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This mother bulb has produced 3 babies, two of which are ready to divide.

With time, most amaryllis bulbs produce offsets (secondary bulbs) that you can remove and pot up individually. Some varieties naturally produce many “babies”, others very few. The better the plant is maintained, though, the more likely it is to produce offsets, so give your amaryllis as much sunlight as possible and fertilize regularly during its growing season if you want to see more bulbs.

When

The best time to divide an amaryllis is in the fall, during its dormancy, especially just as it begins to wake up and you see new leaves appear.

But very young offsets may not yet be ready to divide. Wait until they have at least 2 or 3 leaves, a sign that they are mature enough to live on their own.

How

When the time is right, unpot the mother plant and pull downwards on the baby bulb. It ought to give way readily and detach from the mother bulb. Ideally it will already have a few roots of its own. Now repot the large bulb back into its original pot or a pot of a similar size. Plant the young bulbs in smaller pots, perhaps 4 inch (10 cm) ones. Later, when they begin to fill their pot, you can repot them into larger ones.

Some amaryllis grow quickly and their babies will begin to bloom the second year after you divide them. Others take more time: 3, 4 or even 5 years. Remember that good growing conditions make a huge difference: intense sunlight and abundant fertilization will help stimulate rapid growth and the earliest possible blooms.

Do You Really Want to Divide?

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Hippeastrum ‘Pamela’ with many bulbs in the same pot: what a show!

Traditionally amaryllis are grown in individual pots, that is, one bulb per pot. But there is nothing wrong with letting the babies continue to develop next to the mother bulb. Simply repot into a larger pot so the colony will have room to develop. Over time, you’ll have a forest of flowers in one big pot and that can be spectacular!

Repot your amaryllis into the larger pot at about the same season you would normally divide it, that is, towards the end of its period of dormancy.

To divide or not to divide? The choice is yours!

Basic Amaryllis Culture

So much for what to do with baby amaryllis bulbs. To learn more on how to successfully grow an amaryllis, from choosing a bulb to potting it up to getting it to rebloom, read It’s Amaryllis Time.20160927a

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

2 comments on “How to DIvide an Amaryllis

  1. After blooming, my bulb sent up two bulbets this winter. I forced it inside for the second time (after keeping it on the porch all last summer.) It seems quite crowded in there. I would like to try to harvest the two daughters. When is the best time to do that? I would think in the spring when I bring them up from the basement. My concern is that they will suffer from being crowded all summer on the porch.

    • The best time would be as you suggest, just before bringing it into bloom. This is not a plant that much minds being crowded, though.

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