Amaryllis: Going to Seed

Unlike most people who obtain an amaryllis bulb as a gift, I do not grow my amaryllis in pots. Mine have been planted in the ground in front of my deck/porch for more than twenty years. It’s a wonder they bloom at all because they are not planted with the top third of the bulb exposed. They might have started out that way but are now buried under inches and inches of leaf mulch. We prefer leaf mulch over commercial mulches. The leaf mulch is handy, free and breaks down quicker. Amaryllis also like to be crowded but it’s a cinch I’m not going to dig them up to find out. They don’t even get full sun. The bed they are in is shaded in the afternoon by pine trees.

According to the University of Florida IFAS Extension, amaryllis are true bulbs capable of developing miniature bulblets on the side of the mother bulb. These bulblets can be separated and replanted but it will likely be two or three years before they bloom. Again, I’m not going to dig up my bulbs looking for bulblets.

What I do, instead, is save amaryllis seeds from the seed pod that forms after the flower withers. In other words, I don’t cut off the stalk or the withered flower. Despite how ugly the withered flower looks, I leave the whole mess alone. I watch a small seed pod begin to form, then grow.

When the seed pod turns brown and splits open, it can be pulled off the stalk and the stalk goes to the compost pile.

The seeds are paper-thin:

I have found the seeds to be viable for only a short period of time. Given their short shelf life, I allow the seeds to dry a few days to a week and then plant them. Similar to the bulblets, these plants must grow for three years before blooming. These plants are from this year’s crop of seeds:


5 thoughts on “Amaryllis: Going to Seed”

  1. Wow. I am impressed with your seedlings. I did not realize they would come up that quick.
    Unfortunatly I did collect my seeds after they were ready. They just dropped on the mulch. I have not seen any little plants come up unless my son pulled them while weeding. I will have to try again next year.

    1. Meta – They sprout immediately. They look like tiny blades of grass when they first come up. I know that, over the years, a few seeds sprouted in and took hold in my flower bed but not as many as when I plant the seeds in a pot where I can see what is happening.

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