The Q&A Archives: Amaryllis Bloom

Question: I inherited an amaryllis from my grandparents and I can't seem to get it to bloom. It sends up a green shoot, but there isn't any flower bulb. This is the second year this has happened. I put it in the sunniest window in the house.

Answer: I suspect your plant has not been healthy enough to build strength to rebloom or has not been "rested". It might also need repotting into fresh soil mix, but since these bulbs can spend many years without repotting I would try improving its culture for a year before repotting it. On average it needs about four leaves growing lustily during the season to produce a blooming stalk with buds after its rest. Here is the care cycle for amarylis grown from the start: At first purchase your plant consists of a bare bulb in a pot; water it lightly and set it in a cool bright location until it begins to grow. Once it begins to grow, turn it regularly to keep it growing straight and continue to water it lightly. After it blooms and the flowers fade, remove the bloom stem at the base being careful not to damage any leaves. Continue to water the plant and feed it occasionally with a water soluble fertilizer according to the label instructions. The leaves will grow and refuel the bulb so it can bloom again. Keep the plant in the sunniest window you have or set it outsidein sem- shade for the summer. Next fall the bulb will need a rest period, so withhold water until the leaves yellow, then set the pot bulb and all in a cool location (about forty five or fifty degrees) for eight to ten weeks. When the leaves shrivel, remove them. Finally, bring the pot into a warmer bright location, water lightly and begin the cycle again. Enjoy!

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