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Gardening Answers Knowledgebase

Knowledgebase record #20

Garden Tool 

Amaryllis bulbs are too beautiful (and expensive) to simply throw away after blooming. Starr Ockenga's book, Amaryllis (Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2002) describes how to care for the bulbs so they will produce new flowers year after year. In a nutshell,

  • fertilize the bulbs bi-weekly with a balanced houseplant food after the flowers fade;
  • move outside to an eastern exposure after spring night time temperatures reach 60 degrees;
  • stop feeding and slowly cease watering towards the end of summer to induce dormancy;
  • cut off all foliage, green or yellow, and store in a cool place for three months;
  • start watering again to stimulate the new flower to bloom.

    Ockenga also describes growing Amaryllis in water, and suggests keeping the water level at the base of the bulb, and changing the water periodically or adding charcoal to prevent algae growth. If you plan to save your bulb, you may need to pot it in a container with soil. You may store the bulbs bare-root, rather than in soil, but when you do this, you should sprinkle them with water once a month to keep them alive. She says it is easier on the plants to store them in pots (in soil). If you have space, you can refrigerate your bulbs (not in pots)and store them at 45-50 degrees in aerated bins for at least 6 weeks. Don't store them near fruit, as ripening fruit releases ethylene gas which will cause your bulb to rot or produce misshapen blooms.

    Here are links to additional information:
    U.S. National Arboretum
    University of Illinois Horticulture Facts

Keywords Bulbs, Amaryllis
Season All Season
Created Date 2006-02-27

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