Amaryllis – Care after Bloom

dutch master

Q: How do I care for an amaryllis after it blooms for Christmas?

A: Once all of the flowers have opened and faded, cut the stiff bloom stalk at its base and remove it. Keep the pot, with its green leaves, in a sunny window. Water occasionally to keep the soil slightly moist, not soggy.

In late April, when the soil is warm outdoors, plant the bulb in a sunny spot. Mix some slow release granular fertilizer (click for sources) into the soil at planting. Leave about an inch of the bulb neck showing above the soil surface.

Now you have two options:

1.Leave the bulb in place and let it bloom naturally in May.  Put a light covering of pine straw over the bulb bed to protect it in winter.  see Planting amaryllis outdoors

2. Leave it in place for summer but lift it in fall to force it to bloom at Christmas.

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 warm, 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.

amaryllis bulbs

amaryllis (2)

amaryllis 2

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