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. Lucky you to have Amaryllis growing like that. Here it’s a job to get them to bloom indoors. Good luck with your seedlings.

  3. 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!

  4. 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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