‘Tis the season for giving…and receiving! If the lists of gifts you have given or received include the ever-popular amaryllis, you may be left thinking: This flower is gorgeous! But what will I do with it once it is finished blooming?
In all my searching online, I’ve found it difficult to locate any straight-forward and concise information regarding the care of an amaryllis once it has finished its’ bloom cycle. However, it is very possible and quite simple to care for your amaryllis and encourage it to bloom again! I thought I would compile my own experiences along with other tips and tricks I’ve heard or read for my readers all in one place:
- Once the amaryllis bloom has faded (typically in January if grown for the holidays), the flower stalk should be cut back as you would with most plants grown from flower bulbs. This will enable the bulb to make more food and energy for the bulb itself, rather than into producing seeds. Be sure to give the bulb lots of light and warmth at this point.
- Continue to allow the amaryllis foliage to grow by placing them in a warm, south-facing window (if possible) and provide just enough water so that the soil does not dry out. Once the temperatures at nighttime are consistently above 50 degrees F, the bulb can be moved outdoors if desired. For the best show of blooms during the next cycle, the foliage should be allowed to grow for 4-6 months.
- Unlike some other bulbs, amaryllis do NOT need a cold period but DO require a dormancy period. After this 4-6 month growth period (typically in June), begin to withhold water. If you have your amaryllis bulb in a pot outdoors, attempt to eliminate any rain water from reaching the soil by either tipping the pot on its side or covering it.
- Once the leaves are completely dry and brown (this should take just a few weeks from the time water is withheld), remove them by cutting them off at the crown of the bulb. If the bulb has been growing outdoors, bring inside once temperatures fall below 50 degrees F.
- An amaryllis bulb requires two to three months of dormancy in order to rejuvenate itself for the next cycle. To prepare the bulb for this period, remove it from the soil and allow it to dry. Remove any excess dirt but gently brushing and/or washing the bulb. Place the bulb in a cool, dry place where you won’t forget it’s there 🙂
- After this 2-3 month dormancy period has passed (typically in early October), replant the bulb and water it once to “wake it up” from its slumber. When it dries out, water again lightly and continue this process until new growth appears.
- Once new growth begins (typically in late October), move the pot to the sunniest window you have and water well but be sure to avoid overwatering which is one of the biggest culprits for rotten amaryllis. However, do not allow the soil to dry out in between waterings as you did prior to the new growth. Once the blooms appear, the plant can be moved to a somewhat less sunny spot to prolong the bloomtime.
- Repeat above steps once bloom has faded!
Hopefully these steps will help you to enjoy your amaryllis over and over again or perhaps you can pass them along to the recipients of the amaryllis YOU will give this year! After all, they make great gifts for the “hard-to-shop” for people on your list, such as the mailman, the dog-walker, the hair dresser, or maybe even your grandmother!
Good luck to you as you prepare for the upcoming Christmas season…remember to take some time to relax and enjoy this wonderful time of year!