How to Propagate Amaryllis from Bulb (Offset Daughter Bulbs)

Amaryllis is a gorgeous, flowering plant that’s often found in home decor because of its large, bright pink/red blooms.

This is an excellent plant for beginners and can be propagated from bulb.

If you found some amaryllis bulbs at your local store, this guide will teach you how to plant them.

Quick care guide: Amaryllis

Plant type Perennial
Origin South Africa
Scientific name Hippeastrum
Other names Belladonna lily, Jersey lily, Easter lily, Naked lily
Soil type Well-draining
Soil pH 6.0-6.5
Sunlight requirement Full sun
Bloom season Spring, summer, fall
Colors Pink, white, rose, apricot, orange, burgundy, red, salmon, apricot
Max height 36 inches
Max width 10 inches
Temperature 70-75F
Humidity High
Watering requirements Often during summer and fall, keep soil moist but not waterlogged
Fertilizer requirements Moderate
Days until germination 6-8 weeks
Days until bloom 6-12 weeks from bulb, 3-5 years from seed
Speed of growth Slow
Hardiness zones 9-12
Plant depth 2/3 of bulb under soil
Plant spacing 12 inches
Propagation Bulb, seed, offset bulbs, or bulb sectioning
Common pests Caterpillars, fungus gnats
Common diseases Red blotch, leaf scorch, fungus
Beginner friendly Yes
Care level Low
Uses Decoration, color, centerpiece

How do you propagate an amaryllis plant?

A pink amaryllis plant from bulb.
You can plant it in one of three different ways.

There are three ways to propagate this tropical plant.

The most common is to use bulbs, which are removed from the host plant and then replanted or potted.

You can also divide amaryllis by planting the cuttings from the bulb, also known as bulb sectioning or “cuttage.”

Lastly, amaryllis can be grown by seed. This is the most rewarding, but also the most difficult and time-consuming.

You probably want to check out those gorgeous blooms ASAP, right?

In this guide, we’ll cover propagation and division through bulbs specifically.

You can start with a cutting from a friend or nursery or even a host plant if you already have amaryllis growing in your garden.

Why you should divide from bulb (bulb vs. seed)

The most straightforward answer I can give you is because it’s simply faster.

Sure, you can sow from seed, but you can expect to wait up to 5 years for it to finally flower. It’ll test your patience and have to wait to see those blooms.

Propagating from a bulb allows you to start with an established plant and go from there. Bulbs are generally the fastest way to get a new plant going, as in the case of caladium, astilbe, or hyacinth.

It’ll also let you know exactly what you’re getting since the younger plant will be an identical clone of the host parent plant.

You won’t get any weird or unexpected colors when you go from the bulb- unless you’re into that sort of thing.

How to grow amaryllis from bulb

A red and white amaryllis plant grown from a bulb.
You can grow from a bulb to save yourself time.

Here are the steps to divide your amaryllis bulb. Follow them in order to minimize work effort.

First, know your hardiness zone

Amaryllis is a hardy plant native to South America.

Hippeastrum does well in hardiness zones 9-12 and can be grown both indoors and outdoors.

Try8ing to grow this plant in the wrong zone that’s cold will just make things more difficult for you.

And who has time for that? If you’re not in the right zone, you can still plant amaryllis but you’ll need a greenhouse to keep the temperatures warm and raise the humidity.

You can also grow it indoors if you keep the humidity high and give it plenty of light.

When to cut

This is often the most confusing step for new gardeners because the plant grows so slowly it’s hard to know when is the right time to cut.

This depends on a variety of factors, such as your hardiness zone, season, and your personal preferences on how you want the plant to look and grow.

If you grow amaryllis inside your house, the plant will have a different bloom cycle compared to the same plant grown outdoors. This will affect the dormancy period, as outdoor plants will naturally enter it on their own.

But indoor plants will require a “forced” dormancy since it doesn’t get cold enough for them to do it on their own.

The best time to start dividing the bulbs of amaryllis is immediately after it flowers.

The foliage will sprout and then slowly die back. Then the plant goes dormant in the cold season. Let the plant naturally drop the foliage on its own.

The flowers it produces are for you to enjoy and continue the development of a strong overall structure.

You can start dividing the plant when it enters dormancy following the flowering period- preferably towards late dormancy when it starts to develop new leaves.

This usually occurs around early spring. You’ll start to see the plant come out of dormancy.

For plants grown outdoors, the best time to divide is in the late winter or early spring.

For plants grown indoors, divide in the fall.

Removing the bulb

The bulb can be extracted quite easily from your host plant with just a few tools.

You’ll need a clean pair of pruners, a small spade, and some rubbing alcohol.

Use the alcohol to disinfect the pruners before you cut each bulb if you have multiple plants to divide.

This will prevent any transmission of plant viruses, fungus, or mildew between the different plants.

Carefully use the garden spade and dig out around the bulb.

Be careful to not damage the plant by poking around.

You may damage the root system, which is the last thing you’ll want to deal with.

Dig out as much as you can without actually touching the plant.

Lift the entire plant from the container or the soil, depending on where you’re growing it.

Be extra careful when lifting as there may be tangled roots that are caught on dirt clumps.

After you lift the plant, remove any soil or debris stuck on the plant bulb and roots.

Clean it with a brush or a gentle stream of water to help loosen any dirt.

The bulb should now be clean and separated from the host plant.

Repotting offsets

Plants that have become established will grow and produce offset bulbs, which are like secondary bulbs to the primary ones.

Both bulbs can be used to propagate amaryllis. So you get to double tip with this unique feature of amaryllis.

Those secondary bulbs can be cut off cleanly and then repotted for additional foliage to add to your home or garden.

These are often called bulblets or daughter bulbs since they’re just miniature bulbs that are growing next to the primary bulbs.

They grow off the side of a primary bulb and are attached to it.

You can cut this bulblet off and use it just as you would with the main bulb. This is just more plant for your money.

If you notice offset bulbs, you can cut them off from the hot bulb. Just use a pair of sharp scissors, a knife, or whatever another tool you have at your disposal.

Cut safely and gently with a clean cut.

Each offset has a few roots of its own. Don’t damage these and leave them intact.

If you have multiple offset bulblets sprouting off the main plant, you don’t have to separate all of them.

Just keep the ones that are a good size and separate them.

Leave the smaller ones attached and let them continue to grow. You can separate them off later repeating the same process if you want.

Replanting

Now that you either have a cleaned bulb that’s ready to go, it’s time to replant it. If you have offset bulbs, that’s fine too. They follow the same process.

Replant the bulb in a potting container with a balanced potting mix consisting of well-draining soil. You can add some peat moss if you have some and mix it in.

Use high quality, organic soil. If you have poor draining soil only, you can add some perlite or rocks at the bottom to help drain the pot efficiently.

Offset bulblets can be planted in the same manner. Use a pot that’s 3x the diameter of the bulblet for maximized growth.

The host plant can be placed back into the container it was growing in. You can also transplant the plant to a larger container if necessary.

Keep plenty of space around the perimeter of the pot to optimize plant growth. You should have at least 2” of space all around.

Don’t use a pot that’s too big or too small. They like to feel “cozy” but they don’t like to feel the edges of the pot.

Growing

Now that you have your original host plant back in its pot and a few new bulbs growing on their own, it’s time to help them get their best blooms possible!

Amaryllis is extremely easy to grow and perfect for newbie gardeners.

The splash of pretty color they add to your home or garden is well worth the super-easy effort they require.

Place the potting container indoors near a warm window. Don’t just toss them out to the wolves.

They need some time to acclimate and grow some roots and foliage on their own before going outside.

Keep it near the warmth of the window in direct sunlight and water it regularly.

The water should be evenly distributed through the soil and it should always be moist to the feel.

If you’re in a warmer zone, such as 9 or higher, you can sow outdoors. There’s no need to start inside your house.

Keep the soil wet and drained by using a raised plant bed.

Use a blanket of mulch during the winter if needed to help insulate it against the elements.

Transplanting

After the bulbs have grown about 3” in diameter, they’re ready for the outdoors.

You can move them outside and into the soil or keep them in their pots.

Slowly acclimate them to the elements by exposing them to the sun, wind, and humidity over a month.

Depending on which amaryllis cultivar you’re planting, some will have rapid growth.

But most are extremely slow and take extended periods to start producing flowers.

Propagation from cuttage

Amaryllis can also be divided through bulb sectioning, which is where you make cuts into the bulb.

This will encourage the plant to divide and create new ones. It’s also known as twin scaling.

Follow the process above to remove the bulb from the host plant.

Except for this time, use a sharp knife and make vertical cuts from the top to the bottom of the bulb. It should split the bulb into at least 4 pieces, with each cut having a bit of everything from the original bulb.

he cuts should each include the basal plate, a pair of scales, and roots. They’re miniature versions of the bulb.

Use a high-quality fungicide and apply it to the bulb. This will help stop and kill any possible chance of fungus from infesting the plant.

Plant them in a small container with the same well-draining potting mix.

Add perlite, rocks, or sand to improve drainage. The bulb’s plate faces down.

Add soil around it equally. The bottom half should be covered with the top part exposed to the air.

Water regularly and keep the soil moist.

Cover each piece with moist soil up to ⅔ under the soil and ⅓ exposed.

Place the container in an area with sunlight and keep it there until early spring.

You’ll see new scales sprout from the bulblets and that means they’re ready to be transplanted outside (after the last frost).

If you’re in a warmer zone, such as zone 9 or higher, you can just plant them outside right away.

There’s no need to sow indoors. Use a raised plant bed with regular mulching in the winter to help drainage. That’s all there is to it.

You’ll see new bulblets growing between the pair of scales on each of your cuttage within 4-8 weeks.

Keep them well watered and monitor for plant infections. Give it plenty of sunlight and water.

What can you do with the bulbs after they bloom?

Well, you can store them, plant them, or give them away. That’s about it, really.

Some people also sell their bulbs if they have a special hybrid or cultivar that’s hard to find.

When can you divide the bulbs?

The bulbs can be divided after they flower in the fall to early spring.

This depends on where you live as your hardiness zone affects the blooming season/timing.

It also depends on whether or not you’re growing them indoors or outdoors. Indoor plants can be cut and divided in the fall.

But if you’re planting outside, then you have until late winter or early spring when new bulblets become visible and flowering is present.

Separating amaryllis bulbs

Easter Lilly plants.
Aren’t they pretty?

Amaryllis bulbs are easy to separate and can be done when the foliage is gone in the late fall or early winter.

Remember to wait until the foliage is starting to drop before you dig it up, or else you may act way too early (you’re also missing out on some gorgeous flowers!).

After digging up the bulb using a garden fork or shovel, lift it carefully and clean off the debris stuck to the roots.

Use a brush, garden hose, or small shovel to remove debris. Separating the amaryllis bulbs can be done by trimming back the foliage to 2” on the primary bulb.

Then use a sharp knife to cut off the small offset bulblet. You can even pry it off with your finger. They’re not that tough to separate.

Once separated, plant immediately or store it.

Transplanting amaryllis while blooming

You should avoid any kind of transplanting or plant movement when it’s in season.

This can disturb their bloom cycle if there’s a sudden change of soil composition, nutrient availability, or even sunlight photo exposure. Transplant in the winter or early spring for best results and consistent flowers.

Deadheading amaryllis

You can deadhead each amaryllis plant as it begins to wither.

The flowers fall off automatically on their own in the fall and winter as the cold season approaches, so deadheading is optional.

But if you want the best growth and for the plant to conserve energy, you can snip off the individual flowers that have begun to fade.

Cut the stem back to about 2-3” of the bulb. This will help put the energy back into the plant production rather than using it on the foliage or seed pods.

How to save amaryllis bulbs for next season

Can you keep them for next year?

You can store them safely in a roll of newspaper or plastic container.

After harvesting the bulb, make sure to not cut off the foliage.

Typically, you’d cut them off when you deadhead houseplant.

But if you want to store them for next year, leave the leaves intact. The bulb uses the foliage on the bulb to continue growing through the winter and spring.

Cut the foliage down to about 2” above the bulb and leave those leaves intact.

Store amaryllis bulbs in a cold, dry area. They enter dormancy and will require no attention for up to 12 weeks, so you don’t have to do anything once properly stored.

Use some newspaper and wrap up each bulb, then place it into plastic containers to store them.

Can you leave bulbs in pots?

Yes, you can plant newly cut bulbs directly into potting containers.

Whether you’re using cuttage or offset bulbs, you can plant them right away after you separate them into new pots.

Use high-quality organic soil and add some perlite if there’s poor drainage.

You can also supplement with peat moss. And don’t forget to dust lightly with some kind of organic fungicide to help stop bacteria, fungus, or plant viruses from infecting your new plant. Use as directed, as with any fungicide.

How to harvest the seeds

A bulb from amaryllis.
These bulbs can be saved for later.

The seeds can be harvested from the flower when they’re visible. There’s no special way to do this.

You can simply pick them off and you’re all set. But planting from seed is a whole other ballgame!

Sowing amaryllis from seed isn’t an easy thing to do and will be a test of patience. Expect to wait up to 5 years for the plant to flower.

The seed pods will be visible about 3-4 weeks of flowering.

The seeds can be harvested directly from the seedpods and you can tell because they’ll change to yellowish color and even split open.

Cut the pods off and shake them into a jar. The seeds will come off easily and can be used in pots, soil, or plant flats.

Similar to planting the bulb, use well-draining soil with plenty of organic, rich nutrients.

Add perlite or sand to keep it draining well.

Seedlings need to be thinned and can be transplanted to a larger container or into the soil after one season.

They can also be sown directly into the soil outside without a care if you’re in a tropical or warmer hardiness zone.

Note that seeds don’t always produce a clone of the host plant. If you plant from seed, you can get a mixture of different cultivars.

So be aware of that. This is why a lot of gardeners stick with bulb propagation only- because you know the new plant will look exactly like the original host plant.

This makes it easy to fit new plants into old decorations, such as walkway edgings or pathing plants.

Do amaryllis bulbs bloom more than once?

Yes, amaryllis is a perennial so it blooms every spring under proper care. In cold zones or extremely hot areas, the plant may only act as an annual.

But if you’re in zones 4-8, you should have no problem getting this plant to bloom every year.

Further reading

Here are some additional references you may find useful:

Did you learn how to propagate amaryllis by the bulb?

Close up shot of an amaryllis.
This can be yours.

You should have everything you need to know to care for amaryllis and plant it from a bulb.

Hippeastrum is an easy to grow and gorgeous plant that offers nice voluminous blooms through the spring and summer.

And it produces its bulbs and offsets so you can divide and plant even more the following season.

What do you think? Will you be propagated from a bulb? Using cuttages? Or going hardcore and sowing from seed?

Leave a comment and let us know.

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