Keep your amaryllis blooming
Amaryllis (Hippeastrum hybrids) have beautiful, exotic flowers that come in an array of colors and are most often purchased and grown to bloom around the holidays. But you don’t have to pitch them when the holidays are over! If it’s hard to say goodbye to your beautiful amaryllis flowers, follow our steps below. Come summertime, you’ll be greeted by another round of these blooming beauties.
Step 1: Encourage your amaryllis bulb to bloom
Start with the biggest amaryllis bulb you can buy, and choose a container that’s 1 ½ 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. Then, to care for the bulb:
- Water thoroughly and set it in a sunny south-facing window. Once you see green peeking from the top of the bulb, start watering every time the soil gets dry (about once a week depending on conditions).
- Fertilize with a water-soluble plant food.
- Over the next few weeks, several stalks emerge and eventually set buds and bloom. When the amaryllis blooms open, move the plant out of direct light so the color doesn’t fade. Remove the spent flowers as needed.
Step 2: Let the amaryllis bulb go dormant
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 so that the bulb can store up energy to bloom again later. Then it’s time to force the bulb into dormancy:
- 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.
Step 3: Prepare the amaryllis bulb to bloom again
After the rest period of eight to 10 weeks, bring your amaryllis back out and start the process all over.
- Pull off the dead foliage and then water the amaryllis. You may need to set the pot in a tub of water to rehydrate dry soil.
- Set it once again in a sunny window and begin regularly watering and fertilizing as green growth emerges.
- In several weeks, you can expect another round of blooms!
How long will my amaryllis bulb last?
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 after a couple years. 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?