The Q&A Archives: Butterfly Amaryllis

Question: I've had a butterfly amaryllis (Hippeastrum papilio) for several years, and it's only bloomed once. Since they do not go dormant, I don't know how to trigger the production of a flower stalk (I tried to make it go dormant but it kept on producing spindly, chlorotic leaves). Right now i am exposing it to cool conditions and watering only enough to keep it alive. Will this work?

Answer: Amaryllis do need to go through a rest period before they can produce a bloom. In the fall, when the leaves begin to yellow and die, stop watering, dig the bulb, and store it in a cool, dry place. It should rest for about three months. Then repot it and resume watering. A new flowering stalk will grow, followed by two or three strap-like leaves. It will flower about Christmas time. In the spring take the plant outdoors to a shady area and let it stay there all summer. In the fall, repeat the process for new bloom.

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