Amaryllis, the Perfect Indoor Winter Plant

Cherie Moyer
Adams County Master Gardener

The Amaryllis are such an interesting and beautiful houseplant for the winter. I think that they are more popular than ever. The bulbs can now be bought with double blossoms and miniatures, along with new colors like green and yellow and some with ruffled edges.

About 4 years ago, I was given one as a gift. My daughter and I had fun watching it grow in a sunny window. We even measured its, growth. Under the right conditions an inch a day is possible and how miraculous the bloom! Many of mine have reached 24" in height. The blossoms are huge and last for several weeks. I stagger the plantings and have amaryllis blooming till springtime.

What do you do with the plant when it is finished blooming? So many people throw the bulb away. I want to share with you how to keep the bulb from year to year and continue to enjoy its beauty. It is so easy to do!

After the blossom stalk has finished blooming, cut only the blossom stalk off at the base. Let the large strap like leaves continue to grow. As the leaves continue to grow, you may have to stake the leaves up with a wire support or slender wooden stake. Continue to water with about a cup of water weekly.

When danger of frost has past, take the amaryllis bulb outside and sit it 'm a shaded area to harden the plant off. After a week, take the bulb out of the pot, shake off the dirt and plant the bulb in your garden or flowerbed. Be careful not to plant the bulb any deeper than the original planting. About one third of the bulb is supposed to be above the ground. The leaves may fall over some but that is all right. Fertilize the plant several times during the growing season.

I put old grass, clippings around my bulbs to help conserve the moisture and keep weed growth down in the garden. In the fall after a light frost, cut the tops off the bulbs, shake off the dirt and put the bulb in a paper bag. If you have taken good care of the bulb and fertilized, you will notice how much larger the bulb will have gotten. It is fun to see how large the bulb will grow. As the bulb matures, it will send off bulblets on the side of the parent bulb that you can gently pull off. Now you have another bulb to grow for yourself or give away.

I hope that you remembered to keep the name of the amaryllis with a plant label in the garden. Now store the bag in a nice dark, coot area. You can use the garage if it doesn't freeze in there. I Let the bulbs sit for about two months

About Thanksgiving, I bring the bulb out for about In fresh Potting, soil back in its original pot. The pot only needs to be slightly larger than the bulb. Trim the roots to about 4". Water the bulb thoroughly allowing the moisture to drain away. After this, water lightly till new growth appears.

Sit the pot in a sunny window. The bulb may sit for about 2 to 3 weeks till new growth appears. The amaryllis may take 4 to 10 weeks after planting before blooming. Sit back and enjoy your amaryllis for another season!! I have about 35 bulbs that I replant every year. When the holidays approach again, I may put the amaryllis inside a nicer pot and put sphagnum moss around it, and add a bow for gift giving. Give them to family, friends, or to a nursing home so they can enjoy the magic and wonder of amaryllis growing.

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