By Heather Rhoades
Image by Alice Day
I think it’s the majestic trumpets of an amaryllis that makes it one of the most popular bulbs for forcing indoors during the winter. Certainly, you cannot ask for more bang for your buck than the massive cluster of blossoms that sit dramatically atop the amaryllis’s 3-foot stem. Who could ask for a better mid-winter spirit lifter than the glorious amaryllis? But how does one go about keeping an amaryllis over winter for reblooming later? Read on to learn more.
How to Overwinter an Amaryllis Bulb and Get More Blooms
Most people assume when they buy an amaryllis bulb that they will only be able to coax a single bloom forth and after that it is too much work to make it bloom again. This is not true. Amaryllis are actually rather easy to get repeat blooms from, year after year, with a bit of amaryllis winter care.
Once your amaryllis bulb’s flowers have faded, you will most likely be left with long, strap-like leaves. Keep watering your amaryllis and giving it regular light fertilizer. Keep the amaryllis in a sunny location. You may want to tie the leaves up so that they don’t break off. Like many bulbs, the amaryllis gathers its strength for next year through its leaves. Making sure that your amaryllis has its leaves and that the leaves are undamaged will help to bring about an even more spectacular bloom next year.
After all danger of frost has passed, you can put your amaryllis outside. This step is not absolutely necessary if you have your amaryllis in a sunny location but, keep in mind, the more sun the leaves of your amaryllis can be exposed to, the better the bloom will be next time. So, when the weather is warm enough, if you can put your amaryllis outside, you will be helping it store more energy.
Keep watering your amaryllis and giving it light fertilizer.
Near the end of summer, the long leaves will die back. Once the leaves have died back, cut them off and place the bulb in a cool (but not cold), dry place to rest. Basements and closets work well. The amaryllis bulb needs a short period of dormancy before it can bloom again. You can keep the bulb in the pot or take it out. If you keep the bulb in the pot, stop watering it while in there. If you remove the bulb from the pot, make sure that it remains free of moisture. Some people will wrap their bare amaryllis bulb in newspaper to help with this overwintering amaryllis bulbs.
Let your amaryllis bulb rest for 4 to 8 weeks. Once it has rested, bring it out of it dormancy by placing it in a pot with soil, put it in a sunny location and give it a good watering. Remember, amaryllis bulbs actually prefer a smaller pot when growing, so if you repot your bulb, keep the pot only slightly larger than the bulb itself.
In no time at all, your amaryllis bulb will send up a new and even more spectacular flower stem for you to enjoy.