Germinating Amaryllis Seeds in Water

Because Vero Beach is located in zone 10 (9 if you disagree with the latest USDA Plant Hardiness Map ;)) amaryllis are planted here as outdoor perennials with a March through May bloom cycle.

Last Amaryllis of the Season, 5/14/12

Last Amaryllis of the Season, 5/14/12

Amaryllis in the Ranchero

First Amaryllis to Bloom, Ranchero, 3/21/12

Right around the time the final, pretty pink one opened, the seed pod from the original bloomer (directly above) was on the verge of breaking apart:

Amaryllis Seed Pod, 5/10/12

In the past, I’ve grown amaryllis ONLY from fall-planted bulbs, but living in a year round gardening climate has piqued my interest in starting everything from seed. :).  As you can see, this particular pod was PACKED with myriad flowers-to-be!

Amaryllis seed pod and seeds

Each Amaryllis seedpod holds dozens of papery seeds!

Zeroing in on the bottom-most seed to the right, you’ll notice a small circular bump. That bump is the seed’s embryo, but be advised :arrow: not every seed has one!  To separate viable seeds from chaff, hold each little disc between your thumb and index finger; if you can’t feel a tiny bump of embryo, the seed is chaff to be discarded.

There are three basic methods for germinating the remaining viable seeds: potting medium, paper towel/baggie method, and the one that is less messy! :roll: Guess which one I’m showing you? (The first two don’t count!!! :) )

Select a clear glass container with a wide opening and fill it 2/3 of the way to the top with warm water. Float each amaryllis seed on the water’s surface, like so:

Amaryllis seed germination via water flotation

Finding a Flamingo to guard the seeds is a huge help! ;)

For purposes of this little experiment, I chose to work with only 6 seeds which I floated (and photographed) on 5/22/12.  I placed the glass on a pass-through shelf between my kitchen and dining area because it receives bright, indirect light from sun-up to noon.

After 6 days, 3 seeds began showing white roots that continued to grow at individual rates. On the 9th day, another seed sprouted a bit of root that has grown very slowly. As of today, two are still dormant, so I removed the 4 germinating seeds to show you their progress thus far:

Amaryllis seeds germinated by flotation method

Amaryllis seeds germinated by flotation method, 6/8/12

Technically two of these seeds are “ready” for potting because the white roots are longer than a .05″, but I’ve chosen to wait awhile longer.  The hint of green you see is evidence of the first set of leaves.  When these are fully visible, (and the roots a bit stronger)  I’ll share the careful process of repotting and what to expect as they grow into bulblets!

Right now, all 6 are back in the water glass, but the flamingo has the night off so there was little sense in taking a picture! ;)  I’m hoping the last two seeds will sprout! It can take up to a month, so there’s still a way to go.

Until next time……

:) :)

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17 thoughts on “Germinating Amaryllis Seeds in Water

  1. Bravo you! I’ve always been too greedy for more and beautiful flowers to let seeds develop. This is a revelation – I’ll be following to see the rest of the process, and the blooms in what, two years, or three?

    • Hello! Thank you for commenting!
      I imagine the Finnish growing season is similar to New England’s (the States) where I used to live. We only grew them inside there too, always coinciding with Christmas/New Years.

  2. Very interesting, my father is always looking for some new ways to germinate seeds he collects from his plants, I will have to let him know about this method so he can try it out!

  3. You lucky gal. I wish I could grow amaryllis year round, they’re so beautiful. I showed my husband how you got the seed and germinated it. Every few years, I get an amaryllis at Christmas, it blooms and then dies and I never can revive it’s bulb. My husband and I think (the next one I get) if I try saving the seeds & germinating like you did, I might stand a chance of growing a new one.
    How long will it take a new one started from seed to bloom?
    Thanks for this helpful tutorial and advice. :)

    • It can take up to 3 years to get a bloom spike, but I’ve read that it often happens at 18mos, depending on bulb type and how frequently the seeds were fertilized. The next time you get one, give it a whirl!!!

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