This is the time of the year we try to restart growing some of those amaryllis bulbs we received last year as a Christmas present. The great thing about these bulbs is you can safely store them until you want to have a little color in your home. You can plant them every so often for a long lasting display of color.
Amaryllis bulbs, if given to you this holiday season, can be easily brought into bloom. They require only a little care and often do not have many, if any, insect problems. The bulb can be placed into direct sunlight until the plant starts to show some color on the blooms. Then, the plant should be moved into a place that has indirect sunlight and a place that is a little bit cooler. This helps the blooms to last longer. Water it carefully. Amaryllis only needs enough water to keep going. A plant that sits in water may die from bulb rot.
Once the plant has stopped blooming, leave the stalk on as long as you can or until it dries up and is about ready to fall off-the stalk, as well as the leaves will help to re-energize the bulb so that come next winter, the bulb has enough energy inside it to bloom once again. The plant should be kept in a warm sunny place where, if you wish, placing it to the back of your houseplant display will help hide it to a point since the only thing left of the plant will be its leaves. Water it only sparingly, once again, allowing it (the soil) to dry out between waterings. Once spring arrives and the temperatures warm up once again, move the plant outdoors. You can bury the pot in the garden, along with the bulb and allow it to keep its leaves all summer long. These bulbs are big and they will need every bit of sunshine to recharge their batteries before they have to be moved indoors once again.
In the fall, allow the plant to die back and let the leaves dry up. The plant should be allowed to rest in a dark, cool place for about three months. Once this period has come and gone, then start potting them back up again, placing them in a container that is form fitting. They don't like a lot of extra room in the pot-pot bound is best. Generally speaking, amaryllis bulbs will put out the flower stalk first then leaves but this isn't always true for every single bulb. You might find that sometimes the leaves do come first. If you get leaves and not a single flower stalk, then the bulb did not receive enough sunlight to generate enough energy to make the flower.
Fertilizing the bulb while it is growing will help to ensure that the plant makes enough energy for that bulb to make that flower stalk again next year. I have found that following these simple steps will generally have you in flowers from now until Easter or at least until you run out of amaryllis bulbs. If you have children or grandchildren that like growing plants, this is an exciting one because it is a fast growing but long blooming plant.
For more information on gardening, you can email me at Stephanie@starpoint.net