Ready to see those beautiful amaryllis blooms in winter and summer? Let us show you how to help plants bloom twice a year.
The bigger, the better
Start with the biggest bulb you can buy. Choose a container that’s 1 1⁄2 or 2 in. wider than the diameter of the bulb. Put the bulb in all-purpose potting mix and let the top quarter poke above the soil line. Water your container thoroughly and set it in a sunny south-facing window to get the bulb going. Once you see green peeking from the top of the bulb, start watering every time the soil gets dry (about once a week). You can also start fertilizing with a water-soluble plant food. Over the next few weeks, you’ll see several stalks emerge and eventually set buds and bloom. When the blooms open, move the plant out of direct light so the color doesn’t fade. Remove the spent flowers as they fade.
A well-deserved rest
When the flowers are done, cut the spent flower stalks back near the base. Let the foliage grow for a couple months and keep up the watering and fertilizing schedule. Then it’s time to force the bulb into dormancy. So stop watering and move your amaryllis to a cool, dark place — 40 to 45 degrees F. You might want to tip the pot so you won’t absentmindedly water it. Let the bulb rest like this for eight to 10 weeks. Don’t worry about removing any of the foliage right now.
After the rest period, bring your amaryllis back out and start over. Pull off the dead foliage and water. You may need to set the pot in a tub of water to rehydrate dry soil. In several weeks, you can expect another round of blooms. Pushing an amaryllis to rebloom takes its toll. And your bulb will probably get smaller each time, ending up as mostly just a papery husk that you’ll throw away. But by following these steps, you can get several flushes of blooms over a couple of years from one bulb. And who wouldn’t want that?