Our Favourite Amaryllis Varieties and How to Force Them.

At Mother Nature, a telltale sign we’re heading into the holiday season is when the amaryllis bulbs start to appear on our shelves! With dramatic, lily-like flowers in white, deep pink, red, or striped red and white, these amaryllis varieties fit perfectly into Christmas decor. And with the flowers blooming four to six weeks after you plant the bulbs, November is the perfect time to start them so you can enjoy the flowers over the holidays.


While the original habitat of amaryllises was mostly tropical, they’ve become a winter favourite in North America because they grow fast, bloom indoors, and need very little care. Amaryllis bulbs can even grow without soil, and waxed amaryllis bulbs can grow without soil or water!

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Here are our favourite amaryllises to force this year: the Santa’s Reindeer varieties we brought in for the holidays and waxed amaryllis bulbs in festive red, gold, silver, and bronze. Keep reading to find out how to grow them indoors this season!

 

Santa’s Reindeer Amaryllis Varieties

This year, we’re carrying Dancer, Prancer, Comet, Cupid, and Rudolph. All these varieties reach a height of about 45 cm (18 inches), and the six-petalled flowers are roughly the size of your fist.

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Dancer

Dancer is a pristine white flower. Looking much like a white lily with wide petals, Dancer shows why amaryllises are sometimes confused with lilies although they’re a completely different type of plant.

 

Prancer

Each petal of the red and white Prancer flower features two red stripes like candle flames. The stripes blaze over the white backdrop of the rest of the petal.

 

Comet

Like Prancer, Comet is red and white, but the stripe pattern is quite different. On each petal, one white, straw-shaped stripe travels out from the centre of the flower and then fades into a wash of deep pink and red hues.

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Cupid

Cupid catches your eye with hot pink petals! This candy coloured beauty will bring a cheerful, tropical vibe to your home decor, if you’re growing a little tired of the classic Christmas colour palette and have been dreaming of a wintertime getaway. 

 

Rudolph

Like the reindeer, the Rudolph amaryllis is a beacon of bright red. The shade is similar to the red poppy, or the ever popular holiday poinsettia.

 

How to Care for Amaryllis Bulbs

Amaryllis can survive with partial access to sunlight, but the more sun it gets, the better. For the best blooms, choose a sunny location for your bulb, like a south-facing window. 

 

You can grow your amaryllis bulb in soil or just water. And if you want to, you can keep them alive for years. You can read our blog on how to get your amaryllis to rebloom for detailed advice on long-term care, or keep reading for quick instructions on how to grow amaryllis in soil or water.

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How to Grow Amaryllis in Soil

  1. Choose a pot with large drainage holes so excess water can drain out.
  2. Fill the pot with well-draining soil.
  3. Plant the bulb in the soil, covering only the bottom 1/2 or 1/3 of it.
  4. Give it a good soak—enough water that some drains out of the pot.
  5. Put the pot in a sunny location, and wait for green shoots. Don’t water it again until the shoots pop up.
  6. Once you see green shoots, water whenever the surface of the soil is dry. Turn the pot every few days so that your amaryllis grows straight instead of leaning crookedly towards the sun.
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How to Grow Amaryllis in Water

  1. Choose a vase. You can even get a vase designed specifically for amaryllis bulbs.
  2. Fill the bottom of your vase with 5-10 cm (2-4 inches) of pebbles or marbles.
  3. Gently set your amaryllis bulb on top of the pebbles.
  4. Slowly pour water into the vase to just below the bottom of the bulb, barely touching the roots.
  5. Put the vase in a sunny location. Pretty soon, you’ll see the roots growing down into the pebbles and stabilizing the amaryllis as it grows.
  6. Whenever needed, top up the water level, so it stays just below the bottom of the bulb. Turn the vase every few days so that your amaryllis grows straight.
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Waxed Amaryllis Bulbs

If you’d like a Christmas amaryllis that’s even easier to take care of, the easiest of all is a waxed bulb. Waxed bulbs don’t need soil or water because they contain all the nutrients they need to grow, and the wax coating keeps them from drying out. All they need is a vase, a pretty container, or even just a countertop in a sunny spot. Plus, the bulbs’ gorgeous red, gold, silver, or bronze-coloured wax coatings mean they look lovely nestled among your holiday decor!

 

The blooms of these waxed bulbs are a bit of a surprise each time because we don’t always know which varieties they are. Fortunately, every variety of amaryllis is striking and beautiful, so in all likelihood, you’ll be delighted by what pops up! These beauties are perfect for those who love colourful surprises, can’t decide what to pick, or for gifting to someone special!

Ready to branch out from the poinsettia and try other Christmas houseplants? Come by our garden centre to pick up your amaryllis and get more inspiration for the holidays!