The Q&A Archives: Red Lion Amaryllis

Question: I was given a Red Lion Amaryllis produced from your company last year for Christmas. It was a bulb in a box. It bloomed beautifully into 8 beautiful flowers. Everyone in my office was amazed, including the co-worker who gave it to me. She said she gave several away and mine was the only one that actually lived. After a few months the flowers finally died and the leaves grew into a nice plant.

It is Christmas time again and I would love to see those beautiful flowers again. I wrote to one person who told me during the winter to wrap the plant up and place it in a dark clost until the leaves withered and in the spring bring it back out so it can bloom. My plant on the other hand had it's first bloom in the winter in January. My question to you is do I have to cut the leaves off in order to assist the flowers to bloom again? If not, what needs to be done. I couldn't bring myself to placing it in the closet because the leaves are so healthy looking and this is one project that I was successful at and very proud of.

Answer: Congratulations on your success so far, it sounds like you have done a great job of keeping the bulb going and healthy. Your amaryllis will need a resting time before it will go ahead and rebloom. Typically they are allowed to dry out completely for about eight weeks during the fall, then brought into growth again to try to time the rebloom for the holidays. In my experience, they seem to try to bloom a bit later each year, possibly because their natural bloom time would be in the spring.

Here are the general instructions for amaryllis care. I think you could probably go ahead and let it dry out and set it in a cool location now, then bring it out in about eight weeks time or sooner should it look like it is trying to grow. Enjoy your amaryllis!

Amaryllis grown or forced in pots will flower once a year. For the longest lasting flowers, keep the blooming plant in a bright but cool location, about 65 degrees is a good temperature. Keep the soil barely moist and not soggy. A single bulb may put up as many as three or four bloom stems, but two stems is typical.

To keep the bulbs from year to year, you need to encourage the foliage to grow. The foliage rebuilds the bulb so it can flower again. The plant also needs an annual rest period. Here's what to do:

Once the blooms fade, trim them off, and then trim off the entire bloom stalk by cutting it off at the base. Allow the emerging foliage to grow. Keep the plant in a bright sunny location, keep the soil evenly moist but not sopping wet, and fertilize per label instructions with a water soluble fertilizer.

In early fall, set the pot in a cool (about 50 degrees) dry location. Do not water it. Allow the leaves to shrivel and dry, then remove them. After eight to ten weeks of "resting", water it lightly and set it in a bright location. Keep the soil barely moist. The bulbs should send up bloom stalks and flower again in about a month. With luck, you can time this for the holiday season.

With care, this cycle can be repeated for years. Enjoy your amaryllis!

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