After the holidays, the only thing sadder than disposing of your Christmas tree is watching your beautiful amaryllis blooms fade. Alas, like most flowers, these bold blooms are here for a good time, not a long time. However, that doesn’t mean you should toss your amaryllis bulb into the compost heap just yet! With a little TLC, your amaryllis can live to see another year—and another beautiful blooming period!
How to Care for Amaryllis
Amaryllis have similar needs to the other bulbs in your garden: moisture, light, food, and a period of dormancy. As the blooms fade, the foliage appears--make sure to leave the leaves, as they’ll produce energy for next year’s flowers. Clip off the spent bloom, and your amaryllis can be kept as a houseplant after the holiday season. Place it somewhere sunny, continue to keep the soil slightly moist (not wet!), and fertilize the soil once per month.
After the last frost of the spring, you can migrate your amaryllis outdoors. Harden it off gently by moving it outside for a few hours at a time, gradually increasing sun exposure by an hour at a time, over a period of one to two weeks. Once your amaryllis is prepped to live outdoors, you can introduce it to your container gardens to add some variety, plant it in your garden beds, or simply keep it in its own little pot. Even though the next bloom cycle is months away, it will still add its own personality to your garden! The objective during this stage is to encourage your amaryllis to gather as much energy as possible to prepare it to bloom again next season.
In late summer or early fall, bring your amaryllis indoors, if it’s been living outside. Make sure to check your bulb for any pests that might have traveled inside with it. Also, stop watering the plant—it’s time for your amaryllis to rest and rejuvenate!
How to Get an Amaryllis Bulb to Bloom Again
The trick to getting amaryllis bulbs to rebloom is to bring them into dormancy for a period of ten to twelve weeks. Just like other bulbs that you can grow indoors, such as paperwhites, amaryllis bulbs need to “rest” before they can begin a flowering period. Stop watering and fertilizing. Place it in a cool, dry, dark room: a basement storage room or the back of a closet is ideal. If possible, store in an area with a temperature between 50-60˚F. When the foliage is completely dry and brown, clip all the foliage down to within 1-2” inches of the top of the bulb.
Now, just forget about the thing! Don’t water it, touch it, or even look at it for up for around three months. It might be a good idea to mark your calendar, so you don’t forget about it forever!
After the dormant period of two to five months, it’s time to wake up your bulb. Bring your amaryllis out of storage and repot it in fresh potting soil, with the shoulders of the bulb above the soil line. Place it in a beautiful, sunny location in your house with temperatures around 60-65 degrees. Give it one generous drink of water, and within days, new foliage should begin to emerge!
Once your amaryllis has begun to grow, resume your regular watering/feeding schedule, taking care to keep the soil at a steady moisture level. Before long, you’ll be basking yet again in those glorious, colorful blooms!
Will Waxed Amaryllis Rebloom?
If you’re wondering how to recreate this process with a waxed amaryllis bulb, I’m sorry to say that you can only get one good bloom out of them. One of the downfalls of these convenient waxed options is that they won’t bloom again. This is why we prefer to grow big, healthy, beautiful amaryllis bulbs the old-fashioned way. Once you know how to care for them through the rest of the year, you can enjoy them for multiple years!
As you can see, by encouraging your amaryllis to bloom again, your plant will live many different lives over the span of a year. From holiday gift plant, to houseplant, to garden plant, to closet-dweller, your amaryllis is built to keep changing with the seasons. Try to keep yours around for another bloom cycle—you may end up enjoying the process as much as the bulb itself!
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