Amaryllis – Fall Care

Q: I have an amaryllis in a large pot with potting soil. How should I care for it?

A: You can keep the amaryllis in a pot if you like but it probably will not bloom again, particularly if you leave it indoors. Even if you keep the plant outdoors, the pot might restrict root growth and thereby restrict blooming.

I advise planting it in a sunny, rich bed in your landscape and letting it grow there. Remember to leave at least a fourth of the bulb (the “neck”) aboveground. You can either leave it there permanently or you can try to force it to bloom next Christmas.

To accomplish that, carefully dig up your bulb in early September. Cut off the leaves and place the amaryllis 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.

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 for you, 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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