The Q&A Archives: Amaryllis

Question: I bought an Amaryllis two weeks ago. When potted, the root looked very dry, so I cut off all roots. Yesterday I found some stalk coming out, so I moved the pot to a sunny windowsill. I accidently touched the bulb and the bulb tilted. Then I lifted the bulb and there's no sign of any roots. Will roots come out later? Anything I can do to help?

Answer: The roots of your Amaryllis serve two important purposes: they help anchor the bulb into the soil, and they act like little straws, transporting water and nutrients to the bulb. What's fortunate for you under the circumstances is that the bulb already contains most of the nutrients it will need to produce a flower and leaves this year. If the bulb grows roots, it will have enough energy to produce a flower stalk and leaves next year, too. There's not much you can do, except wait and see what happens with your Amaryllis. It's natural for the flower stalk to emerge first and then two or more strap-like leaves will follow. Here are some general tips for caring for your Amaryllis: These bulbs grow best in bright light at temperatures of 60F - 70F. Plant so only one-half of the bulb is buried in the soil. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. After flowering cut off the stalk, but allow the leaves to remain (they manufacture food for next year's flower). When the leaves wither and yellow, stop watering and allow the bulb to rest in a cool, dry place for about three months. Then plant again in new potting soil to start the process all over again.

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