Finally, a no-maintenance plant


But. Unsurprisingly, that is the opposite of what many gardeners want. After paying scant attention to this trend as talk of it reached me last year, I finally took the plunge and ordered 3 waxed amaryllis bulbs, with plans of buying more. Never fear, I already have 13 of the regular type: huge, beautiful specimens from John Scheepers.

I ignored the ones in our local supermarket, as these had overdone it with the wax, using 3 different colors, but I was able to find plain light green ones (as above) and a red one online. I love planting, forcing, and otherwise working with bulbs in the usual ways, but part of my fascination with them is that they really are as close to plug-and-play as it gets. Just throw them in the ground. This one, which just requires you to place it on a shelf—no watering, no soil—is an extension of that carefree magic. Amaryllises (actually hippeastrum) are already about as magical as plants can get, with their outrageously huge blooms and minimal requirements. The one problem is how to get them to rebloom year after year. One can, especially with the more basic red varieties, but the instructions often involve an outdoor period during the summer, then a basement period, before bringing them to a sunny window to bloom. Which they may or may not do. With the waxed types, there is no question of rebloom, or so I hear; they are one-use.

I am giving a few of these as gifts, to fellow gardeners and to friends/relatives who I know have no desire to take care of any plant. I think they’re fun. However, not everyone is a fan, according to comments on I got on Facebook and Instagram recently:

“Crime against Nature!
“Not normal.”
“I confess it gives me the creeps. I like roots and soil and all that good stuff.”

On the other hand, some commenters were simply curious, and some love them:

“I don’t know what @#$%^&@ they are, but the 2 I bought bloomed beautifully and twice!”
“I’m all for low maintenance, easy with good returns.”
“I love them. And I’d love to know why y’all don’t.”
“They can be successfully be grown upside down, which makes for a stunning display.”

My only issue is that some vendors have gone too far with decorating the bulbs. Way too far. Otherwise, I say yea.


  1. After they are done blooming, what do you do with them. Can they be grown again after going dormant? Do they go dormant?

  2. I bought one at Trader Joe’s last year. It ended up being the most glorious velvety, deep red I had ever seen. After it completed blooming, I very carefully removed the wax, planted it in my usual amaryllis mix where it happily bloomed another two times! That’s what I call bang for the buck!

  3. My amaryllis bulbs, red as well as pink and white, bloom every year, year after year. I’ve had some bulbs for 10 years. Whether I take them outside for the summer or leave them in the window, I never withhold water to force them to bloom at Christmas. They bloom at various times between January and April, when I can really appreciate having flowering plants.

  4. Gotta admit I am in the ‘crime against Nature’ category. Plant torture. I have several that bloom every year. Seems wasteful to only have one Hurrah.

  5. I got a package the other day – had no idea what it was – opened it up to find a waxed amaryllis!! Jason Perkins just sent me one for free – brilliant idea because if it performs “as advertised” I am sure to buy some next year! I’ve never had success with amaryllis so I’m anxious to see how it does!!

  6. As long as you can get your head around the idea of throwing out the bulb, this works for me – and having grown them, throwing it out is really the best idea unless you’re a masochist. Fun, minimalist idea and right on trend with packaging/look. I think many people would be grateful to be given something that would grow, but that would absolve them from after-care. For others, it might spark an inner fire to grow things.

  7. Because of our podcast, I ordered two this year. I like your green one better. Mine are red and gold-ish. Some of the wax fell off in the box which made me wonder if I should glue it back on? I will say this, the red one is growing as I write. The gold one is sitting there. I think they’re a little creepy, but if I’m going to talk about them, I thought I should try them. I’ll let you know.~~Dee

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