The Q&A Archives: Dying Amaryllis

Question: My amaryllis did beautifully and I let its first flower stalk go to seed. The few leaves the plant had at that point started turning yellow. Then another flower stalk came up and is currently blooming. The only problem is that the plant's leaves have all turned yellow and dead and no more seem to be coming up. Have I killed my bulb? Will it be able to grow more leaves and reflower next year?
How long should it take its seeds to become flowering plants?

Thank you.

Answer: I think your amaryllis is behaving just the way it should. Amaryllis bulbs produce a flowering stalk and then leaves. The leaves transport carbohydrates back to the bulb for the next year's bloom. It's natural for the leaves to die down and the bulb to rest before producing another flowering stalk. Here are some general guidelines for amaryllis care:
Once the flowers fade, trim away the bloom stalk and allow the foliage to grow. Bright, indirect light is best. Keep the soil slightly moist and fertilize monthly with a liquid fertilizer so the plant grows vigorously. In late summer or early fall, the leaves should begin to turn yellow. The yellowing indicates the amaryllis needs a rest. If they do not begin to yellow on their own, simply withhold water beginning in September and force the plant into dormancy. Once the leaves wither, cut the leaves back to the neck of the bulb and store it, pot and all in a cool (55F), dark place such as a garage or basement for about eight to ten weeks. Do not water during this rest period. Then place the pot in a bright location and water lightly. The bulbs should resprout and bloom again. Repot every 3-4 years in the spring after blooming. You can germinate amaryllis seeds, but they will take up to 8 years to flower! If you decide to try, sow the seeds just on the surface of moistened seed starting mix and cover the pots or trays with plastic to help hold in moisture. Seeds will take 21-120 days to germinate when kept at 65F-75F. Enjoy your amaryllis!

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