Amaryllis – Forcing for Christmas

Q: I have an amaryllis that bloomed this past spring and the leaves look very healthy now. How can I make it bloom this Christmas?

A: All you have to do is fool the bulb into thinking it’s spring in December! First, carefully dig up your bulb. Cut off the leaves in early September and place the bulb in a cool, dry place. In this way, you will give it the signal that fall and winter have arrived. The bulb will begin the process of preparing to bloom when warmer weather comes. In late November, plant the bulb in a pot, allowing an inch of the neck to show above the potting soil. Feed it with half-strength houseplant fertilizer. Place it in a warm, sunny window. In two weeks, the first leaves will appear, followed by a bloom stalk. If it does not bloom, don’t worry. Just plant it back outdoors next spring and leave it to bloom naturally each May in your garden.

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