How to Grow Amaryllis & Paperwhites for Christmas

I first found out about amaryllis and paperwhite flowers when I started getting into gardening a few years ago. I had never heard of growing flowers indoors for the holidays. I didn’t even know you could grow flowers inside so easily. Then one day I was watching Garden Answer on YouTube & she did a whole video on growing amaryllis flowers. I knew that I had to get my hands on these bulbs.

I am now on my third year of growing amaryllis & paperwhites. I have made it a tradition to buy a new amaryllis bulb every year, force it to bloom over Christmas, then keep it as a houseplant over the winter & spring, put it outside in the summer & bring it back indoors in the fall to start the reblooming phase. Check out the article I wrote about making amaryllis rebloom here. It has also become a Christmas tradition of mine to buy & force paperwhites to bloom inside every year. So let’s get this holiday party started, read on for my paperwhites & amaryllis bulbs tutorial.

Amaryllis & paperwhite bulbs planted up & ready to grow.

Materials (Amaryllis)

  • Amaryllis Bulbs
  • Pots
  • Potting Soil

Method (Amaryllis)

  1. Fill a small pot with 2 inches of potting soil. 
  2. Place the amaryllis bulb in the pot, pointy-side up & surround the bulb with soil until ⅔ of the bulb is covered. Pat down the soil firmly.
  3. Water with warm water & place the pot in near a sunny window.
  4. Water about once a week once the amaryllis starts growing.
  5. Cut off any spent flower stalks to encourage new blooms.
  6. Enjoy!
Infographic is my own, made on

Materials (Paperwhites)

  • Paperwhite Bulbs
  • Vases
  • Pebbles/Rocks/Marbles

Method (Paperwhites)

  1. Fill a vase with pebbles/rocks/marbles & place the paperwhite bulbs on top, pointy-side up.
  2. Place near a sunny window. 
  3. Fill the vase with water until the bottom of the bulbs barely touch the water. Continue to water whenever the roots are no longer submerged in water.
  4. Watch your flowers grow!
I want all of these, all of them!
Paperwhites are like chips, you can’t have just one.
Gervase was my selection of the year.


  • Plant the bulbs about 6 weeks before you want them to bloom. Plant them right now for Christmas blooms.
  • Top dress your planted amaryllis with moss or sand.
  • If you have multiple bulbs, plant them at different times for a longer bloom season.
  • Grow your paperwhites in a glass vase so you can see the progress of the roots.
  • Make sure to turn your bulbs periodically to prevent the flowers from reaching toward the sun.
  • Stake your flowers if they start to fall over.
  • Amaryllis makes great houseplants, but paperwhites do not. You will have to throw out your paperwhites once they’re done blooming.
I bought these black rocks online, thinking that they would be black pebbles. Imagine my surprise when these arrived. You work with what you have though.
Amaryllis with a top dress of sand looking like it’s chilling on a beach.
Paperwhite all perched up & ready.
Paperwhite in glass with black pebbles/rocks is the way to go for a best rooting viewing. You get a show inside the vase & on top.

There’s just something so special about growing flowers indoors in the winter. I love being able to grow flowers even when it’s bone-chillingly cold outside. Even though I’ve only had this tradition for 3 years now, I can’t imagine ever stopping. The fact that you can keep amaryllis as a houseplant all year round & make it bloom again every year makes it a no brainer purchase for me. You have a little Christmas flower collection that you can revisit every holiday season, just like you revisit the same Christmas decorations every year when you first pull them out of storage. The nostalgia factor gets me every time.

The whole Christmas flower family is here, including my two amaryllis plants from previous years.

Start this year & make growing amaryllis & a paperwhites a holiday tradition in your house too!

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