When to plant amaryllis bulbs for blooming plants over the Christmas period

You'll need to act fast if you want to add this beauty to your Christmas table

amaryllis in red vase
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Often associated with Christmas thanks to its stunning winter blooms, amaryllis is a welcome addition to any festive table. However, you will need to know when to plant amaryllis if you're hoping to add them to your Christmas decorating ideas.

Although the pink and red flowers of amaryllis brighten up your garden or windowsill during the depths of winter, they do require some very specific care and attention. They need to be planted at the right time, and that right time is right now!

To help you get the most out of your amaryllis, we’ve put together the ultimate guide on everything you could possibly need to know about when to plant amaryllis bulbs and how to plant them.

When to plant amaryllis bulbs

Blooming for around 7-10 weeks every single winter, amaryllis is one of the most popular winter flowers. But if you want to see these blooms year-after-year, you'll need to follow these planting and care tips. 

amaryllis in Christmas display pot

(Image credit: Getty Images)

When to plant amaryllis bulbs

All in all, amaryllis bulbs take around six to eight weeks to bloom. This means that you need to be strategic if you want to guarantee that these stunning flowers will be on show as a Christmas table centrepiece idea. If that’s the case, you should really plant your amaryllis bulbs in September. 

But if you’re not fussed about this festive addition and are just looking to add some colour to your winter garden idea, you can plant your amaryllis bulbs later than that. In fact, they can be planted anytime from September to January. 

However, Steve Chilton, garden expert at LeisureBench, says, 'If you want them to flower in early spring, then January is better.'

If you wanted, you could even stagger your amaryllis bulb planting. By planting some bulbs every month from September to January, you can ensure that your garden is full of florals right up until the moment your spring bulbs start to bloom. 

Headshot of gardening expert Steve Chilton
Steve Chilton

Steve is a passionate and knowledgeable garden expert with several years of experience within the field and has developed strong expertise for all things nature and plants. Steve is a keen educator and loves to share this knowledge with others. He strives to simplify complex garden practices and encourage eco-friendly gardening.

How to plant amaryllis bulbs

Like many of us, amaryllis bulbs like to be cuddled during the winter months - which means that they grow best in smaller pots. Ideally, you should grow them in a container that allows for a couple of centimetres on either side of the bulb. 

Gardening expert Oliver Johnson at HomeAdviceGuide.com explains, 'They will do much better in a pot that is just a little larger than the bulb. This is because amaryllis prefers to be pot-bound, giving it the impetus to send out a flower stalk in order to reproduce as it cannot spread its roots.'

Soak the bulb in water

Before you start planting your amaryllis bulb, it’s always a good idea to soak the bulb in room-temperature water for a few hours, like you would when planting other bulbs. This will help to soften up the roots and kickstart the growing process. 

And while this step is not entirely necessary, it should help to speed up the blooming process, which could be helpful if you’re trying to get the bulbs to flower before Christmas. 

amaryllis bulbs in pots

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Plant the bulb in compost and grit

Fill up your pot halfway with rich and well-draining soil compost - like this Miracle-Gro Premium Bulb Fibre Compost from Amazon. When you’ve done that, you can plant the bulb, ensuring that the tip of the bulb pokes out of the top. 

Fill in the gaps with some more compost, gently pressing down to make sure it settles around the bulb, and then water well.

Finish by adding some horticultural grit - like this Westland Potting Grit from Amazon to the top of the pot, making sure it surrounds the top of the bulb. This will help with drainage over the winter months, making sure the compost stays moist but doesn’t get too wet during your regular watering schedule. 

amaryllis in red pots on windowsill

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Place in a warm and bright position

Oliver adds, 'Now put the pot in a warm and well-lit position. An ideal temperature is about 21°C. It’s also important to turn the pot regularly as the flower stalk grows to prevent it from leaning towards the light.' 

amaryllis in front of mirror

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Where to buy amaryllis plants

Most supermarkets will stock fully-grown amaryllis plants to give to your friends and family over the Christmas period, but if you’re looking to give the green-fingered people in your life something to grow from scratch, these bulb gifts are perfect for underneath the Christmas tree. 


Does amaryllis come back every year?

Yes, amaryllis should come back every year with proper care and attention. When the flower stops blooming, you should repot the bulb into a larger container and cut down the stems to encourage new growth next year. 

It’s also a good idea to maintain a regular watering schedule and pop your pots out into the garden during the summer months. Then, stop watering in the autumn, as your plant will enter a state of dormancy. 

Bring your plant back inside in October, pick your watering schedule back up, and wait for the next set of flowers to bloom. 

Can you leave amaryllis bulbs in the ground all year?

Yes, you can. If you’ve grown tired of growing amaryllis in a pot, you can indeed plant the bulbs into the ground and forget about them for the rest of the year. However, you should wait to do this until the threat of serious frost has passed, and it’s best to plant amaryllis bulbs into the ground in spring. 

Whether you plan to give the gift of amaryllis this year or you want to plant amaryllis bulbs now for a blooming winter garden, this guide should have provided you with everything you need to know about this gorgeous plant. 

Lauren Bradbury

Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.