How To Pollinate Amaryllis Bulb Flowers

How to pollinate an Amaryllis Bulb flowerWhen you buy your first Amaryllis bulb and have the pleasure of watching the beautiful flowers unfurl you may become enamored with this wonderful bulb and want to collect more Amaryllis bulbs. Instead of buying Amaryllis bulbs to expand your bulb collection one of the things you can do is propagate your Amaryllis bulb to produce more bulbs. Amaryllis bulbs can be propagated in one of two ways, in this example I'll show you how to pollinate Amaryllis bulbs.

How to Pollinate an Amaryllis Bulb Flower



The two parts of the Amaryllis flower you need to recognize in order to pollinate your Amaryllis bulb is the pollen sack and the stigma. The pollen sack is the male part of the flower and the stigma is the female part of the flower. I've labeled these two part of the Amaryllis flower in the image above. On the second or third day after your Amaryllis flower has opened completely the pollen sacks and the stigma should look like the pollen sack and stigma in the photo above. Make note of how the stigma is opened and has three points-that means that it is ready to receive pollen. If you try to pollinate it before it opens completely like in the image above you may not have successful results.

pollinating an Amaryllis flowerTo pollinate your Amaryllis bulb all you have to do is make the pollen come into contact with the stigma and this can be done a couple of ways. You can cut off the pollen sack and tap the pollen so that it dusts the stigma or you can take a small artist's paint brush and "paint" the pollen onto the stigma. In the Amaryllis flower photo on the right I just cut off an anther and brushed it onto the open stigma.




stigma of an Amaryllis flower coated in pollen


This photo shows the stigma of the Amaryllis coated in pollen. You can click on these images to get a slightly larger view.





Within a few days after you have coated the tips of the stigma with the pollen the flower will have started to whither away but if you were successful your pods should show signs of swelling.

fertilized Amaryllis Bulb seed pod In the image above the Amaryllis seed pod on the right failed to accept the pollen and become fertilized. The seed pod on the left is a nice green color and is starting to swell as it works on producing the Amaryllis seeds inside. Pods that weren't fertilized will look a little yellow and wrinkled and begin to whither away as the Amaryllis bulb concentrates on the viable seed pods.

ripe Amaryllis seed podsIn a couple of weeks your Amaryllis seed pods should look like the image above. Notice how they are nice and plump and green?These Amaryllis seed pods are well on their way to providing many Amaryllis seeds to be sown. When your Amaryllis bulbs sets seeds you should leave the bulb alone to do not cut the pods off and certainly do not open the seed pods yourself. In a few days after they've reached this point they will split open and you can collect the seeds.


healthy Amaryllis SeedsWhen the Amaryllis seed pods open you'll find many Amaryllis seeds like in the picture above. The first time I successfully collected seeds from my Amaryllis I was surprised at how the seeds looked. Amaryllis seeds are flat for the most part and very papery and large enough that if any spill out of the seed pods you can easily find them.

Points to consider:

Say you have a white flowering Amaryllis bulb and you would like to cross it with a red flowering Amaryllis bulb you may want to remove the pollen from one of the plants. If for example you wanted to pollinate the white flower with a red flower's pollen you should remove the pollen sacks from the white flower before they open. The reason for this is that the pollen from the white flower could accidentally come into contact with the stigma and produce more white flowering bulbs when what you wanted was a cross between white and red.

Some Amaryllis bulbs cannot be pollinated with their own pollen. Amaryllis 'Apple Blossom' comes to mind as one of the flowers that is hard to self-pollinate. To pollinate an 'Apple Blossom' Amaryllis you need the pollen from another Amaryllis. But you can use the pollen from 'Apple Blossom' to pollinate other flowers-it just doesn't accept pollen from itself very easily.

The second part of this entry is: Sowing & Germinating Amaryllis seeds.

Here's a short video I made showing how to easily pollinate an Amaryllis flower

39 comments:

  1. Accidental GardnerApril 18, 2008 at 5:52 PM

    I've got an Amaryllis that doesn't have an obvious stigma (not that I can see anyway) and the pollen is in pockets along the edge of the flower petals. Is this a hybrid that I wont' be able to pollenate? Thanks.

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    1. Yours must be a double flowering amaryllis. The double flowering varieties does not seem to have the female organ (stigma) and in my experience only the pollen of these flowers can be used to pollinate onto the stigma of single flowering amaryllis flowers, with a hope that a good percentage of seeds would flower close to the pollen parent (double) !!!

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  2. I received two bulbs for christmas and bought three more when they went on sale a few weeks later, and have successfully pollenated most of them. I've got around 40 maturing pods (yikes) as I was not really expecting this to go so well so I am going to have to work out how to deal with so many seeds. I noticed that on two of the stalks I got unusual flowers. Instead of the pollen I got what almost looked like additional stigma. They were not the triangular (3 arm) type, they were like giant long pollen stalks but had no pollen and were a tannish white. The other flowers on the same stalk were normal. What were these?

    One of the monster ones was so tall and had so many flowers (almost 4 ft, 8 flowers) it pulled the bulb out of the pot while I was at work. Set it back up and it looked ok, but two days later it broke the stalk 1/2 off at the bulb. I set it back right and against a brace but two days later it bent the OTHER way and broke off the other 1/2 of the stalk. I initially gave up on it and was about to throw it away when I thought well like a flower in a vase, and with so much green on the stalk, maybe it can survive long enough to fruit? 5 of the 8 flowers I had already trimmed off and the others were withering. Now four days later the remaining flowers are withererd and ready for cutting away from the pods but all pods are growing and the towering stalk remains green and healthy looking, despite merely being in a water filled base. Any chance this stalk will manage to mature its pods? The largest pod is about 1/2 the mature size.

    As for pollinating, I bundled a dozen very thin strands of yarn and cut them flat at the end, and dabbed them around the flowers every couple days. I did this with two different sets of these bundles. This seemed very simple and I was not expecting it to work well as I hadn't really read how to do this, but it seems to have worked spectacularly to spread the pollen around so someone else may also want to try this if they're not having luck other ways or are getting a lot of pods that do not ripen. The only pods that did not ripen for me are the few that flowered first before I thought to pollenate them.

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  3. Sorry for the late reply but "accidental gardener" you probably did get hybrids. Sometimes though some flowers will just fuse like you describe. It happens in nature all the time with mammals. Sometimes some things don't come out "perfect." You can always try to pollinate them though since there's no harm being done.

    Virtual1,

    You encountered the same thing as the poster above you. Since you posted a while ago I'll assume you don't need me to address the rest of your post. Hope you got a lot of little seedlings for all your work.

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  4. These are the same pictures as on Mr. Brown Thumb. His don't have the type all over them, so who do these pictures really belong to??

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  5. Iris,

    Both of the blogs are mine as are the photos. This is my blog that I'm devoting exclusively to my Amaryllis bulbs.

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  6. Ok...so I am new at this and what am I supposed to do after I collect the seeds from the seed pods?

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    Replies
    1. You can either sow them and wait for them to sprout, but not very deep. Or you can put them in water and wait until they sprout then plant them one by one.

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  7. Anonymous,
    I'll be posting a picture on how to sow the seeds in the morning. Hope you see this comment. I had planned to do it today but dinner was more of a production than I it was suppose to be.

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  8. Anonymous,

    As promised I've put up a new post to show you how to sow your Amaryllis seeds.

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  9. I have a question, after you get the seeds, do you just plant them right after? and are these the bulbs that we get at the store? Thank you, your website has a lot of good information. My amaryllis is just coming out of the bulb, this is my first time growing one, and I am really excited! It is another kind of amaryllis, it is called double dragon amaryllis. Any other suggestions for begginners like me?

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  10. Mathew,

    Welcome to the world of Amaryllis bulbs. The seeds that you produce will soon grow into bulbs just like the ones you get in the store.

    The post on Sowing Amaryllis bulb seeds shows you how to plant your seeds. My suggestions would be to make sure you give them plenty of light and plenty of fertilizer in the spring & summer when you place them outside. Above the video in the sidebar you'll find links to the more important posts here. Look them over and if you have any questions feel free to ask.

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  11. Hi,

    I believe that I have successfully pollinated one of my amyrillis plants and am expecting babies any day now I hope! :) How long after you pollinate the plant does it take for the pods to open up? I'm asking because I will be going out of town for a few days and am not sure if the pods are going to open up while I am gone or not?

    Thanks,

    Kim

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  12. Hi Kim,

    If it is indoors you won't lose any seeds if they open up while you're away. Unless if you have pets or curious kids/adults around who would mess with them. But you could always tie a napkin, or piece of cloth around your seed heads to keep them in place if you're worried about losing them.

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  13. OK Thanks! I'll give it a try

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  14. Hello:

    I have a spectacular bright red amaryllis which I have been propagating for a few years now, and have over 20 bulbs in various stages of maturity. I just read your blog for the first time a couple of weeks ago. My amaryllis does not produce seed pods that "open" of their own accord, the flower stalks wilt before the pods can open and therefore I must perform surgery on the pods to get the seed. They are tiny seeds, about 1mm in size, and are a white to beige color. Last summer I planted a pod full of seeds in a 10" diameter pot, and that pot now has 18 or 20 bulbs ranging from pea size to walnut size. I am in southern CA, and thinking this may have something to do with this (apparently) different method of propagation.

    The mother plant has provided offset bulbs aplenty over the years, and I have friends to whom I've given these "pups", from San Diego to Washington state...much to their delight with the amazing blooms they produce.

    I can provide photos if you would like to see them. I would appreciate any comments you nay care to make about what has now become an amaryllis forest on my patio.

    Regards,

    Dan in Huntington Beach.

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  15. Hi Dan,

    Sorry for the late reply, hope your Amaryllis seedlings are doing great. I don't know what I could say to give you some help since it seems like you're doing a good job growing these bulbs yourself. The one thing I will suggest is that you feed them (fertilize) them enough during the spring and summer to get them to bulk up.

    Feel free to share your pics if you'd like.

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  16. Nice information.


    PS you've used the word "bulb" NINE times in your first paragraph which is only THREE sentences long.

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  17. @ Anonymous, LOL. I'll look into buying a thesaurus. :0P

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  18. Hello..^_^
    i am new with amaryllis..i just got 4 type of them..and my amaryllis bulb is still small/young..
    your blog is the best and i got so many information from this..thank you..^_^
    i need to know where or how i can buy/get the amaryllis bulb/seeds??
    hope some one can share their bulb or seeds with me...
    actually im from Malaysia...^_^
    thank you...
    evy..

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  19. please email me at ddianacarol@ymail.com
    if you want to share your amaryllis bulb and seeds..at Malaysia i cant find many of amaryllis type..
    please email me..thank you...

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  20. Hi there,
    I have just had my 1st pods open up and seeds are looking good. I was just wondering what should one do with the stalk once all seeds are removed? Do you just leave it to die off by itself or do you cut it down?
    Thanks Mike

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  21. Hi Michael,

    You can just cut off the stalk, once the seeds have ripened it will just shrivel and rot.

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  22. I have a question,
    I have just gotten my first amaryllis . I have just pollinated my flower. when the seed pods form will the seeds fallout. will they be able to be planted right away when they fall out of the pod?

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  23. Hi Anonymous,

    Sometimes the seeds may fall out, but in my experience most of them just stay put. They're attached to the pod pretty well. Yes, plant them ASAP, because they don't stay fresh very long.

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  24. We have place two amaryllis bulbs in the ground in our yard. They both flower. Since they are in the ground moving them in doors is not an option. Is there anything that we should or can do to insure they continue to bloom year after year.

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  25. You can easily move them indoors, just dig them up. But you can get them to flower just by fertilizing your bulbs heavily.

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  26. Hi! I have a white and pink amaryllis that is just gorgeous (like all of them) Just self pollited it and will be going to HD to buy potting soil to sow and germinate some of the seeds. I have more seeds coming up in a couple of weeks and a new flower coming up soon. I was wondering if anyone would be interested in trading pollen or possibly the seeds once they germinate. I want more variety, and cannot find any. Well, please contact me even if you do not want to trade pollen or seeds and would just rather donate. Thank you! (1st time pollinator!!!) ceciliaalejandrarivas@gmail.com I live in Southern California, Corona, and my amaryllis is out in the sun and heat, and have never taken the bulb out of it's place (even during winter), and she just keeps on groing and growing. It's the perfect plant/flower for the weather here!

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  27. Cecilia,

    You should try joining a forum like GardenWeb.com that has a lively (at least last time I checked) forum about growing Amaryllis bulbs. They're always really helpful and you could probably find some people there who are looking to trade.

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  28. I am so stoked about this article. I can't wait to try this when my bulbs bloom!

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  29. how can I make my parent plant bloom again?

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  30. Hi, I was wandering if i could polinate Elvas amaryllis. Would it set some seeds or not. Would be possible to cross polinate it or this one is sterile?
    Dominika

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  31. Hello my name is Mary Ann, I have 4 Amaryllis bulbs I planted in my house in pots and their growing so strong and beautiful, there is a lot of long green leafs but no center stem at all. Will the stem come up and flower eventually and why is it taking so long?

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  32. Hey there. I really appreciate the nice pics of what a properly pollinated amaryllis looks like. I have two amaryllis bulbs growing in containers. At first I thought they were dividing because they both just recently started sending up 2 separate sets of leaves and 2 separate flower stalks, but the only info I can find on amaryllis bulbs is that they grow baby bulbs off to the side and do not divide, or you can pollinate them to get seeds.

    So what exactly are my amaryllis bulbs doing if not dividing?

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  33. Hello, I am fertilizing the stigma just as you said, but I do not get any seed pods. The flower fades and the pods turn yellow and die. I have successfully done this a few years ago with no trouble. Now that I have other plants it does not seem to work. What am I doing wrong? Thanks for your help.

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  34. Good day, I'm a new Amaryllis fan....do I have to remove the bulbs from the soil at the end of the season?

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  35. Why did my bright red amaryllis turn other colors - pink and white, white, orange with stripes, orange w blotches. Mi don't like the new colors. I cut their pollen sacks before they open and pollinate w the big red one's pollen. It seems like the pollination would determine the DNA in seeds. How does the DNa in the existing plant get changed? If each flower on a stalk is pollinated with pollin from a different color bulb,mill each seed pod carry different DNA? And what if one stigma has several pollin types? So curious!

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  36. my mum has started to cultive amarylis from the seeds of her own plants, and has noticed that some seed pods remain green while others turn red, from the same plant. Why is this? Can anyone help?

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  37. I was able to successfully self pollinate my Apple Blossom Amaryllis, on my first attempt. Have a nice healthy seed pod.

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