The Q&A Archives: Amaryllis Problems

Question: My pots of amaryllis were outside all summer, and I've waited in vain for the leaves to yellow! They are still deep green. We've not had a frost yet, but will soon, so I will bring the pots in today. (By the way, I tipped them on their sides about a month ago.) What do I do now? Can I cut off the green leaves? Can I put the pots in the garage for a couple months? At what point can I begin watering again, hoping for blooms?

Answer: Have you tried withholding water to force the plants into dormancy? The leaves should be allowed to wither before being removed so they can provide nutrients and energy to the bulb for next season's bloom. If you cut them off, the bulb may not bloom next year. Once the leaves yellow and wither, the bulb needs to rest in a cool, dark place for about three months. Then you can begin watering again, and a flowering stem should appear within three weeks. Plants are sometimes on their own time cycle, and refuse to be forced. You probably won't get a flower until mid-winter, based upon the dormancy requirement and the fact that it's almost the end of October now, but be patient with your amaryllis and they'll get back on track when they're ready.

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