Amaryllis after bloom care

Amaryllis After Christmas — Now What?

Everyone loves amaryllis. After it finishes blooming, though, you’re probably wondering, “What the heck do I do with it now? Should I just throw it out?”

This was the question posed by Debbie, a curious and obviously committed reader. She writes, “What are the necessary steps to do afterward if you want that same bulb to grow and bloom again? How many times can you do this process before the bulb will no longer grow and bloom again? I am a novice with plants, so please give me step by step instruction.”

Debbie, you are indeed fortunate. You have contacted the all-knowing Grump, who has been blooming the same amaryllis bulbs year after year. It’s easy to do if you follow these steps.

1. After the flowers fade, cut off the bloom stalk. If the pot doesn’t have a drainage hole, transplant the bulb to a slightly bigger pot that has one. Fill the pot with fresh potting soil and plant the bulb so that its top third shows above the soil surface. Your bulb can stay in this same pot for many years.

2. Large, strappy leaves will emerge from the bulb. Place the pot near a bright window until it’s warm enough to set the bulb outside. When it is, place the bulb in a sunny spot. Water often enough the keep the leaves firm and prevent them from wilting or turning brown along the edges. Every couple of weeks, feed the bulb using liquid 20-20-20 fertilizer.

3. Continue this practice until September. Then cease feeding and reduce watering to once a week. Come October, stop watering entirely. After the leaves turn yellow, cut them off. Take the pot inside before a frost and place it in a cool, dark area. Ignore it for the next two months.

4. When the two months are up, water once more and wait to see signs of life. If things go well, you should see a big, fat green flower bud emerge from the top of the bulb. At this point, bring the pot and bulb back into the light and begin watering normally. After it finishes blooming, go back to step 1.

One thing you have to know is that amaryllises normally bloom in spring, not in December. The ones that bloom for Christmas are grown in greenhouses to get them to behave that way. If you want amaryllis blooms for Christmas, buy some that are blooming then. The Grump finds it easier to let the bulbs do their own thing.

Amaryllis from Seed?

The questions about amaryllis just keep flooding in! Here’s an interesting one from Charlotte, who wants to know what to do with seeds that form if you don’t cut off the bloom stalk.

“A friend gave me a handful of Amaryllis seeds from her plants to “root” a plant. She thinks since I grow African violets and one orchid I can grow anything…HA! I have no idea what to do with these seeds. I live in Denver, CO. Hope you can help.”

The Grump is happy to help with your question. The first thing to do is to determine which seeds are viable, as not all are. Thin, chaff-like seeds with no discernible “bump” in the middle are likely worthless, as they lack embryos to make new plants. The next thing you’ll need is a wide, shallow, clear plastic or glass container.

Fill the container about halfway or a little more with with warm, not hot, water. Float each amaryllis seed on the surface. Give the container bright light, but not direct sun. Any non-viable seed that you didn’t detect before should sink to the bottom. After several days, each viable seed will sprout a white root.

When the root is a half-inch or so long, fill a pot with moist potting soil. Use a pencil to poke a hole in the potting mix. Carefully insert the white root into the hole, firm potting soil around it, and water. The seed itself should be sitting flat on the soil surface. Again, give the container bright light, but not direct sun. After several days, a small, grasslike leaf will emerge. Gradually move the pot into the stronger light of an east or west window. The amaryllis will slowly form a tiny bulb. Feed every couple of weeks with liquid 20-20-20 fertilizer diluted to half-strength.

Don’t expect flowers right away. That will take a couple of years, until the bulb has reached sufficient size. In the meantime, why don’t you get even and send your friend lots of African violet and orchid seeds?

After Bloom Care for Amaryllis

After Bloom Care for Amaryllis

By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin

At Logee’s, we sell all our Amaryllis around the holidays and then we don’t see them again until next year. However, last week I was in our greenhouses and found lots of new varieties that were in bloom, out of bloom, and other various stages of growth. Many of these Amaryllis are still in the testing phase (are the blooms big enough, do they hold on well, do they grow to the desired height,etc) but the plant care remains the same. Take a look at what to do with your Amaryllis after the bloom.

Amaryllis ‘Aphrodite’ Flowers are passing Flowers are past on the stem Leaves after flower stalks have
been removed

Amaryllis ‘Aphrodite’, a new variety that is being tested. Notice the flower stem that is almost finished blooming. It will need to be trimmed. Remove dead flowers from the stem as each blossom passes. Once all buds have bloomed and flowering is complete, cut the entire stem one to tow inches above the bulb. Leaves should be left on the plant until they turn yellow as they provide nutrients for the bulb so it will rebloom the next year.

Amaryllis can be grown and cared for like any other tropical plant. They can be moved outside in the summer and back inside in the winter. There are many different thoughts on how to re-bloom them. Some say, grow the plant until fall and then take the bulb out of the pot and store it in the refrigerator for 6 weeks. Finally, take the refrigerated bulb out about 6-8 weeks before you want it to flower and start the potting process and flowering process all over again.

It’s important to give your plant a dormancy period for about 6-8 week. Place the plant (bulb in the pot) in a cool ( 55 degree F), dimly lit area and don’t water. A cool north room works well. In November (or after your designated time) move your plant into a warm sunny window and water accurately (don’t over water) until your leaves appear. Flowers should bloom in time for the holidays.

How to grow Amaryllis

By entering your email you will receive a link via email to download our free eBook “An A-Z Guide to White Flower Farm Amaryllis.” You will also be subscribed to receive email from White Flower Farm.

How to Grow Amaryllis

Bulb size: 28-32 cm

GROWING AMARYLLIS OUTDOORS

  • Amaryllis bulbs can be planted directly in the ground in areas where temperatures do not go below 10°F (Zones 8-10), or in zone 7 for cold-tolerant species that we sell for spring planting. Choose a site with full sun (at least 6-8 hours of direct sun daily) and well-drained soil.
  • In frost-free areas, plant the bulb with the neck at, or slightly above, ground level. In areas where some frost may occur, the bulb should be set with 5 or 6″ of soil above it, followed by an application of 4 or 5″ of fine mulch.
  • Water the area thoroughly after planting. Once growth starts, water only if rain is infrequent and the top 2″ of soil are dry.
  • After the leaves appear, fertilize with a balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10); repeat once a month through April.
  • When plants are done blooming, remove the flower stalks. Be sure to leave the foliage on the plant so the leaves can produce food that will be stored in the bulbs. If leaves turn yellow, cut them off at the base.
  • From June through September, water only during prolonged dry periods.
  • In fall, provide a layer of winter mulch for cold-tolerant species grown in zone 7.

GROWING AMARYLLIS INDOORS

Pre-potted Bulbs

Amaryllis sent already potted need only a thorough watering with lukewarm water to begin growing. Then follow the “Pre-bloom Care” instructions below.

Please note: These Amaryllis are shipped with a layer of decorative Spanish moss on top of each pot. Cut the rubber band that holds the Spanish moss in place and arrange the moss around the bulb so it looks attractive.

Potting Bareroot Bulbs

  • Amaryllis shipped in bags require potting. Begin by selecting a pot for your bulbs. If planting individually, choose a 6-7″ pot. If planting a group of 3 bulbs, choose a 10-12″ container.
  • Place a well-drained potting mix in a plastic tub. Slowly add warm water and stir with your hand until the mix is moist but not soggy. Then fill the pot about half full with potting mix, set the bulb on top of the mix and fill in around the bulb with additional mix. Adjust the position of the bulb as needed, so that the top third of the bulb is exposed.
  • The final level of the mix should be about 1/2″ below the rim of the pot to allow for watering. Firm the mix and water lightly to settle it around the bulbs. Then follow the “Pre-bloom Care” instructions below.

Please note: Some of our Amaryllis kits are shipped with a disk of potting medium (Cocopeat). Follow the directions on the package for rehydrating the disk. Fill the pot about 1/2 full with Cocopeat, set the bulb on top, and fill in around the bulb with additional Cocopeat. Adjust the position of the bulb as needed so that the top 1/3 of the bulb is exposed. Do not be concerned if the final level of the Cocopeat is down inside the pot. Firm the Cocopeat and water lightly to settle it around the bulb. Then follow the “Pre-bloom Care” instructions below.

By entering your email you will receive a link via email to download our free eBook “An A-Z Guide to White Flower Farm Amaryllis.” You will also be subscribed to receive email from White Flower Farm.

Pre-Bloom Care of Amaryllis

  • Place the pot where the temperature remains above 60°F.
  • The warmer the temperature (70-80°F night and day is ideal), the faster the bulb will sprout and grow.
  • Providing bottom heat (by setting the pot on a propagation mat or on the top of a refrigerator) may help stimulate growth.
  • Water only when the top inch of the potting mix is dry to the touch. Watering more frequently, particularly just after potting, can cause the bulb to rot.
  • If the pot is covered with Spanish Moss, lift the moss and pour water directly on the potting mix.
  • Growth generally begins in 2-8 weeks. Certain varieties of Amaryllis may take more time to sprout. As long as your bulb remains firm, be patient and take care not to overwater.
  • As soon as the bulb sprouts, provide ample sunshine; a south-facing window or a sunroom is ideal.
  • Rotate the pot frequently to prevent the flower stalks from leaning toward the light.
  • The flower stalks may require support to keep from toppling. for our Amaryllis stakes that are ideally suited to this purpose.

Cutting Amaryllis Stems for Bouquets

  • The best time to cut the flower stems is when the first bud has colored and is just ready to open. This will ensure that the rest of the buds on the same stem have formed sufficiently and will open fully.
  • Make a straight cut across the bottom of the stem, so the stem will rest evenly inside the vase.
  • Because the stems are hollow, the bottom may split and curl up, but this will not affect the blooms.
  • Adding a floral preservative to the water and changing the water regularly will help prevent stem rolling and lengthen the life of your bouquet. Remove individual flowers as they fade.
  • If kept at temperatures of 60-70°F, your cut Amaryllis flowers will last for up to 10 days.

Rebuilding the Bulb

  • After flowering, your bulb is exhausted. If you want flowers next year (many people prefer simply to purchase new bulbs every fall), you must allow it to rebuild itself.
  • When the last bloom fades, cut off the flower stalk 3-5″ above the bulb, but do not cut off the leaves. They produce food that will be stored in the bulb.
  • Put your plant in a sunny window, preferably one that is south-facing.
  • Water when the top inch of the potting mix is dry to the touch, and begin fertilizing with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer once a month.
  • When the danger of frost has passed in spring, set the pot outdoors in full sun or knock the bulb out of its pot and plant it in the ground in a sunny location.
  • In fall—we often wait until frost blackens the leaves—bring the bulb indoors, cut off the foliage just above the bulb, and store it dry in a cool (55°F), dark place such as a basement for 8-10 weeks.
  • Then pot (or repot) the bulb and water it. Thereafter, keep the potting mix almost dry until new growth emerges, and follow the instructions under “Pre-bloom Care.”

Growing Amaryllis in Stones and Water

  • These large bulbs will grow happily and bloom abundantly in nothing more than stones and water.
  • To “plant” your bulb, begin by carefully placing river stones or pebbles to a depth of about 2-4″ in our vase or your own container.
  • With scissors, trim off any roots on the bulb that are brown and dried*, but let the roots that are whitish and fleshy remain.
  • Place the Amaryllis bulb, roots down, on top of the stones, then put the remaining stones around the bulb, leaving the top third of the bulb exposed.

  • Finally, add water until the level reaches about 1″ below the base of the bulb but no higher. If the base of the bulb sits in water, it will rot.
  • After planting, set the container on a sunny windowsill in a room where the temperature remains above 60°F. The warmer the temperature (70-80°F night and day is ideal), the faster the bulb will sprout and grow. Check the water level daily. Add water as needed to keep the level below the base of the bulb.
  • A shoot will emerge from the top of the bulb in 2-8 weeks; you may (or may not) see thick white roots pushing between the stones before then. Rotate the container frequently to prevent the flower stalks from leaning toward the light.
  • After the last blooms fade, we recommend that you dispose of the bulb; Amaryllis grown in water may not perform well in subsequent years. However, if you do wish to continue growing the bulb, follow the instructions given in “Potting the Bulbs” and “Rebuilding the Bulb.”

*We recommend trimming dried roots off because they will decompose in water over time. Adding aquarium charcoal to the river stones will also help prevent any odors.

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