Chances are, you were gifted an Amaryllis plant during the holidays, it’s finished blooming, and you’re thinking, “What should I do now, or should I throw it away?” We hope this article helps you in your decision.
Where to buy:
Amaryllis can be purchased as bare or planted bulbs. Bulbs can be purchased from reputable catalog companies, box stores, or your local greenhouse. Select the largest available bulbs of the desired variety. The larger the bulb, the more flowers it will produce. Bulbs should be well dry with no signs of mold, rot or damage. Choose bright green bulbs. Check the height of mature plants. Remember you get what you pay for. If you plan to enjoy amaryllis plants every year, it will cost you $$ to spend.
When to plant:
It takes six to eight weeks to flower, so plant in mid-October for Christmas flowers. Wax amaryllis she blooms in 4 to 6 weeks. Flowering time depends on the variety. Different weeks given by different sources. It also depends on the temperature at which the plants are placed.
three planting method
● Potted plant. Choose a container 1 to 2 inches wider than the bulb. Make sure the pot has a drainage hole. Use a nutritional potting mix. Place the potting mix in the bottom of the pot and press the bulb down firmly into the center, leaving the bulb half above the soil and adding additional mix. Leave a 1 inch gap between the top of the soil and the rim of the pot. empty. The bulb should be installed above the container. Water until the potting soil is completely moist.
● wax light bulb No planting or watering required. You can decorate it with fake snow or wrap it in moss. With coiled wire embedded in the base, it can be free standing, placed in a clear glass vase, or included in holiday decorations.
● water planting. Choose a vase that is slightly larger than the bulb. Use decorative stones or glass pebbles and water. Start by adding decorative stones to 2/3 to 3/4 of the vase. You can add aquarium charcoal to prevent odors. Cut off dead or brown roots. It leaves white fleshy roots. Gently place the root and part of the base of the bulb into the stone. Add more water, making sure only the roots and base of the bulb are touching the water. Bulbs will rot if left in water.
Once potted, place the plant in a warm place (70-75 degrees). Allow the top 2 inches of potting mix to dry before watering again. Water soluble fertilizer (10-2-15) Apply N (Nitrogen), P (Phosphorus), K (Potassium) every 2-4 weeks. As the plant grows, turn the pot daily to keep the stems straight. If necessary, stake the plant stems upright.
When it starts to bloom, move it to a cool place (65-70 degrees) out of direct sunlight. This will prolong the flowering period.
Waxed bulbs do not need watering. The waxed bulb stores all the energy and water needed for flowering. A waxed bulb is one time and done. It’s seasonal, so throw it away when it’s finished blooming. However, I recently read in a gardener’s supply catalog that the wax can be removed from the bulbs and potted.
Water-grown amaryllis roots require water changes to prevent unhealthy root growth, slimy roots, and odor. Bulbs grown in water usually don’t do as well as potted bulbs.
ok it bloomed – now what
After the flowers are finished, cut them off so that the seeds do not form. Do not remove flower stalks until they turn yellow. Place the potted plant indoors in a bright, sunny location to develop long, smooth leaves. (Plant a water-grown amaryllis in a pot.) The goal is to promote photosynthesis. So the plant stores nutrients and produces energy for repeated flowering. Keep watering and fertilizing regularly.
After the danger of frost has passed, move the plant outdoors, initially in shade or indirect light. Gradually move to a location that receives 6 hours of sun each day. Bring indoors before the first frost. Amaryllis do not require dormancy periods. Let it continue to grow and it will bloom again.
If you want to control bloom time, force the bulbs to dormancy. To do this, store potted bulbs in a cool, dark, dry place such as a basement or closet. Wait until the leaves turn brown before cutting. Do not splash water on it. Check for mold or mildew. If it appears, treat with fungicide or toss. After 8-12 weeks, place the pots in a sunny location. I also removed the bulbs from the pots, dried them, put them in a brown paper bag and put them in the refrigerator to let them dormant. You can also do this with bulbs purchased or received too early for potting. Potted bulbs should be repotted every three to four years. Repot after dormancy.
For me, amaryllis is a joy. That’s why I encourage others to purchase large bulbs of their favorite variety, plant them in pots, and enjoy their blooms for years to come.
This material was obtained from the University of Minnesota Extension, Iowa State University Extension, Nikki Tilly, author of Bulb-o-licious Garden, and Garden Supply Company.
Carolyn Johnson is a Master Gardener for Extension Officers in Sandusky and Ottawa Counties.