The Q&A Archives: Caring for Amaryllis

Question: I have 4 'Christmas' Amaryllis that I planted in 2-week intervals to extend the bloom period. The first to bloom has done quite well, producing two 20-inch stalks with 4-6 blooms each. The blossoms are starting to wilt now. Should I cut off the stems after the blossoms fade? Do amaryllis bloom only once per year?

Answer: Your amaryllis will only produce one flush of flowering stems per year. The stems should be cut down when the flowers fade, but the foliage should remain until it withers and dies back on its own. If the flowers are wilting prematurely it might indicate poor storage conditions, not enough light, too much water, or some other cultural problem. Here are some general guidelines for coaxing the bulbs to bloom again next year:

Amaryllis bulbs grow best in bright light at temperatures of 60 to 70F. Place bulbs in soil so that the top half of the bulb is exposed. The flower stalk will emerge first, followed by two or more leaves. After flowering, cut off the stalk but allow the leaves to remain. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. In the spring place the pot outdoors in a shady place. In late summer, when the leaves turn yellow and die, stop watering, bring the plant indoors, and allow it to rest in a cool, dry place for about three months. Around the first of December, repot the bulb in fresh soil and place it in a bright room. Begin watering again and a new flower stalk and new leaves will emerge from the bulbs, beginning the process anew. Hope this information helps you keep your Amaryllis blooming for many years!

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