Once the holidays are over, don’t throw out your amaryllis bulbs! It’s easy to save them from year to year with these simple steps:
Once the blooms have faded, cut off the flower stalk at the base. Do not remove the leaves.
Water the bulb and give it a balanced water soluble fertilizer every two weeks. Keep the plant in a sunny location. At this stage, you want to encourage the growth of as many leaves as possible.
In the spring, when air and soil temperatures are warm and there is no longer any danger of frost or cold nights, take your amaryllis plant outdoors. You can leave it in a container as long as it has sufficient drainage, or plant the amaryllis right into your garden bed. Even cold climate gardeners can follow this step. Keep watering and feeding it all summer long.
In the late summer or early autumn, bring the amaryllis back inside the house. Put it in a sunny location, but do not water or feed the bulb. This means the leaves will turn yellow – this is okay! Cut the leaves off after they have wilted and changed color, then move the bulb into a cool, dark location such as a basement or a storage room. The plant must stay in this area for 2.5 to 3 months.
After the period of darkness is finished, bring the amaryllis back into the warm sunlight. Start a watering and fertilizing schedule once again. Within a few days, your bulb should be showing some signs of growth. It will take about 10 weeks for the plant to rebloom.
By Sheryl Normandeau
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