Gardening

Save your amaryllis for years to come

Earlier this week, my friend Phyllis asked me what she should do with her amaryllis now that it has stopped blooming.

By following a few steps, it’s fairly easy to encourage an amaryllis to re-blossom.

First, if you haven’t already done so, cut off the old flower stalk. Then just treat the plant as if it were a houseplant. Keep the soil somewhat moist and fertilize it once a month with water-soluble houseplant fertilizer.

Over Memorial Day weekend, move the pot outside in a brightly lit area away from direct sunlight — you don’t want the plant to get sunburned.  You can either leave it in its pot or transplant it into a flower bed. Fertilize it regularly throughout the growing season. During this time the bulb will grow larger and store energy for blossoming later on.

Start an amaryllis collection by saving your plants every year.

Start an amaryllis collection by saving your plants every year.

Sometime around September the leaves will begin to turn yellow — this is a signal that the plant is starting to go dormant. At that point, stop watering and let the leaves die back. Cut the leaves back to about an inch above the bulb.

Move the bulb to a dry area and let it rest for about eight to 10 weeks.

Around Thanksgiving, wake up your amaryllis by moving it back into a bright spot. Then start watering and fertilizing again. It will soon re-sprout leaves and eventually bloom.

A well-cared for amaryllis will re-bloom year after year.

Bob Dluzen

As a result of being a gardener for more than 40 years, 30 of those as a professional, Bob’s gardening has become an integral part of his life. “It’s the ever-changing seasons and the wide variety of plants and gardens that keeps me intrigued,” he says. Bob lives and gardens in rural Monroe County.