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Getting Amaryllis Bulbs to Rebloom

Category: How-To Projects, Plant Ideas & Info, Presenting "The Curious Gardener"

Last year I confided in my readers that several of my Amaryllis bulbs from the previous year did not rebloom as I had expected. So I followed Ruth Clausen’s advice more closely and am giving it another try this year.

Here are Ruth’s instructions, and what I did wrong (at the end):

After the blooms finish, cut off the dead flowers to stop the plants from using energy to produce seed. Cut the stalk as well. Leave the leaves intact and keep the plant under the same growing conditions as before until it warms up outdoors.

In the summer put the pot out of doors in a lightly shaded place for some R & R. Be alert for slugs that hide underneath the pot. Water regularly and fertilize lightly through summer. As fall arrives, bring the plant indoors and begin to withhold water slowly. The leaves will gradually dry out and shrivel.

Keep the soil dry or very barely damp until you notice a small green leaf starting to grow, and then water as usual, adding some fertilizer. Bring them out into the light and warmth of your home, but do not put them in direct sun.  Within a few weeks you’ll notice a new flower bud emerging between the leaves.

If you decide to repot the bulbs, as I did this year, put in fresh potting mix and snip off the roots growing out of the bottom of the bulb before settling the bulb into its new home.  I put stones in the bottom of my pots to increase drainage. Leave 1/2 of the bulb above the soil level to prevent any chance of rotting. Water and fertilize lightly.

Follow these same instructions if you are starting fresh with a newly purchased Amaryllis bulb.  A newly purchased bulb has been properly conditioned to bloom by the grower and will not disappoint– but where’s the challenge in that?

My mistake last year:  When it came time to put my Amaryllis pots outdoors in the spring after the last frost, I put them on a screened-in porch with little to no light, and left them there for the summer. I brought them indoors when the weather got cooler, but when I went to repot them in the late fall the bulbs had shriveled and did not seem robust. Sure enough, the bulbs produced lots of foliage but no blooms, except one or two of them.  Ruth explained that by keeping them in dark shade all summer I prevented photosynthesis from doing its job and that the bulbs had no opportunity to build up the strength they needed in order to produce blooms.  She said they would bloom this year with the proper care, and in fact the bulbs are much bigger and more solid this year having been outdoors in a lightly shaded area for the summer.  We’ll see if it works!

Let us know in Comments what experiences you’ve had getting your Amaryllis bulbs to rebloom. What works?  What doesn’t work?

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11 thoughts on “Getting Amaryllis Bulbs to Rebloom

  1. Misty McPhee says:

    My amaryllis is covered in little black flies. Do you know how I can get rid of them?

  2. I had followed the tips above by keeping the bulbs and foliage outdoors all summer, and then putting them in the basement. The foliage was still green. Several days later I went downstairs to find the pots surrounded by dirt, the foliage completely gone, and the bulbs nibbled. I was immediately on guard for a reasonably sized critter that had somehow found its way into the basement – that was a lot of greenery to consume. All I found was a large, but very dead mouse. Apparently the leaves and bulbs can be toxic. Will have to try to coax this year’s new bulb next year.

  3. Deborah Y Parent says:

    What about those of us that live in south Florida and have our bulbs in the ground. I’ve always just left them alone. Aside from cutting the dead bloom and stalk, is there anything else I need to do?

  4. What about in Arizona? 110+ in the summer!

  5. Mary Hayes says:

    I live in Tampa, my Amorillas are always beautiful. I leave them in the ground all year. I also gather the seed from the stems and plant in starter pots.

  6. I live in Missouri. I plant my Amaryllis outside in the ground all summer and fertilize. They grow large and beautiful leaves. The problem no one addresses or answers is this: my leaves never die down when I dig them up and bring in for fall. SHOULD I CUT OFF THE LEAVES BEFORE COOL STORAGE???

  7. I just transplanted several of my amaryllis, however, I have never cut the roots when doing so. I read they like to be pot bound, so I left the roots as is (which were many), as that is what I witnessed in several videos & articles. Hope it wasn’t a mistake & they bloom again this year! I’ve had beautiful blooms each year, except the first one.

  8. Tess Charbonneau says:

    Hey Linda …same here…my leaves are still growing…I live in upstate NY….Do we cut back leaves or let them go? I’ve got mine potted up and they seem happy. Let me know if you find out! Thinking about adding 2 bulbs to cozy in next to…so they are nice and tight!

  9. My amaryllis has bloomed for the second time with four flowers on the first bloom and five on the second. I have several more stalks coming up that will bloom also

  10. I live in Pompano Beach. South florida.
    My Amarilys are on the screened in porch of my condo.
    After blooming, lots of very tall leaves, no flowers for the 2nd year. What should I do?
    Thank you

  11. Hello Eugenie, sometimes they just don’t bloom the 2nd year. But they might bloom again the following year! They should be in partial sun in the summer so the bulbs can get energy from the sun.

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