PLANTING & CARE - AMARYLLIS BULB
Planting a New Amaryllis Bulb
- Choose a bulb(s) that’s plump and still has some roots at the base.
- Make sure the pot you chose is just large enough for the bulb. Generally a 5 – 7″ pot will work fine. The bulb needs to feel crowded to bloom.
- Partially fill the pot with potting mix and place the bulb so that top third of it will be exposed when you fill in potting soil around the sides of the pot.
- Place a bamboo stalk along side the bulb. It can get top heavy and inserting the stake now will help avoid damaging the bulb and roots later.
- Make sure to water your amaryllis well.
- Place the pot in bright, indirect light and keep the soil moist, but not wet.
- A thick flower stalk should shoot up within a few weeks. The flat leaves will follow as the flower stalk matures.
- Turn the pot every few days, so the flower stalk gets uniform exposure on all sides and grows straight.
- Feed with a half strength water soluble fertilizer every 2-3 weeks.
- When the flowers fade, cut the flower stalk back to just above the bulb. Keep watering the plant until it goes dormant in the fall. You can move or plant the Amaryllis outdoors for the summer, in partial shade.
Forcing an Existing Amaryllis Plant to Bloom for the Holidays
- To force bloom for the winter holidays, cut back the flower stalk after blooming stops, but allow the foliage to grow. You can place your plant outdoors for summer, if you like, in partial shade.
- Keep watered so the soil is moist, but not wet.
- Stop feeding in August.
- When it’s time to bring plants indoors, in September or October, move your Amaryllis to a cool (55 to 60 degrees F.), dry spot and stop watering it. The foliage will already be dying back. If you want your Amaryllis to bloom at a specific time, Thanksgiving or Christmas, count backwards about 10 – 12 weeks, to determine when to stop watering, and cross your fingers.
- The lack of foliage and water will induce the amaryllis to send out another flower stalk. Resume watering at this time and move the plant to a warm, sunny spot. Leaves will follow shortly and then blooms.
- When the flowers fade, start the process over.
General Care & Growing Tips for Amaryllis
- Whatever method you choose, resume feeding your Amaryllis, after flowering.
- As your Amaryllis bulb gets larger, you will need to increase the size of the pot. Just make sure it’s still a cozy fit.
- Amaryllis bulbs will produce side bulbs, like daffodils. Carefully remove these bulbils and pot up for more plants. Give them a few seasons of growth before expecting flowers.
- Some warmth is needed when forcing begins, but flowers will last longer if the plant is kept in a cool spot, once it blooms.
- If your Amaryllis won’t go dormant, remove the remaining leaves and repot.
- Keep on the lookout for spider mites and mealy bugs.