With the hauntings of Halloween now in our rearview mirror, the shift to the holiday mindset is well underway. The store shelves have switched from candy and costumes to garlands and greenery, and the desire to deck our halls is growing ever more pressing. And, of course, along with wreaths, holly, and mistletoe, comes another holiday plant we just can’t get enough of at this time of year—amaryllis.
The Attraction of the Amazing Amaryllis
When the weather outside is frightful, and our flourishing gardens have faded away, we find ourselves craving more color than just the holiday greenery in our homes—which is why amaryllis bulbs have grown in popularity. Their amazing ability to grow well indoors throughout the cold winter months has earned them quite a reputation amongst green and black thumbs alike, making them one of the most popular gifting plants around!
Of course, their ease of care isn’t the only thing that makes amaryllis bulbs so incredibly popular, both as gifts and holiday houseplants. They’re also unbelievably beautiful! With dazzling, star-shaped blooms that come in a sensational spectrum of colors, they’re a captivating way to bring color to your home when the world is coated in white. Best of all—with the right care, they can even last for years (which is more than can be said about that gift card you were thinking of getting instead)!
How to Plant Amaryllis in Water
While amaryllis bulbs are traditionally best grown in pots of soil, they can also be grown quite easily in just about any vase for a minimal, modern look that requires very little care. Here’s how to plant an amaryllis bulb in water:
- A clear vase or glass container - wide enough to fit your amaryllis bulb
- Some pebbles, gravel, stones, seashells, or marbles - whichever you prefer to fit your aesthetic
To begin, you’ll want to make sure that your vase or container is clean and free from any harmful bacteria that could prevent your amaryllis bulb from blooming as enthusiastically as possible. Wash the vase out with soap and rinse thoroughly. Depending on where you got them from, you may also want to rinse your pebbles, gravel, stones, seashells, or marbles.
Once everything is clean, pour about 3-4 inches of pebbles, stones, gravel, seashells, or marbles into the vase or container, filling it to about ¾ of the way full. Then, take your amaryllis bulb and center it on top with the pointy end up, and add a few more pebbles, stones, gravel, seashells, or marbles around it to keep it stable. Don’t cover the bulb entirely—only use as much as it takes to keep the bulb upright.
With your amaryllis bulb now stable, you can begin adding the water, which will trigger it to bloom. Pour the water into the vase until the water line is just below the bulb, but not touching it. This is where having a clear container is critical. We want the roots to be able to reach the water and bring it up to the bulb. But, if the bulb itself becomes submerged at all, we run the risk of causing it to rot. So, always make sure your water line falls just below your bulb to keep that from happening.
And that’s it! With just a few pebbles and some water, you can consider your amaryllis bulb planted—no dirt under the fingernails required.
Caring for Amaryllis Growing in Water
To ensure your amaryllis bulb blooms as beautifully as possible, you’ll want to place it on a sunny windowsill where it can soak up as much vitamin D as it can throughout the day. This can lead to longer stems, however. To keep them shorter, try growing them under a grow light or a cool LED light source about 12” above the bulb. This close, intense light keeps them shorter and more manageable. You’ll also want to make sure it isn’t getting too much of a draft. A cold amaryllis bulb is one that won’t bloom, so ensure that the temperatures around it stay between 60-75 degrees for flowering.
Throughout the growing period, your amaryllis bulb will need a regular water top-up. Keep an eye on the water levels throughout the season and add more as needed, never letting the levels rise to touch the bulb. You should begin to see blooms in about 6-8 weeks.
Amaryllis bulbs will only bloom once in water. If you’re hoping to prolong the life of your amaryllis bulb after flowering, you’ll want to transplant it into a pot with soil—planting it just below the soil surface, leaving the neck exposed. Otherwise, you can simply dispose of the bulb, as it won’t do you any good a second time around in the water.
If growing an amaryllis bulb is on your holiday checklist this year, why not give water planting a go? This unique medium will allow you not only to enjoy the beautiful blooms, but also the under-the-surface inner workings that are usually hidden by the soil. Plus, you can customize your aesthetic with pebbles, stones, gravel, or marbles in any color and style you like—a perfect pairing for any personality!
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