Skip to main content

Plant of the week: Amaryllis, a festive, flowering bulb

As winter comes around, many of our lovely plants and flowers are beginning to die off. Often gardeners will spend their winters dreaming of, planning, and preparing for their next season’s garden. However, there’s one flowering bulb that has something to offer as late into winter as January! The amaryllis plant is a bright and brilliant flowering bulb that can bring a bit of spring cheer even in the dead of winter. These plants are often gifted during the holiday season and are a great way to brighten someone’s winter or start their new year with a beautiful red flower.

So how do you care for this plant to ensure it can keep providing you with stunning flowers year after year?

amaryllis flower close up
Image used with permission by copyright holder

What is an amaryllis?

The amaryllis plant is a bulb flower that often blooms sometime in January. The name amaryllis is Greek and is a female name that means “to sparkle” because these flowers appear to sparkle when you see them. The most common colors found in the amaryllis bloom are white and red, but they also can be found in pink, orange, yellow, and even purple. The history of this pretty flower is as old as ancient Greek mythology. According to this mythology, the amaryllis originally comes from a beautiful maiden named Amaryllis’s love for the shepherd, Alteo. It’s also known in history as being associated with strength and determination or success. This might be why they’re often given as gifts after someone has a hard-won achievement.

woman preparing to care for plants
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Care tips for amaryllis

With a little bit of love and care, the amaryllis plant can give you stunning blooms year after year. So whether you received it as a gift or you’re thinking of getting one for yourself, here are the best ways to care for this sparkly flowering plant.


While the amaryllis is growing and blooming, it likes to stay moist. This might mean you’ll have to water it weekly during the winter bloom since the furnace air is dry and will likely dry the plant out more quickly. However, once the plant is finished blooming, you’ll want to spread out waterings and allow the soil to dry out a bit.


These flowering plants love bright indirect light. Find a window sill or tabletop that provides the leaves with bright filtered light to keep this plant happy. You might find that a window with sheer curtains works best.


There are a lot of fertilizers out there, and it can get pretty confusing to know which one to use. However, you can keep it simple by finding an organic fertilizer that is optimized for bulb plants. This will provide the amaryllis with precisely what it needs to grow big, colorful, beautiful blooms.


Amaryllis prefer a warmer climate — somewhere between 70 and 75 degrees is best. However, to encourage the plant to go into the dormant period, it needs to be exposed to temperatures around 50 to 55 degrees for a minimum of eight weeks.


The amaryllis plant is toxic to pets and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, excessive drooling, and tremors. It’s also toxic for humans, but most institutions consider it only harmful if large quantities are ingested. Eating an amaryllis bulb might cause nausea, vomiting, salivation, and diarrhea.

Additional care

Sometimes an amaryllis plant might need a bit of extra support with the help of a stick. Additionally, to reduce the risk of falling over, you should turn the pot occasionally so the plant can grow straight. You can also plant it in a deep and heavy pot to ensure the top-heavy plant doesn’t topple over.

Whether you plan on giving this plant as a gift, you’ve received it as a gift, or you found one at your local plant shop, knowing how to properly care for it will allow you to grow and enjoy this plant for years to come. So if you plan to give it as a gift, maybe include care instructions for whoever you’re giving it to. That way, they can enjoy those sparkly flowers and think of you.

Editors' Recommendations

Rebecca Wolken
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Rebecca's has written for Bob Villa and a Cincinnati based remodeling company. When she's not writing about home remodeling…
Plants don’t have to be difficult to propagate — these are the easiest to start
The easiest propagation methods for beginners
Mother of thousands plant with plantlets

Propagating plants is one of the easiest ways to get new plants for your garden. You can propagate a plant you already have, or exchange plant cuttings with friends and neighbors to get new plants. Depending on where you live, you might even be allowed to take cuttings from local public areas. There are a variety of ways to propagate plants, too! Although turning one plant into two can seem daunting, there are actually many beginner-friendly propagation methods and plants. So if you’re curious about propagation and are looking for easy plants to propagate, here is what you need to know.

Select the plant you want to propagate
Before you can propagate a plant, you need to have a plant to propagate from. Here’s what to look for when selecting the plant itself.

Read more
A guide to growing rosemary indoors from seed to spice up your dishes
Tips for a delicious rosemary harvest
Potted rosemary plants on a table

Many herbs can grow indoors under the right conditions. Rosemary belongs to this lot. The easiest way to do it is to purchase existing seedlings and repot them at home, leaving them with room to grow. Because of that, many people don’t readily know how to grow rosemary from seed — at least indoors and in a way that will help the plant thrive.

Some of the most important questions to keep in mind when growing rosemary indoors from seed are: What kind of soil does rosemary like? How do I care for my indoor rosemary? By answering those queries, we’ll help you grow successful rosemary plants.

Read more
The 8 best plants to grow in a hydroponic garden
Your hydroponic garden will benefit from these plants
Herbs rooted in water

If you’ve ever wondered whether there was a way to make indoor gardening less messy, hydroponics may be the way to go! Indoor hydroponic gardens can help make fall and winter gardening more uniform, and you can grow almost anything you can think of. Hydroponic gardens are a great way to extend the growing season, providing fresh food through fall and winter.

Which plants should you grow in yours? Some plants are better suited for hydroponics than others, though, and there are even some varieties within different plant species that grow better than others. These are the best plants for hydroponics, so you can start your garden out right.

Read more