inches above the bulb. Return the pot to a sunny location to help promote healthy leaves, which will supply the bulb with food for next years flowers. Keep watering and fertilizing  with a water soluble fertilizer. Some varieties are evergreen, and some loose their leaves, but in any case they will revert to their natural blooming time, which is in May to June. This is when you can allow them to bloom or place them in the garden outdoors. Amaryllis can also be grown in pebbles and water like many spring bulbs. For detailed growing and general care information  I recommend White Flower Farm’s advice. Click here.

Thanks for reading. Laters,  charisse







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