The amaryllis, also known as the knight’s star, is one of the bulb flowers with around 80 species and more than 600 cultivated forms. Hybrids are usually available commercially or in nurseries. The amaryllis opens its magnificent, funnel-shaped flowers every year in winter or early spring, provided the care is right.

Properties of Amaryllis

With this plant, the leafless flower stalks with the imposing flowers form first and only then do the leaves. The thick flower stalk usually carries up to 4 large flowers, each with a diameter of 15-20 cm. High-quality bulbs with a diameter of 10 cm or more can produce two flower stalks with a corresponding number of flowers.

The flower colors range from white to yellow and orange-red to various shades of red. The stamens protrude far from the flower. The approximately 45 cm long leaves form immediately after flowering. Only the bulb remains, which, with appropriate care, will produce beautiful flowers again the next year.

Note: If you talk about the knight star, you immediately think that it is the amaryllis. But the delphinium belongs to the Hippeastrum genus. What both plants have in common, however, is that they belong to the amaryllis family.

Beautiful species

  • ‘Sweet Lady’ – large, fiery red and flamed white flower
  • ‘Papilio Butterfly’ – Flower with red and white hues and markings
  • ‘Dancing Queen’ – double cream flowers with red-orange stripes
  • ‘Red Nymph’ – double, velvety red flower, new breed
  • ‘Blossom Peacock’ – double, star-shaped flower, white and red patterned
  • ‘Moonlight’ – pale yellow, funnel-shaped flower, like an orchid
  • ‘Yellow Lemon’ – bright yellow flower
  • ‘Chico – pink-white flower, filigree, narrow petals, new breed


  • Repot potted specimens for the first time after 3 or 4 years!
  • Plant in fresh, nutrient-rich soil from the end of November.
  • First carefully remove the withered leaves and loose soil between and above the roots!
  • Plant the onion no more than halfway into fresh soil!
  • Don’t put the onion too deep or it could rot!
  • As the bottom layer, put a drainage layer of expanded clay, gravel or shards of clay in the plant pot!
  • There should be no more than a thumb’s width between the edge of the pot and the onion.
  • The substrate should be loose, permeable to water and rich in nutrients, as well as acidic or calcareous.
  • The pH of the soil should be around 6.
  • Place in a warm place with temperatures around 20 degrees!
  • The procedure is the same for purchased, unpotted onions.

Plant in glass

The amaryllis can also be made to bloom without soil. For this purpose, it is placed in special glasses or an amaryllis vase.

The following must be observed:

  • Always use onions of the right size!
  • Fill the bottom of the jar or vase with water and saline!
  • Dosage according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Then place the onion in the top part so it’s stuck!
  • The onion must not get wet, only the roots!
  • Now it’s just a matter of waiting and refilling water from time to time if necessary.


Depending on the vegetation phase, the amaryllis has different requirements, both in terms of location and care. The three vegetation phases include the dormant phase from late summer, the flowering phase in winter and the growth phase in spring and summer.

rest period

For the duration of the dormant phase from August/September to the beginning of December, the plant needs a darker and cooler location with temperatures of around 16 degrees. Temperatures can drop to a maximum of 10 degrees.


At the beginning of the flowering phase from mid-December, the bulbs are planted in fresh substrate. Normal lighting conditions in living spaces and room temperatures of 18 to a maximum of 20 degrees are now sufficient. The flower stems will soon appear. After they have faded, they are removed. The plant is now developing its leaves.

growth phase

From spring to summer, in the growth phase, in contrast to the rest and flowering phase, a bright, sunny and warm location is recommended. After the ice saints, a partially shaded outdoor location may also be suitable, but this should then be protected from snails.

watering and fertilizing

Correct watering and fertilizing is particularly important in each of the three vegetation phases. Basically, watering should only be done from below (into the saucer), as the onion must not get wet.

  • Water ten to twelve days after planting only when the soil is extremely dry!
  • Only when the flowering shoot is about 5-10 cm high can it be watered moderately again.
  • Now water once a week and always keep the substrate slightly moist!
  • If you water too much too soon, the flower will wither and only the leaves will grow.
  • In the main growth phase it is watered plentifully, the substrate must be constantly moist.
  • However, the top layer of soil should always be dry during every growing season.
  • Stop watering from August/September!
  • Now keep the soil dry so that the plant can enter the dormant phase!
  • The amaryllis is fertilized both during the growth phase and after flowering.
  • You should start fertilizing as soon as the flower stem or stems appear!
  • Now administer a liquid fertilizer once a week!
  • During the dormant phase, the plant does not absorb any nutrients, so do not fertilize now!
  • Never put the fertilizer on the dry root ball, this would burn!

After flowering

Once the amaryllis has faded, there are a few things to consider in order to be able to enjoy a lush abundance of flowers again next year. First, the withered flower stalks are completely cut off. Now it can be poured abundantly. The plant or the bulb now needs sufficient nutrients, so during the growth phase that follows, it should be fertilized weekly but also regularly watered.

In August/September, watering is completely stopped. The leaves are now gradually wilting. The plant goes into the dormant phase and the bulb now needs a darker and cooler location, with temperatures of around 16 degrees.

From November/December, the bulbs are put back into fresh plant substrate and placed in a warm and bright location, where the flower stalks will appear relatively quickly.


The amaryllis can be propagated in three different ways, by daughter or brood bulbs, by seeds or by division, which is sometimes very tedious.

Propagation via onion bulbs

Some varieties of this plant form small bulbs. These develop in the soil next to the mother bulb. A particularly large number of offshoots form, for example, the varieties “Appleblossom” or “Red Lion”. These bulbs can be removed when transplanting the bulb and planted separately. However, it can take a few years for them to reach the appropriate size.

Propagation by seeds

When the amaryllis seed pods turn yellow and shriveled, they will partially open on their own or you can break them out of the inflorescence and gently pry them open to get at the seeds. As a rule, the large-flowered varieties form between 20 and 80 seeds. These should not be stored for a long time, but sown as soon as possible, as they lose their ability to germinate within a few weeks or lose it completely. The germination rate for fresh seeds, on the other hand, is over 80 percent.

First, a drainage layer should be placed in an appropriate seed container. Then comes a propagation substrate. Then the seeds are placed in this substrate to germinate and covered with it. Now the seeds need high humidity, good lighting conditions and very warm temperatures for about a year, but this can hardly be guaranteed in a living room. Watering is only done when the surface of the earth is dry. However, it can take several years for these plants to flower for the first time.

propagation by division

Care should be taken when propagating amaryllis by division as the bulb contains numerous toxins. Gloves should therefore be worn, and hands and tools should be sterilized and thoroughly cleaned afterwards.

When dividing, the onion is cut into several pieces. Each section should have a root surface. Each piece is planted in soil that should be kept slightly moist. Then cover the whole thing with cling film. As soon as the first leaves appear, after about three months, the foil is removed. In the best case, a full-fledged onion will develop from each section.

diseases and pests

The amaryllis can be attacked by various pests and diseases, such as the so-called “red burner”, probably the most serious disease of this plant, the soft skin mite, thrips, the daffodil fly and root or onion rot.

Narcissus Fly – The larvae of the Narcissus fly hollow out the bulb and overwinter inside it. An affected onion can be recognized by the fact that it can be squeezed from above. In the case of an infestation by the daffodil fly, a total loss of the bulb can hardly be avoided, so that it can usually only be disposed of. There are fully systemic remedies against it, but these may only be used outdoors and not indoors. To prevent this pest, it is advisable to spray the leaves of the amaryllis with water from time to time.

Red burner  – Onions with a soft skin mite infestation are also particularly susceptible to the so-called “red burner” as a secondary disease. Onions are often already infected with this fungal disease when they are bought. This fungus rots the entire onion. It can be recognized by small dots or red stripes on the bulb, on the leaves and the flower stems. These expand into oval patches and the tissue gradually dissolves. There is no effective remedy for this disease. Affected bulbs can only be disposed of with household waste.

Thrips – If shiny silver spots can be seen on the leaves of the knight star, it is probably a thrips infestation. Affected parts of the plant turn brown as the disease progresses. These insects, which are only a few millimeters in size, can spread other bacteria or viruses. To combat the affected plant can be showered with soapy water. It should also be isolated from the other plants. If it is flying thrips, appropriate adhesive boards can be helpful.

Soft skin mite infestation  – Soft skin mites can occur when the temperature is high and the relative humidity is too high. The use of appropriate predatory mites can be helpful here. Otherwise, only special insecticides are effective here.

Root and Bulb Rot – The cause of root and bulb rot is usually too much moisture or waterlogging. This can be remedied by repotting the onion in fresh soil and watering it more sparingly.

If you make sure to always water the amaryllis from below, provide it with sufficient nutrients during the growth phase and allow it a corresponding resting phase, nothing stands in the way of magnificent flowering over several years. In the case of diseases or pest infestations, the causes should always be determined before countermeasures are taken, as they are often due to incorrect care.

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