If you have ever purchased or been given an amaryllis plant, you know how beautiful they are. Amaryllis make spectacular houseplants, especially at Christmas time. I like to plant several each year to give as Christmas and hostess gifts. After they finish blooming, you can save the bulbs for a similar display next year. Just follow the simple steps below…
Once the blooms have all faded, cut off the flower stem just above where it comes out of the bulb. You might notice that the bulb is slightly softer or smaller than when you first planted (or received) it. That’s because it has used up a lot of the material inside the bulb to make the flowers and stems you’ve just witnessed. To bloom again, it must begin the process of restoring that material and fattening the bulb to its former state.
To do this, you should treat your amaryllis bulb like a houseplant. If it is in a pot without drainage holes (many of my Christmas planters use inexpensive pots without drainage) transplant it to one with holes. As it grows more leaves, water it sparingly, only when the soil looks very dry. Once a month, add fertilizer to the water to keep the supply of nutrients available. Give it as much bright light as you can during the winter months. In summer, take it outside, and put it in bright or filtered, but not direct sunlight.
By the end of the summer, the bulb should feel much plumper and fuller. At the end of September let the amaryllis bulb go dormant. Bring it inside, and stop watering it. Once the soil has dried out, the leaves will begin to die. When they have all turned yellow and then brown, the bulb is dormant. You can cut off all the leaves just above the neck and pull the whole bulb and root ball out of the pot. Shake off the soil and trim the roots back to about two inches. The bulb will look just like it was when you first got it.
Leave the bulb somewhere cool and dry until the beginning of November (if you want blooms for Christmas), when you can plant it in a pot of fresh soil and start the flowering process all over again. Plant the bulb so the top third of the bulb is exposed. Mine take about seven weeks after they are planted to bloom. November 6th is my plant day for a Christmas bloom time, you can adjust accordingly. Add a stake to attach to the growing plant in your container since many of the stalks get top heavy. If you’re careful, you can keep this flowering-and-replenishing cycle going for years. The bulb will grow larger each year and gradually start producing second and sometimes even third flower stalks.
If you try this method, please be sure to let me know how it works for you!