The Q&A Archives: Repeat Amaryllis Bloom

Question: What is the procedure to follow after an amaryllis has bloomed in order to have it bloom again? I was told to keep watering it and put it to rest after the leaves wither, but the leaves are still green and the last bloom it had was about 6 months ago. I'm confused as to what's going on or what I did wrong.

Answer: It doesn't sound like you've done anything wrong. Amaryllis bloom once a year, following a dormant or rest period. The remainder of the time they grow leaves to replenish the bulb so that it has the strength to bloom again. The more leaves it has, the more bloom stalks it will form.

Once the plant blooms, you need to encourage the leaves to grow. Treat it like a normal houseplant, fertilizing and watering regularly. After about nine months or so, stop watering and set the plant somewhere to rest. (Some people recommend a dark closet, I use a bright but cool stairway. The main idea is to let it go bone dry.) Allow the leaves to wither naturally and when totally dry, remove them. After about 8 to 10 weeks, water the plant lightly and set it in a bright location to resume growth. When growth resumes, water normally. In about a month, it should bloom. Repeat the cycle every year.

If you want to force the bulb to bloom around Christmas, you need to set it to rest in October; I like to have them bloom during the darkest days of winter so I set mine to rest at Halloween. You can adjust the schedule gradually to accommodate your preferences. Enjoy your amaryllis!

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