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Amaryllis plant one of true treasurers of Christmas season

There are some true treasures of the Christmas season which light up our house with color each year. They can also be raised to bloom throughout the winter months as well — Amaryllis.

These are often for sale now and will disappear from the store shelves soon after Christmas has come and gone. If you have room to keep them going and have a place to put them out in your garden during the summer, you can have winter color through the whole winter. It just takes a little know how on how to do it.

The instructions on a new amaryllis is quite simple. You plant it in a pot with some potting soil (which is often provided along with bulb if you received a kit) and water it when it needs it. You will wait about 6 weeks and it will be flowering for you. This is the easy part of raising Amaryllis bulbs. They can use a little fertilizer and once they have started to flower they should be moved away from direct sunlight. They are easy to grow and easy to give as a Christmas gift.

The biggest thrill for those who own Amaryllis bulbs is to get them to flower again. It always seems like you have to have a green thumb to get them to do this. This is not necessarily true. It just takes a little know how to get them to flower for you each year. The U of M Extension has a guide which is online with the complete instructions on how to get them to flower again. It is at https://extension.umn.edu/house-plants/amaryllis#caring-for-bulbs-858662

It is an easy to follow guide on how to raise, maintain and get Amaryllis bulbs to flower again. The steps to keep your amaryllis flowering year after year is to first remember that they basically flower once, maybe twice if you are lucky, a year. The second step is that once the plant has quit flowering, cut the blooms off of the plant.

Do not cut off the flower stalk. This should stay on until it turns yellow. The stalk will help bring energy back into the bulb for the next time it will be blooming. The bulb will have long leaves that will need to stay on. These, too, will help the bulb store energy in the bulb in order for it to bloom again.

The next step is that once spring has arrived and all chances of frost have moved away, place the flower pot outside and keep it watered plus fertilized through the growing season.

When fall arrives again, move the plant back inside before frost and allow the bulb to start to dry down naturally and eventually remove the leaves once they have dried up. The bulb needs to rest for about 8-12 weeks in a cool, dry place. If the plant starts to grow leaves, then move it back into a sunny location and begin to water it again.

If it has not started to show new growth, when you are ready for it to start growing again, then move it into a sunny location and start to water it. Don’t panic if you see leaves before the flower stalk. They sometimes will reverse what we first see when we get them. This is okay and they should bloom.

If they do not produce a flower bloom it is because they have not stored enough energy in the bulb. This means that they didn’t get enough sun at some point so it may be helpful to think about where you had your plants during the summer months.

Amaryllis bulbs don’t need to be repotted very often. You can give them about 4 years before you will need to move them to a larger flower pot. There are few diseases or pests that can cause problems with Amaryllis plants but we still should be careful about making sure to check them.

For more information on gardening, you can reach me at s.dejaeghere@me.com

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