National Garden Bureau's Bulb of the Year 2023 revealed – and it's a stunner!

Step forward the spectacular tropical amaryllis to take the crown as National Garden Bureau's Bulb of the Year 2023

Temptation amaryllis in bloom
(Image credit: Dutch Grown/National Garden Bureau)

The prestigious US National Garden Bureau has given amaryllis the honor of Bulb of the Year 2023, putting this stunning, yet easy-to-care-for plant center stage.

'The members of National Garden Bureau have chosen amaryllis to be our “Year of the” plant in the bulb category because they are wildly popular, easy to grow and bring much-needed joy indoors during cold and dreary winter months,' says spokesperson Diane Blazek. 

At a time of year when planting bulbs is top of most people's to-do list, just what is it about this pretty plant that means you should consider adding it to your planting list? 

white and pink amaryllis in bloom

Amaryllis 'Magic Green'

(Image credit: Dutch Grown/National Garden Bureau)

Why has amaryllis been crowned Bulb of the Year 2023?

'Whether single-flowered or double, they come in many colors and bulb sizes so there is something for everyone,' says Diane Blazek from the National Garden Bureau.

Native to Africa, the genus amaryllis comes from the Greek word amarysso, which means ‘to sparkle’. The bulbs were brought to Europe in the 1700s and then to the USA, and have been known to bloom for up to 75 years. 

As well as the popular reds and pinks, the large, trumpet-shaped flowers, come in a range of colors including white, yellow and variegated. The amaryllis is also easy to grow, making it well-suited to a variety of growing conditions.

dark pink Amaryllis plants in bloom

Amaryllis 'Temptation'

(Image credit: Dutch Grown/National Garden Bureau)

A star performer

'Amaryllis has everything going for it,' says Elle Meager, CEO of gardening and homesteading website Outdoor Happens, who was apprenticed in a Dutch bulb nursery specializing in raising the plant. 'Each variety flaunts gorgeous flowers that are unrivaled. There aren't many plants that are quite as spectacular when in bloom as the amaryllis.'

Elle says that what she loves most is its versatility: 'In warmer regions, this is a bulb you can plant and forget. Once planted, it requires almost no care to keep flowering profusely and it multiplies by itself – giving you free plants to re-plant in a different location or container. 

'In cooler regions, you can grow amaryllis outdoors when the weather is warm, and move it indoors or to a warmer location before the first frosts arrive.'

White Nymph amaryllis in bloom

Amaryllis 'White Nymph'

(Image credit: Dutch Grown/National Garden Bureau)

The perfect holiday plant

Amaryllis is one of best Thanksgiving and Christmas plants you can give. 'It’s perfect for bringing color into anyone’s home, especially during the dreary winter season,' says Jeremy Yamaguchi, CEO of Lawn Love

'Amaryllis plants are tall, have large blossoms, and just have a really cool, unique appearance. They make an excellent gift or addition to your own indoor garden during the holiday season. Their flowers are red or pink, they thrive at this time of year.'

They're also one of the top options if you want to learn how to force bulbs indoors for a bright and bold seasonal holiday display. 

With so many benefits, will you be adding amaryllis to your bulb planting list?

Jayne Dowle
Freelance writer

Jayne Dowle is an award-winning gardening, homes and property writer who writes for publications including Sunday Times Home, Times Bricks & Mortar, Grand Designs, House Beautiful and The Spectator. She was awarded the Garden Journalist of the Year accolade at the Property Press Awards in 2021.