The Q&A Archives: Amaryllis Not Blooming, After Following Exact Directions

Question: Last year i received an Amaryllis bulb as a gift, and it bloomed beautifully. I followed the instructions (from this web site) exactly, and repotted it the week after Thanksgiving. I have 4 beautiful, healthy 21 inch leaves, and no sign of a stem for bloom. It is in a sunny window, and it is turned daily. I read one question and a woman said that she had heard that they may not bloom the second year. Is there any truth to that? When should I give up, and start the withholding water process. I keep looking for a stalk, because the leaves are so healthy, but there doesn't seem to be one coming. Please help! Thank you.

Answer: Amaryllis bulbs need to grow healthy foliage in order to rebuild their strength enough to bloom again the following year. The cycle is one of bloom, active foliage growth, rest, then bloom again.

Sometimes, bulbs that have been newly purchased get a little bit out of synch, and sometimes, if growing conditions are less than ideal, they may not bloom the second year. However, with good care, they should be able to bloom every year.

The rule of thumb is that four big healthy leaves are needed for one bloom stem the next season, so it sounds like your plant should be able to bloom during the next cycle. At this point, keep the foliage growing well by fertilizing with a water soluble fertilizer according to the label instructions, keep it in the brightest possible light, and next fall set it into a rest period again.

To force the bulb to rest, simply stop watering it and set it in a cool location for 8 to 10 weeks. The plant should respond with withering foliage. After about two to three months (sooner if you should see a flower bud trying to grow), set the pot in a bright location and water lightly to restart the bulb into active growth. (Trim away the faded foliage.)

In my experience, some bulbs will naturally gravitate toward a later spring bloom period rather than during the holidays. They may also put up some foliage simultaneously with the bloom part of their cycle. So, it is possible that yours may still bloom this year, you will just have to wait and see what happens. In any case, it sounds like the plant is healthy and building strength and should settle into a good cycle for next year.

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