Many people often associate Amaryllis plants with the holiday season thanks to their striking flowers that range from white to red. But these gorgeous plants do more than add some holiday cheer to your home. Amaryllis plants have several uses and benefits, including pest control, medicinal properties, and much more. Keep reading to learn all about the 13 amazing uses and benefits of Amaryllis plants.
13 Amazing Uses and Benefits of Amaryllis Plants
1. Amaryllis Plants Are Easy to Care For
Firstly, Amaryllis plants are extremely easy to care for. Compared to other bulbous plants, Amaryllis plants flower with very little effort and rarely require troubleshooting. In the right place, with some basic care, amaryllis plants will treat you with bright and gorgeous blooms.
For indoor planting, place them in a warm spot that receives plenty of morning light, with some indirect sun in the afternoon, and be sure to keep the soil moist, and they will thrive. Another major benefit is that these plants don’t require a lot of space, pruning, or any special treatment.
But don’t let the soil dry out completely. Mealybugs and spider mites thrive in dryness and may find your Amaryllis particularly attractive.
I find that my amaryllis is worry-free, especially since I placed it in a sunny spot and started using the finger test method when watering it. Instead of sticking to a watering schedule, I check whether the first few inches of soil are dry by sticking my finger into the pot. If it’s dry to the touch, I know it’s time to water, if not, I’ll give it a few days before checking again. Our friends at the Royal Horticultural Society also recommend “turning the pot regularly to prevent the flower stalk growing towards the light. Cultivars with large flowers should be staked.”
2. Amaryllis Plants Make a Great Addition to Your Garden
With the gorgeous blooms that Amaryllis plants produce, it’s no surprise that their most touted benefits include how wonderful they look, regardless of where you plant them. While most consider these plants as indoor plants, they thrive outdoors, too, adding a brilliant splash of color to your garden.
When landscaping, Amaryllis plants do best outdoors in USA hardiness zones 8-10. They prefer well-draining, fertile soil and bright but shady spots. As these are tropical plants, they do enjoy warmer, more humid climates, but with a thick layer of mulch and consistent watering, your Amaryllis plants will gift you with their gorgeous, colorful blooms, even if you live in slightly cooler climates.
Of course, keeping these plants outside does mean you’ll have to keep an eye out for some pests and, in rare cases, diseases. Snails and slugs love munching on the leaves, and if you overwater your Amaryllis, you can increase the chances of root and bulb rot.
3. Amaryllis Plants Last Several Years
While these stunning plants are perfect for the holiday season, you can keep them thriving for 25 years with the right care. Although, the proper care includes post-bloom TLC.
If you’re keeping your Amaryllis plants inside or in pots outside, you should withhold watering and fertilizing for a few weeks once the flowers are spent. Move your plant to a cool, dry place and trim off any dead foliage. After about two months, place it in a warm, sunny spot and water it well. After some time, you’ll spot some new growth.
If you’ve planted them in your garden, you’ll need to add a thick layer of mulch to protect the bulbs from cooler temperatures and frost. They tend to go dormant in the winter when planted outside, and once the flowers and foliage begin dying off, you should deadhead the plant.
4. Amaryllis Plants Offer Year-Round Festive Décor
For a special holiday gift, these festive plants add just the right amount of Christmas cheer to any space. But who wouldn’t want to keep the festivities going all year round? You can force the bulbs to bloom in winter (and spring) with the proper care.
You’ll need to trick the bulbs into blooming by forcing them for winter blossoms. When it comes to Amaryllis bulbs, though, you’ll just have to coax them into blooming ‘out of season.’ If you have existing bulbs, initiate a dormancy period in late summer or early fall by placing your Amaryllis in a cool, dark spot. Don’t water or fertilize your Amaryllis for the next 8-12 weeks.
After this time, or once you spot some new growth, place your Amaryllis back in a warm, sunny spot and begin watering again. After four to six weeks, you’ll spot some new growth!
In my experience, spring and summer blooms are more straightforward though, as Amaryllis typically flowers in July through to September! Simply care for it as you normally would.
5. Amaryllis Plants Will Add a Splash to Your Garden Beds
The bright blooms of Amaryllis plants make a statement no matter where they are placed. But, when planted in beds, they add a perfect pop of color. Amaryllis makes a great companion for flowering shrubs, too, and will look fantastic along your driveway.
As they thrive in bright but shady spots, you can plant them under trees as ground cover. Doing this adds a brilliant dash of color to a dull section of your garden.
6. Amaryllis Plants Are Deer Resistant
Not only do Amaryllis plants look fantastic in your garden, but they are also deer-resistant. Amaryllis bulbs and flowers contain Lycorine, an extremely toxic alkaloid. This bitter substance can also stop rodents from becoming permanent residents in your garden.
However, the presence of Lycorine in Amaryllis plants means they are toxic to your pets according to the ASPCA. It’s best to keep your furry friends well away from your Amaryllis beds. Certain amounts of Lycorine are just as toxic to humans, so it might be best to keep them away from your children too.
7. Amaryllis Extract Has Anti-inflammatory Properties
While Amaryllis plants are toxic to both humans and pets, studies show that parts of the plant have been used in traditional medicine for centuries. Amaryllis extract, for example, contains bioactive compounds like tannins and saponins, which have anti-inflammatory effects.
Thanks to these anti-inflammatory properties, Amaryllis bulbs are used to treat pain and menstrual cramps in Chinese traditional medicine.
8. Amaryllis Plants Can Treat Respiratory Issues
Amaryllis plant extract is also believed to be a natural remedy for respiratory problems. Studies have shown that the extract has expectorant properties, which loosens mucus in the airways. This can assist with ailments like bronchitis and asthma.
9. Amaryllis Plants Can Help with Mental Illness
Studies have also shown that the alkaloids in Amaryllis bulbs have sedative properties that can promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. Additionally, studies have shown that these alkaloids can assist with various other mental illnesses, including seizures and depression.
Some research indicates that compounds within Amaryllis plants can be a promising treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
10. Amaryllis Plants Are Easy to Propagate
Adding to an Amaryllis plant’s host of benefits is how easy it is to propagate. Easily increase your Amaryllis collection via bulb sectioning. You can propagate Amaryllis plants via seeds, but that’s a lengthy process and can take several years.
All you need are bulb offsets, a new pot for your new bulb, and a balanced potting mix with some peat. You can expect new growth in a few weeks if done correctly and with care.
11. Amaryllis Can Purify the Air
Most indoor plants have air-purifying qualities, and while Amaryllis might not do the job as well as snake plants or peace lilies, they can still help clean up the air in your home. Amaryllis plants can filter the air, removing some toxins from your indoor environment.
12. Amaryllis Flowers Are Steeped in Symbolism
Outside being seen as a holiday flower, these stunning blooms are steeping in symbolism thanks to their long history that dates to ancient Greece. Each color links to a different symbolic meaning, making this an extra special gift this festive season!
For example, red symbolizes attraction, love, and passion. You could give someone a red Amaryllis plant as a great alternative to roses to showcase your feelings.
A pink Amaryllis, on the other hand, symbolizes friendship and can beautifully relay how important some people are in your life.
For more information on the symbolism of Amaryllis flowers, see our guide here.
13. Amaryllis Plants Make Great Cut Flowers
Believe it or not, Amaryllis make great cut flowers. Due to their vibrant colors and unique star-shaped flowers, they add a brilliant depth to any floral arrangement. With the right care, your cut Amaryllis plants can last just as long as blooms left on the bulb.
To use them as fresh cuts, it’s best to cut them when the bulb has just opened or beginning to show some color. Using sharp, clean sheers, cut the stem just above the bulb. From there, you can treat them as normal cut flowers, placing them in clean water with a splash of flower food.
Add cut Amaryllis to Christmas-themed bouquets for a great unique gift. Or you can pair red Amaryllis with a box of chocolate for a different Valentine’s Day present.
Amaryllis remains a beloved festive season plant. But, thanks to its host of benefits and uses, you can use Amaryllis year-round. They make lovely, meaningful gifts, keep deer and rodents out of your garden, and look fantastic no matter where they’re placed.
Every home or garden needs at least one bulb that blooms yearly, even if it is just to add a brilliant splash of color to your space.