The amaryllis is starting to rival the poinsettia as a floral choice for the holiday season. It's a beautiful bulb plant that produces large, colorful bell-shaped flowers and thrives indoors. Most people treat their amaryllis bulbs as "one-and-done" flowers. In truth, amaryllis bulbs get better with time. The bulbs get bigger, producing more flower stems. Here are some steps for taking care of your amaryllis year-round.
Enjoy your amaryllis for the maximum time possible by placing it in a location with diffused light and cool indoor temperatures in the 60-degree range. Keep it barely moist. When you water, be careful not to wet the portion of the bulb that sticks above the soil. If you have a large bulb, you may get two or three flowering stalks that bloom over a period of several weeks.
After your amaryllis flowers fade, worry not. Just cut the flower stem off near the neck of the bulb. Be careful not to injure the leaves or any emerging flower stalks. The leaves are needed to replenish the bulb so it can bloom again next year. Water it enough to keep the soil moist, and feed it with Miracle Gro® Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food every 7-14 days. Keep your amaryllis in the sunniest spot you can find in your house. More sun will mean bigger blooms later.
Once the outside temperatures stay above 50 degrees at night, you're all clear to bring your amaryllis into the garden. Amaryllises love sun, so place it in a sunny spot. Be sure to keep it well fed and watered to help it produce more leaves. This is when your bulb is storing up energy to produce more flowers, and healthier bulbs mean more flower stems and more blooms per stem. Make sure you bring your amaryllis back indoors in late summer before the first frost.
Amaryllis is a tropical plant, and its flowering is controlled primarily by moisture. In late summer, bring your plants back inside and place it in a sunny spot. Stop watering and feeding. When the leaves turn yellow, cut them off, then move the plant to a cool, dark place with temperatures of 55-60 degrees. Your amaryllis bulb will need at least 8-10 weeks of rest. After the rest period, move your bulbs to a warm, sunny spot and water thoroughly. In 8-10 weeks, your amaryllis should be in bloom. So, if you want your amaryllis in flower for Christmas, its rest period should start in early September and moved to a warm, sunny spot in late October.