Getting Amaryllis into bloom usually takes about six to eight weeks from the time you plant the bulb and get it growing, so late October, early November is a good time to start. These large bulbs are very easy to grow and would really make a great project for you and your kids (or grandchildren) to do together. All that is needed is a 6″ pot and some good soil and, of course, the bulb…look for a kit.
Amaryllis is a tropical bulb that should NEVER be placed in an area that is cold, unlike tulip and daffodil bulbs, etc. that need to be cooled. Simply plant your newly purchased bulb in a half filled 6″ pot of soil so that the bulb is halfway in and halfway out of the soil. Only water one time, real good, then wait for growth. Don’t try to force the growth, as the Amaryllis bulb will start to grow when it is ready. Fertilizers are not needed when growing Amaryllis. The new growth will appear as a few flat leaves along with one round stem topped with a knob, or flower bud. As the plant grows, more watering will become necessary, but never more than once every three or four days, probably less.
Most Amaryllis produce one large stem with four flower buds (if you’re lucky, you’ll get 2 stems) that pop into bloom within three to four days of each other. While your Amaryllis is in bloom, place it in an area that runs close to 65 degrees and is not the sunniest spot in the house. This will help to keep your flowers for the longest, possible time. As the blossoms get old and fade, remove them one at a time in order to keep the remaining blooms fresh. After all of the buds have bloomed, remove the large stem down low and just keep the foliage growing. As is with most bulbs, allowing the foliage to “die-on-the-vine” so to speak, is how the bulb regains its strength for the next time.
After the blooms are gone, move to a sunny location for the rest of the winter season and keep the leaves growing. By late May, or early June, take your Amaryllis outside and plant it, pot and all, right in the ground in a sunny location, water and fertilize just as you would with any of your other garden plants. You may see a lot of leaf growth, and this is good. By the end of the summer season and just before the first frost, you must bring your Amaryllis inside for its “resting” period. You may need to re-pot and water, as the root system could be large. Do not over-pot as they like a tight place…in other words only go to an 8″ pot if necessary. Around the 15th of September, cut off the leaves at the top of the bulb’s neck and place the plant in a dark, cool place (around 50 to 55 degrees) for 6 to 8 weeks and NO water. After the 6 to 8 weeks, simply move to a well-lit area and water one time only to start the cycle over again.
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