The amaryllis provides a vibrant splash of color during the winter
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This article was originally published on Nov. 28, 2021.
A lovely plant that often provides a splash of vibrant color any time during the winter is the amaryllis. You can get indoor blooms year after year, if you care for it properly.
Select large, firm bulbs. Larger bulbs will yield more blooms. When you initially purchase your amaryllis bulb, follow the instructions that come with the bulb. Whatever pot you use must have drainage holes.
The blooms will last longer if the plant is moved out of direct sunlight. Keep the plant watered regularly, but not consistently wet—allow the top ½” of soil to dry between watering. Remove the faded blossoms behind the seed capsule as they start to die—leave the main flower stem until it turns yellow, then cut it off about one inch above the bulb.
For blooms in subsequent years follow these guidelines:
Move the plant so it can get as much direct sunlight as possible. Water as you did during bloom and fertilize once or twice a month with a flowering-plant fertilizer according to the product label. The objective is to get as much energy and growth as possible back into the bulb before the next blooming season.
Indoors or outdoors?
If you don’t have a window that will provide a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight each day your amaryllis will do better outside during the summer. This is essential for full bulb re-charge.
After all chance of frost is over you can work them to an outside location. Start in the shade, and take about one week to gradually increase the amount of direct light each day, reaching a minimum of 6 hours of direct sun—more is better. When night temperatures near 50⁰F it is time to bring them back indoors.
It is recommended that you leave the plant in the pot even when the plants are outdoors, just be consistent in your watering.
The modern, hybrid amaryllis does not usually require dormancy to re-bloom, but it will respond better, and re-bloom can be better timed with a dry dormancy period.
It will take about 16 – 18 weeks to go from the beginning of dormancy to a new bloom. So if you want your blooms at Christmas time, you should start the dormancy period by early- to mid-August. You can also time them for Valentine’s Day or Easter, starting them about 4 ½ months before the bloom is needed.
To induce dormancy, stop watering the plant and move it to a cool, dry location (a garage will work fine if it doesn’t freeze). You can leave it in a window, but do not water it. After about 12 weeks you can bring the plant into a good growing environment. Remove any dead or yellowed leaves and water the plant. In 4 – 6 weeks you should have new blooms.
Once your amaryllis starts to develop baby bulbs, they should be separated and re-potted. Re-potting should be done at the end of the dormancy treatment.
Good luck, and may you be able to brighten the dark winter months with beautiful amaryllis blooms.