Potting amaryllis bulb
Start by finding the right pot. Most important: the pot must have a drainage hole. Second, it needs to accommodate the bulb. Choose one that's an inch or two wider than the diameter of the bulb. Check the depth, too. Ideally, you have room for an inch or two of soil below the bulb once it's been planted. Keep in mind that your amaryllis will be a bit top-heavy when it blooms, so a heavier pot is better.
Use fresh potting soil and moisten it before planting the bulb. This makes it easier to work with. If the soil goes in dry, it's hard to get the bulb situated. Do not use regular garden soil; it will not drain properly and your bulb might rot.
Position the bulb so the top third will remain above the soil surface. Leave an inch or so between the soil surface and the rim of the pot. This will make it easier to water the bulb thoroughly. Be sure to pack the soil around the bulb, giving the plant a good foundation for when it's in flower.
Place the pot in a relatively cool, bright location. Direct sunlight is not essential. Water sparingly until you see about 2″ of new growth. In some cases, the flower stalk appears first; sometimes it's the strappy leaves. Either way is fine. Once the plant is in active growth, water regularly and turn the pot periodically to encourage the stalk to grow straight. Buds will appear and blooms will begin to open within five to eight weeks. To prolong the blooms, keep the pot away from heat and direct sunlight. Sometimes the long flower stems benefit from a little extra support. An amaryllis support stake does the job nicely.
Paperwhite Narcissus will grow happily and bloom with nothing more than water and stones or pebbles.
Growing Paperwhites in water:
To "plant" your bulbs, begin by carefully placing a layer of stones or pebbles to a depth of about 2" in a small vase or about 4" in a larger vase.
Next place a layer of Paperwhite bulbs close to each other, roots facing down. Put a few stones or pebbles around and between the bulbs to anchor them in the vase. Leave the tops of the bulbs exposed.
Finally, add water until the level reaches just below the base of the bulbs, but no higher (if the bases of the bulbs sit in water, they will rot).
Growing Paperwhites in soil:
To pot the bulbs with potting mix, begin by placing the potting mix in a plastic tub. Slowly add water and stir until the mix is moist but not soggy. Add moistened mix to the accompanying container until it is about 3/4 full.
Set the bulbs, pointed end up, on top of the mix. Space the bulbs very closely; they should almost touch. Then add more mix, covering the bulbs up to their necks and leaving the tips exposed. Water thoroughly.
Rooting and care
Set your container or vase in a cool (50-60°F is ideal) place away from direct sunlight. Check the bulbs frequently and water thoroughly when the potting mix is dry 1" below the surface (but not more than once a week until the bulbs begin active growth), or when the water level is more than 1" below the stones or glass in your vase.
If your bulbs are in a bowl (a pot without a drainage hole), water with extra care: Bulbs sitting in soggy potting mix soon rot.
Once a week, tug gently on the bulbs to see if they have begun to product roots. When your tug meets with firm resistance (usually about 3 weeks after potting), move the container to a sunny window.
Keep a close eye on watering. Bulbs in active growth can dry out in just a day or two.
When Paperwhites are forced to bloom indoors, they have a tendency to topple when in flower. Hold them upright with the bulb supports or with bamboo stakes and twine (available at garden centers). If you use supports, set them in place when the bulb shoots are 8-10" tall by inserting the legs at regular intervals along the inside edge of the container. As the leaves and stems grow, a few will find their way outside the ring. Gently bend them and push them back inside.
After Paperwhites finish blooming, we recommend that you throw the bulbs out or toss them on the compost pile. They won't bloom again indoors.