Amaryllis usually flowers for several weeks in winter or spring. They are also known under the name Knight’s Star. Compared to most flowers, getting amaryllis bulbs to bloom multiple times is easy. However, they require the right year-round care, ensuring they develop properly throughout the seasons. If your amaryllis hasn’t bloomed for a while, there is still hope that you will be successful until the fall dormant period has begun.
Use a clean knife to cut off the main stem when a flower has wilted. Be sure to cut off the green bulge and the thin green stalk that attaches the flower to the main stem. This prevents the plant from producing seeds, which requires a lot of energy that could be used to survive and grow instead.
The main stems contain food and water for the plant. However, they will likely start to droop or turn yellow soon after the flowers have faded. They are no longer useful at this point and should be cut back to 5cm above the bulb. Be careful not to cut off the leaves or the top of the onion. Only the inflorescence should be removed. Don’t be alarmed if the juice runs out of the cut. This is normal for a well-watered plant.
Most people keep their amaryllis indoors during the winter while they bloom. If this is the case, place the plant on a windowsill that isn’t in direct sun so it can slowly adjust to the sunlight. You can skip this step if the plant has already been exposed to indirect or full sun. In the northern hemisphere, including Germany, windows receive indirect solar radiation on the north or east side, and in the southern hemisphere, when they are on the south or east side. Make sure the plant is relatively cool, around room temperature. This is around or slightly warmer than 16ºC.
Your amaryllis will likely need daily watering unless kept in a humid climate or planted outside in moist soil. Don’t let the soil dry out completely, at least not for more than a few hours. You should always keep the soil slightly moist. Also, fertilize the plant with a semi-concentrated, water-soluble fertilizer every 2 to 3 weeks after it starts growing.
In Germany, this is usually in May or June. If you live in the southern hemisphere, the warmer climate usually begins in December or January.
Once the last frost has passed and the weather is consistently warm, place the container outside in a flower bed or the garden. Bury it, so the rim is below or slightly above it. If possible, choose a location that gets morning sun but is protected from the sun during the hottest part of the day. Amaryllis grows better in containers, which also protect burrowing animals and insects. Planting them directly in the ground is possible but more difficult. The leaves may droop at first if the plant is placed outside, but with the right care, new, upright leaves will grow.
Check the soil daily and water when it is dry or almost dry. Water the soil around the plant, not the leaves or bulbs. Avoid watering during the hottest part of the day, as hot water could burn the plant. Keep the soil moist, not waterlogged. If your soil doesn’t drain properly, the water could pool, and the roots could rot.
Help the bulb grow strong and healthy using a balanced fertilizer every two weeks. Use a soluble houseplant fertilizer and follow the directions. Do not use more fertilizer than recommended. The plant should grow new, darker leaves throughout the summer.
When the leaves change color, which is normal, the plant has entered the dormant phase. This usually happens in early autumn, which is August or September in Germany or March or April if you live in the southern hemisphere.
The amaryllis should lose its leaves in late summer or early fall. Water the plant a little less, but don’t let the soil dry out completely.
Cut off the yellow or brown leaves at the top of the onion once they have dried up. Leave green leaves on the plant.
Once the weather gets cooler, and most of the leaves have died, bring the amaryllis indoors. Place the pot in a cool, dark place with a temperature of 5-10 degrees Celsius, for example, in your basement. If you don’t have a suitable area for a pot, you could carefully remove the bulb and roots from the soil and place them in the crisper of your refrigerator. Always bring the amaryllis indoors before the first frost, i.e., before the night temperature is 0 degrees. If you keep the onion in your fridge, don’t keep it in the fridge with fruit. Many fruits, especially apples, release chemicals that can sterilize your amaryllis bulb.
Leave the amaryllis in a cool, dark environment for at least six weeks. Water is unnecessary during this time, but any remaining leaves should be removed after they die. This is the bulb’s dormant phase, and it is necessary for the plant to flower again.
If you want the amaryllis to bloom again by a specific date, such as Christmas, remove the bulb from the cool area at least six weeks beforehand.
Find the onion in the soil and gently push it. If the onion is soft, it could be rotten and unusable. If unsure, you might still try to get the bulb to bloom again. Be sure to buy another amaryllis if the original bulb becomes useless.
Like most plants, amaryllises do well in certain planting substrates. It could be a mix of equal parts potting soil and cactus soil. Over 1-3 years, the nutrients from the plant substrate could have been depleted. While getting amaryllis to bloom again isn’t difficult, the special growing medium could help you get a bigger, healthier plant. Amaryllis roots are easily injured during transplanting. If you are new to transplanting, you can simply replace the top layer of soil (1/2 inch) instead. The best soil for amaryllis is two parts of loamy soil, without much sand or clay; part perlite or gravel; and a portion of organic matter such as rotted manure, peat, leaf compost or composted bark. A clay pot might be better than a plastic pot as the amaryllis can become too top-heavy and a light pot could tip over. When you plant the amaryllis in your garden, remove dead leaves and peel off the bulb skins. Tuck the plant into the soil, exposing the bulb shoulders, and give it some water. This will help “wake up” the amaryllis.
If you transplanted the bulb to a new pot, you should water the soil thoroughly, and excess water should drain through the bottom of the pot. After the first watering, the soil should be kept moist but not left waterlogged like in summer or fall.
The ideal temperature to get an amaryllis to bloom is between 13-18 degrees Celsius. Warmer temperatures can result in drooping leaves. Cooler temperatures can prevent or slow growth.
While new amaryllis will usually flower first before any leaves grow, re-blooming could reverse the order. Keep the soil moist but not soggy, and you can expect your new blooms about six weeks after moving the amaryllis to a warmer spot.
Plant several amaryllises at different times, or fertilize them at different times if you want to see amaryllis blooms over a longer period. Amaryllis usually flowers in late winter or spring, but if you bought a plant in another hemisphere, it might flower in that part of the world depending on the time of year. It should adapt if it has been in your climate for a year.
Applying more than the recommended amount of fertilizer could damage or kill your plants. The roots of amaryllis are delicate and will break or die during transplanting. When transplanting your amaryllis to another pot or growing medium, be careful and try to avoid touching the roots.
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