Amaryllis provides a vibrant pop of color during winter

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A beautiful plant that often provides a splash of vibrant color at any time during the winter is amaryllis. You can get indoor flowers year after year, if you take good care of them.

Choose large, firm bulbs. Larger bulbs will produce more flowers. When you first buy your amaryllis bulb, follow the instructions that came with the bulb. Whatever pot you use, it should have drainage holes.

During flowering

The flowers will last longer if the plant is away from direct sunlight. Keep the plant watered regularly, but not always wet – allow the top ½ “of the soil to dry out between waterings. Remove wilted flowers behind the seed capsule as they begin to die – leave the main flower stem up it turns yellow, then cut it off about an inch above the bulb.

For blooms in subsequent years, follow these guidelines:

After flowering

Move the plant so that it can get as much direct sunlight as possible. Water as you did during flowering and fertilize once or twice a month with flowering plant fertilizer according to the product label. The goal is to get as much energy and growth back into the bulb as possible before the next flowering season.

Inside or outside?

If you don’t have a window that will provide a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight each day, your amaryllis will do best outdoors during the summer. This is essential for a complete recharge of the bulb.

Once all danger of frost has passed, you can work them in an outdoor location. Start in the shade and take about a week to gradually increase the amount of direct sunlight each day, reaching a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight – more is better. When nighttime temperatures approach 50⁰F, it’s time to bring them back indoors.

It is recommended to leave the plant in the pot even when the plants are outside, just be consistent in your watering.

Ron Patterson, EastIdahoNews.com

Dormancy

Modern hybrid amaryllis usually don’t need dormancy to bloom again, but it will respond better, and re-flowering may be best timed with a period of dry dormancy.

It will take around 16 to 18 weeks to go from the onset of dormancy to a new flowering. So if you want your flowers at Christmas, you should start the dormant period from early to mid-August. You can also schedule them for Valentine’s Day or Easter, starting them about 4.5 months before flowering is needed.

To induce dormancy, stop watering the plant and move it to a cool, dry place (a garage will work well if it doesn’t freeze). You can leave it in a window, but do not water it. After about 12 weeks you can put the plant in a good growing environment. Remove any dead or yellow leaves and water the plant. In 4-6 weeks, you should have new flowers.

Repotting

Once your amaryllis begins to develop baby bulbs, they need to be separated and repotted. Repotting should be done at the end of the dormancy treatment.

Good luck and may you brighten up the dark winter months with beautiful amaryllis flowers.


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