If you are like most people, you have probably seen amaryllis bulbs on sale during the Christmas holidays. If you are lucky, you may have even received one as a gift and forced it into winter bloom. You may be wondering what to do with the bulb once the flowers fade. Many mistakenly discard the bulb thinking it will not rebloom. The truth is, you can rebloom your amaryllis bulb for years with a little care. Here’s how.
- Cut back the flower stalks after the flowers fade and the stalk turns yellow, but leave the foliage. The leaves will continue to grow and manufacture the starch needed for the bulb to produce new blooms the following year.
- Move the bulb to bright light and keep the soil slightly moist.
- Move the amaryllis outside once all danger of frost has passed in your area. You can transplant it to the soil, if preferred. I typically sink the pot into the soil in my flower bed so that it can be moved inside when the weather cools in the fall. If you live in a tropical region (USDA Plant Hardiness zones 8 and above) you can grow your amaryllis outside all year.
- Place the plant in a sheltered area for several days and gradually move it to an area that receives full sun for at least 6 hours a day. This helps the plant adjust to outside conditions and prevents damage from the wind and sun.
- Water the amaryllis whenever the soil feels dry to the touch. Plants grown in containers or pots may require daily watering as the soil in containers dries quickly in the summer sun. Those grown in the soil typically require watering once or twice a week or whenever the soil feels dry 1 inch below the surface.
- Fertilize your amaryllis with water-soluble fertilizer every 10 to 14 days. Those grown in the soil can be fertilized less frequently at 3 to 4 week intervals. Frequent watering causes nutrients to leach through the bottom of the pot and must be replaced more frequently for those grown in containers.
- Withhold water and fertilizer in late summer or early fall to encourage the plant to go dormant, if you intend to force the bulb into bloom in mid winter. If you prefer to let your amaryllis bloom naturally, continue with regular care but move it inside.
Some amaryllis plants bloom twice a year. Planting yours outside in the spring may result in another flush of blooms by mid summer. Growing them inside as avhouseplant is also an option, but be sure to place them in a sunny window. Amaryllis tend to produce larger and showier blooms each year.