Amaryllis in full bloom can make for a lovely host or hostess gift. But what if, as the recipient, you have a brown thumb? In that case, you might be worried that your pretty new plant won’t even make it into the new year.
Fortunately, if your amaryllis is already in bloom, it’s easy to care for in the short term. But can you turn that brown thumb green and help your amaryllis survive long enough to bloom again next Christmas?
While Your Amaryllis Is Blooming
Right now, your amaryllis is probably showing off some full-bloom splendor. To keep it going, follow these two easy steps to help those beautiful blooms last even longer:
- Keep the soil around the bulb moist, but not waterlogged.
- Move the flower out of direct sunlight and, if possible, into a cooler area of your house.
Then, as each bloom fades, trim it, but leave at least two inches of stalk until it’s yellow, advises SF Gate. The stalk helps feed the bulb for the next cycle. And don’t cut the foliage.
After Your Amaryllis Is Done Blooming
The last flower has faded, but your amaryllis is just taking a break. Recharging its batteries, so to speak. At this stage, you should:
- Leave the foliage in place. Only trim the stalks (and only after they’ve turned yellow), not the leaves.
- Place it in a bright spot in your home.
- Continue to water it regularly. Again, soil should be moist, not soggy.
Once you’re safely past the first frost, you can take your amaryllis outside. Place it in a sunny spot. While it will eventually do best in a spot where it gets at least six hours of sun every day, first place it in a shadier corner to help it acclimate to the outdoors.
- Gradually stop watering it late in the summer (probably in September) and bring it back indoors before the first frost.
- Cut the leaves back as they brown.
Fall Dormancy—Before The Winter Bloom
This next cycle is the most important one for getting your amaryllis bulb to bloom for the holidays, just like it did this year.
- Trim summer’s leaves back to the bulb after they brown.
- Store the bulb in a dark, cool, dry place in your house. Do not water the bulb during this period.
- Leave the bulb alone for eight to 10 weeks.
Getting Your Amaryllis To Bloom Again
After a period of forced dormancy, your amaryllis will prepare to bloom once more.
- After eight to 12 weeks, if no new growth has appeared on the bulb, bring it back out to a sunny spot in your house to prompt new growth, advises University of Minnesota Extension horticulturalists.
- Water the bulb. Once it shows signs of new growth, you can water it some more.
Flowers will usually develop four to six weeks after you bring the dormant bulb back out into the sunshine. So time it right, and you’ll have big, bright blooms all over again next Christmas.
And who knows? If you’re successful with your amaryllis, you might even be inspired to get a Christmas cactus, too!