Amaryllis, Queen of the Forced Bulbs

This time of year, you can buy amaryllis just about anywhere. They’re in grocery stores, box stores, hardware stores, gift catalogs–you name it and you’ve probably seen an amaryllis there.

Last year, the trendy thing was to dip the whole darn bulb in wax and to sell it that way–no pot, no soil, nothing needed but the waxed bulb. That’s great for the instant gratification types, but if you’re like me and would like to keep your bulbs for more than one year, that won’t work. You have to discard that waxed bulb once it’s done blooming.


In fact, here are my amaryllis from past years just waiting for dormancy and next years’ blooms. Again, this is my “potting room,” (aka, a small space off my finished basement). It gets closed in with folding doors so it actually gets quite cool–about 55-60–so it’s perfect for storing things like bulbs and other things that need dormancy (but not optimal when I actually want to pot things up in those chilly temperatures!)

Over the years, as tempted as I am, I don’t buy those “boxed” amaryllis that I see in the stores anymore. There are a couple of reasons for that.

First, I can get better colors if I either get them at garden centers or order them online.


Next, the bulbs are bigger if I buy them from garden center or online garden retailers. Bigger bulbs mean bigger and more blooms. I have gotten 3 stalks of blooms from some of my bulb retailer bulbs. I’ve never gotten that from a “boxed” bulb.

There’s also “waste” in those boxed bulbs. I don’t need the plastic pot, the plastic outer pot or the coir (which is not the best growing medium and attracts fungus gnats) that comes with those bulbs. While those bulbs look like a “bargain,” it’s no bargain if you don’t need what they offer.

So next year (it’s too late for this year) order your amaryllis when you order your other bulbs for planting. You won’t be sorry that you did!

5 thoughts on “Amaryllis, Queen of the Forced Bulbs

  1. tonytomeo November 19, 2018 / 7:33 pm

    Waxed bulbs were last year?! Oh my! I will be posting my gripe with them on Wednesday. Someone else already did so . . . along with something even worse!

  2. gardendaze November 19, 2018 / 7:54 pm

    As if that’s not bad enough, I just read something about how to make your own. Why on earth would anyone commit that crime against nature willingly? What are we coming to?


  3. The Chatsworth Lady November 21, 2018 / 4:27 pm

    I really should revisit amaryllis, as I haven’t grown them in so long. There used to be a Smith & Hawken store nearby during the early 2000s and they always had some very nice cultivars — big healthy bulbs too. But when they closed, the only local sources were the big box stores from which I’d never buy anything. And when I placed my spring orders from Brent & Beckys I rarely thought about next winter, lol

    • gardendaze November 21, 2018 / 4:51 pm

      We had a couple of those Smith & Hawkin stores nearby. I miss them. For a bit, some of their hard goods at least were being sold at Target but I am not sure that’s even true anymore.

      This year, all of a sudden at the end of October I panicked and decided I had to have some. I found a decent supply left at the bulb retailers–some were sold out but there were still lots of good choices.

      And since I don’t particularly care if they bloom at Christmas exactly, it’s just fine. Two came already starting so I potted those up. The rest, I will start later.

      Happy Thanksgiving.


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