Most people think of amaryllis as a Christmas flower. They buy an amaryllis in the fall, pot it up, enjoy the blossoms during the holidays and then toss it out. I did that for years, thinking that getting the bulb to bloom again was difficult.
How wrong I was! I’ve since learned that getting an amaryllis to rebloom is pretty easy.
Once an amaryllis has blossomed, I cut off the flower stalk(s) and let the plant grow. I make sure that it gets as much sun as possible and keep the soil moist . When the weather has warmed, the plant is repotted into a larger pot (at least 12″) and moved outside to a spot where it gets some sun and some shade. I’ve found that putting the pot near a tree where it gets dappled sunlight works great.
While growing outside, the amaryllis needs constant moisture and regular fertilizing. During this growing period the bulb is storing energy and the blossoms for the next season are forming inside the bulb. The longer the plant can continue growing and photosynthesising, the better the chances of it reblooming.
When the cooler weather coming in late September or October, I put the pot into the garage or basement and stop watering it. At this point the bulb needs to “rest” for a few months. I leave the bulb in the pot of dry soil and keep it in a cool, dry place where it won’t freeze.
After about 4 months, it’s time to get the amaryllis growing again. I take the bulb out of its pot, remove all of the old soil and trim the roots a little bit. I then repot the bulb, making sure that the top half is exposed. After watering it and moving the pot to a warm location, it’s then time to wait for the amaryllis to start growing. This usually happens in 2-4 weeks.
Because it needs to grow as long as possible and also requires a resting period, it’s difficult to have an amaryllis rebloom at Christmas. The bulbs you find in garden centers for Christmas bloom are produced by growers who use a variety of techniques to “trick” the bulb into starting to grow earlier than it normally would. With bulbs that I’ve grown, early spring seem to be the time when my amaryllis blooms. So I’ve just changed my thinking a little. Amaryllis are still holiday flowers – it’s just that the holiday when they bloom for me is Easter!