The Q&A Archives: Care Of Amaryllis

Question: I would like to know how to care for an amaryllis plant after it has flowered. How should I encourage it to go dormant? Should I trim the leaves?

Answer: Right now, your bulb should be growing healthy green foliage. You want to encourage the foliage so it can build the bulb's strength to flower again. Later, in the fall, you will force it to rest by gradually reducing watering. Then, when the leaves dry up, you can remove them.

Here are the basic instructions for amaryllis.

The amaryllis bulb should be planted so that about a third of the bulb stays above the soil. Use a soilless potting mix and a six inch pot. Next, or if you have purchased a bare bulb already 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. You may set it outdoors in its pot for the summer or plant it in the garden for the summer. Select a spot with morning sun or dappled sun all day if it is in a pot, or if in the ground it may be planted in part to full sun. Next fall, the bulb will need a rest period. Dig it up if it is planted in the ground, or bring the pot indoors and withhold water until the leaves yellow, then set the bulb and in a cool location (about 45 to 50 degrees) for eight to ten weeks. When the leaves shrivel, remove them. Finally, bring the bulb into a warmer bright location, replant if needed, water lightly and begin the cycle again. Enjoy!

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