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How to grow amaryllis

Amaryllis flowers are colorful in the middle of winter making them popular plants for the Christmas season. The tropical bulb does not have to be composted when the bloom fade, in fact it can be planted in the garden with your other summer flowers.

In a natural cycle the amaryllis will bloom in spring or early summer and is happy to revert to that if you are in a frost free area. Those who are in cooler zones have to winter over the bulbs inside.

When your Christmas bloom has faded, cut the flower stalk off. Most seasonal plants are in a pretty container that is not meant for permanent growth, so repot your amaryllis into a regular plant pot that has a hole for drainage. Use a light potting mix and plant the bulb so that the top one third of the bulb is above the soil line. Water lightly and place in a warm, light location. When you are past your last frost and the weather has settled into a warm pattern, plant the bulb into the garden. Of course, if you prefer, you can keep the bulb in a container instead of planting in the garden.

When early fall arrives, well before the first frost, the upper leaves turn brown and the bulb can be repotted to bring inside. Trim all the leaves off the bulb and place into a cool location for a few weeks to keep it dormant. By October you can bring the plant out of dormancy to start growing again and produce the flower for your winter holiday table. If you prefer, you can keep the bulb cool and dry for the whole winter and replant next spring, after the danger of frost has passed, and wait for it to produce an early summer flower.

Read the next Article: Growing Hardy Kiwi

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Gardening Tip of the Day

  • If you received a flowering amaryllis plant for the holidays, you can make it bloom again next year around the holiday time.

    After the flowers fade, cut just the flower stalk to about 2 inches above the soil level. Continue watering when soil becomes dry. Regularly fertilize the plant with a houseplant formula such as 5-5-5 or 5-10-5 following directions on the fertilizer package. After about six months of allowing the foliage to grow, stop fertilizing and begin to reduce watering over a 2- to 3-week period. After this period, stop watering. Eliminating water and fertilizer allows the bulb to enter a dormant or resting phase. Move the pot to a dry, cool (50 to 60 degrees F.) room that has good ventilation for 2 to 3 months.

    Sometime in early November, move the pot to a bright, warm spot and renew watering. In anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks, the amaryllis should flower again.