In winter, amaryllis delights with its magnificent and colourful flowers. More on propagating amaryllis here.
From December to February, the amaryllis (Hippeastrum) delights with impressive flowers in white, pink or red. To some, the amaryllis family (Amaryllidaceae), which forms a bulb, may be better known as the Easter lily. This name also fits better than the name “Amaryllis”, which is a historic relic. Indeed, more than 70 species once belonged to the genus Amaryllis, but now they have been assigned to their own genus Hippeastrum. However, the name amaryllis has remained for the winter bloomer in the horticultural community. Once an amaryllis is purchased, with a little care and the right attention at the right time, the bulb can become a blooming companion for several years. Similarly, you can increase the number of amaryllis, which unfold their flowers on the home windowsill from December by propagating them yourself. Propagation by seed is not the only method for amaryllis. We take a closer look at the different propagation options for the amaryllis.
Propagating amaryllis from seed
Propagation from the seeds of amaryllis is possible, but very labour-intensive for the amateur gardener. In addition, the characteristics of the offspring may be different from those of the mother plant, due to the genetic splitting of certain traits. Pollination must be done by hand. The pollen-rich anthers are rubbed off on the stigma. This can be done by pollinating the stigma of the same flower (self-fertilisation) or the stigma of another amaryllis plant (cross-fertilisation).
The greatest success in fertilisation through manual pollination is achieved when only the first two flowers of a flower are pollinated and all other flowers are removed. Approximately eight weeks after pollination, the seeds are ripe and can be harvested. They should be sown immediately, as the germination capacity decreases rapidly. After about four weeks, the first seedlings appear. Seedlings are pricked and initially cultivated for 2.5 years, until the second autumn, when they can be prepared for forcing flowering. More about caring for amaryllis after flowering can be found in our article. Here is the procedure if you want to grow amaryllis from seed:
- Hand pollination required
- It is best to pollinate the first two flowers of a bulb, removing the remaining flowers
- Self or cross pollination possible
- Seeds can be harvested after about 8 weeks
- It is best to sow directly, because as storage time increases, the faster the reduction in the germination rate.
- Germination occurs after about 4 weeks
- Prick seedlings, pot and cultivate for 2.5 years.
- In the second autumn, prepare the seedlings for forcing and flowering
Vegetatively propagating amaryllis
Amaryllis can also be propagated vegetatively. This means that organs are taken from a plant and a new plant is grown from them. This is a clone of the mother plant, so that the offspring have exactly the same characteristics as the mother – a clear advantage compared to generative propagation via seeds. In addition, the process of vegetative propagation is sometimes much less laborious and leads to faster flowering. We take a look at potential vegetative forms of propagation in the case of the amaryllis.
Propagating amaryllis by incubating bulbs
If the amaryllis is repotted after successfully surviving summer in preparation for the flowering phase, it is possible for small offset bulbs to be discovered on the mother plant. These can be carefully removed from the main bulb and used for propagation of amaryllis. The small incubating bulbs are initially stored at temperatures of around 15 °C. Then, from January, the offset bulbs are planted. Just as with seedlings, the grown bulbs should be prepared for forcing and flowering only in the second autumn.
Tip: Increase the likelihood that offset bulbs will form by making several cuts in the bulb base of the parent plant. Here you will find the procedure if you wish to propagate amaryllis by bulb:
- Increase the likelihood of bulb formation by cutting into the base of the mother bulb.
- Remove daughter bulbs from the mother bulb when repotting in November
- Store bulbs first at 15 °C and plant from January onwards
- In the second autumn, make preparations for the flowering of amaryllis
Propagation through chipping
The amaryllis can also be propagated by so-called chipping. To do this, the bulbs to be propagated are not forced in winter and brought to flowering, but kept in storage at relatively low temperatures. The optimal time to start propagation is from January. The bulb of the amaryllis is slightly cut at the bottom, so as to remove the roots. Now cut the bulb in half vertically and continue cutting vertically.
Depending on the size of the amaryllis bulb, 12 to 16 individual pieces of the same size can be cut from one bulb without any problems. The bulb chips can each be divided again vertically into two to three equal pieces. This gives elongated, narrow pieces of bulb, each containing part of the basal plate of the bulb. In the direction of growth, they are then put in sand. At temperatures above 20 °C new roots form quickly, and after three months, small bulbs can be discovered from which leaves develop. After transplanting in the summer/autumn, the newly obtained bulbs should be left for another year and also not used for flowering until the second autumn. Here is the procedure if you want to propagate amaryllis by chipping:
- Do not sprout amaryllis bulbs, but continue to store them at rather lower temperatures until January.
- Remove roots and lightly cut the bottom of the bulb
- Cut bulb vertically into 12 to 16 equally sized chips
- Cut chips in half or thirds again, also in a vertical direction
- Stick bulb chips in sand in the direction of growth
- Ideal temperature: 20 – 25 °C
- Root formation after a few weeks, bulb formation after three months.
- Transplant and root in the second autumn and use for flowering
Several promising methods are available for propagation of the amaryllis itself. However, compared to other methods of cultivation, all of them are quite labour-intensive. But even the relatively long time and diligence required to produce a flower on self-propagated amaryllis will ultimately be rewarded with magnificent blooms!
In order to have the most magnificent amaryllis possible, you should not neglect amaryllis care. Here you can find out what you need to bear in mind.