The Q&A Archives: Increasing The Size Of Amaryllis Bulbs

Question: I have many different amaryllis bulbs, some I have grown from seed two years ago. I have no trouble in getting the bulbs to flower season after season, but I cannot get the bulbs to grow any larger or even maintain their size. Each year they get smaller and smaller and about six are now the size of large tulip bulbs. The seedlings and daughter bulbs I have cultivated are sizing nicely but the established bulbs just keep shrinking. I fertilize with a 1/2 strength liquid 15-30-15 twice when flowering and twice monthly with full strength liquid 10-30-30 when in leaf. My last resort is to prevent them from flowering for 2-3 years to get them back to size. What can I do?

Answer: The foliage growth is what sustains and rebuilds them, so you need to encourage those leaves to be as healthy (and numerous) as possible. They respond beautifully to both a longer growing season and to being planted in the garden each summer, especially in areas with longer growing seasons. I suspect the reason for this is the improved light and more complete range of nutrients available in good garden soil. You might try using fertilizer that contains minor nutrients, an occasional top-dressing of compost, and possibly experiment with a seaweed-based fertilizer. If at all possible, you might also try extending or enhancing the light they receive by either planting them outdoors in the summer or using some supplemental lights. Finally, make sure that they are in pots large enough to sustain their increased size, as well as in soil that is refreshed regularly.

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