One of my favorite Christmas gifts is an amaryllis bulb that I can plant and grow with the anticipation of having a huge gorgeous flower sometime in the spring. Sometimes they come with a decorative pot and soil, other times they are not so fancy but either way they are a real treat. After they bloom the challenge to carry them over to the following year and have them bloom becomes paramount. Sometime I follow “the rules” and sometimes the poor bulbs have had to “duke it out” on their own, but most bulbs have survived year after year and produced as though they were young again.
The key to success seems to be two fold:
1. After the plant blooms, leave the foliage on the plant until it yellows so it can build up plenty of food for the next bloom.
2. Let the bulb rest during the summer and don’t get discouraged when it looks dead. It will probably start growing again in the fall.
Here are the “rules” but keep in mind the two key points above as the most important factors to success. I’m assuming that you did NOT get soil and pot with the bulb; if you did, ignore the comments on the container and soil under “Materials”.
Use a container that is snug; about 1” more in diameter than the bulb and deep enough so that the nose and shoulder of the bulb is higher than the soil level.
Use a mixture of 2 parts sterile, pH neutral potting soil to one part sand.
The small flowered amaryllis with small bulbs are easier to easier to rebloom than the large flowered kinds.
1. Place a layer of soil in the bottom of the pot and pack more soil around it.
2. Soak the potting mixture thoroughly and tap down the soil.
3. When the bulb sprouts begin to turn green begin to water, being careful that water does not accumulate in the bulb nose.
4. Keep plant in a warm brightly lit place but out of direct sunlight once the flower opens. If the flower becomes too heavy, stake the flowering shoot.
5. After the flower fades, place in a sunny place and fertilize with a liquid plant food every weeks to encourage vigorous growth and a large amount of food stored in the bulb.
6. If convenient and the weather is reasonable (not too much wind etc.) place the bulb out doors for the summer so that it does not sit in direct sun at noon.
7. In early fall, bring the plant in, hold back on water, remove the leaves as they die and wait 8-10 weeks.
8. Resume watering
Amaryllis are gorgeous when grown in a pot but they also make good flowers for the vase if you have an inclination to cut them. Since the flowers can be so heavy they have to be staked, cutting them and using them is an arrangement is a good compromise and won’t effect the rebloom.