Amaryllis Care and Re-Blooming

The large, ornate flowers of the Amaryllis plant make an excellent feature for the holiday season. They come in a variety of colors, but are most commonly available in pink, red, and white. An Amaryllis is perhaps the easiest bulb to grow indoors and, when properly cared for, can re-bloom year after year. Bulbs can be planted from October until the end of April and will present their flowers from late December through June. For continuous blooming, plant a new Amaryllis bulb every two weeks.

 

Be sure to select a high quality bulb that is free of rot and mold. The bulb should be at least two and a half inches in diameter. Quality bulbs should produce two flower stalks, with at least four blooms each.

Planting

Plant the bulb in all-purpose potting soil so that one-third to one-half of the bulb is showing above the soil. Be sure not to use moisture-control potting soil because it will hold too much water and rot the bulb. Do not compress the soil down as this will naturally occur during the first watering. Water the bulb so the soil is moist. A terracotta pot is often preferred since using a plastic pot can become top heavy and may tip over. A six-inch diameter pot is usually large enough to leave about two inches of soil space around the bulb.

Care

Place the potted bulb in a warm spot (with moderate temperatures between 55° and 65°F) and the blooms should last about two weeks. Warmer temperatures will result in a weak plant while cooler conditions can prolong the flowering period. Direct sunlight is not important during flowering. Water with warm water, sparingly, until the tip of the flower bud appears. Try to keep the soil slightly moist at all times, but never too wet. Once the bud and leaves appear, gradually increase watering. Rotate the container regularly to keep the plant growing straight, as it will naturally grow towards the light. Keep the area around the plant humid to mimic their ideal, natural conditions. This can be achieved with the use a humidifier, a mister, or with pebble trays. For some helpful information on adding humidity to your houseplants, read this article from The National Gardening Association. It will take about six to eight weeks, from the initial planting, for your Amaryllis to bloom.

Re-Blooming

Cut the round flower stalk down to the top of the bulb. A large amount of sap may run from the wound of an adequately watered plant. After removing the flower stalk, provide the plant with more light as it begins to prepare for next year. Let the foliage continue to grow and fertilize once a month. Plants can be brought outdoors in the morning light once there is no risk of frost. You can also place the pot in a hole in the garden, to allow an easy removal in the fall. While your Amaryllis is outdoors, the leaves may wither and die and should be removed so new ones can grow in their place. 

 

As cooler weather approaches you should gradually reduce the watering schedule. Be sure to bring the plant inside before the threat of freezing weather. Trim all of the foliage off once it dies back. At this point, place the pot in a cool, dark location (40-50°F), such as a basement, with the pot turned on its side. The bulb should stay in this resting period for at least six weeks. To have the bulb ready for replanting and blooming around Christmas, the blub should be moved into this resting state by the end of September. Do not water during this resting period. After the resting period, the bulb should be replanted in new potting soil. Be careful not to damage the roots. After the first year the leaves will either appear before or at the same time as the bloom. If your amaryllis does not re-bloom, with proper care, it can re-bloom in the future.